The Saints older scholarship players showed just the kind of steel and determination needed to succeed as they held on for a well-deserved derby win on Wednesday.
HIGHLIGHTS – Subscribers can watch the FULL game on Saints TV.
Facing eight of the side which beat the Saints U19’s at the weekend, the Saints took the game to their hosts from the off creating three gilt edged chances in the opening 10 minutes, one to Keane Gilford down the right and then two from Ben Lane shoot balls down the left.
Unfortunately, the last was intercepted by the winger who went 95 metres to score. Undaunted the Saints continued to pin the opposition back and were rewarded as they took the lead from the restart.
Drives from Matty Parkes, Kalan Devine and the outstanding George Delaney were held short. As the ball was spread left Ben Lane this time gave a back-handed offload to Sam Haynes who scored in the corner. Ellis Archer’s fine touchline conversion gave the Saints the lead.
On 20 minutes the Saints goal line scramble kept their line intact and when, minutes later another good defensive set forced a hurried kick, the Saints had excellent field position.
Connor Morley and Bardyel Wells were stopped at the line but from the quick play the ball Kieran Dean nipped over to score.
As the half time whistle neared the Saints moved the ball right, but unfortunately McKenzie Buckley knocked on with the try-line begging only for Wigan to run in another 90-metre sprint to the line leaving the Saints with just a slender two point lead at the break.
The Saints came out the stronger in the second period capitalising on a penalty for a head shot with Morley and Wells again going close. From the play the ball Haynes scored his second taking a Lane pass on the overlap. Ten minutes in and the lead was again down to two as poor tackling allowed the host in under the posts.
But on the next set the Saints again took advantage of an error as Man-of-the-Match Delaney capped his 80-minute performance with a barnstorming try taking three over the line with him.
The Saints concentration wavered though at the kick off, conceding possession and the lead as the hosts drew level with a try in the corner.
But any optimism was soon put in its place as the Saints again dominated position and possession, finally breaking the game open with two back-to-back tries just after the hour.
Matty Parkes was held up over the line and from the play the ball quick hands put Haynes in for his hat-trick try.
His fourth came courtesy of a Kyal Barton offload after he had gone down a blind alley down the right. Lane took the pass feeding Archer who took off on a lateral run before picking his spot to shoot through the line. He committed the fullback before putting Haynes away down the wing.
There was a late consolation for Wigan, but that is all it was as Saints came out deserved winners.
Wigan Team: Reagan Sumner; Ethan Fitzgerald, Nathan Evans, Zach Eckersley, Owen Draper; Reece Bushell, Adam Smith; Max Wood, Lewis Pinder, Harvey Wilson, Finlay Beardsworth, Reece Stanton, Harvie Hill.
Interchanges: Jacob Kilner-Douglas, Richards Nsemba, Harvey Makin, Ryan Brown, Ashton Sice, Joseph Baldwin.
Tries: Ethan Fitzgerald (10 & 56), Zach Eckersley (36), Jacob Kilner-Douglas (50), Max Wood (78).
Goals: Zach Eckersley 4 from 5.
Saints Team: Ben Lane; Alfie Whittle, McKenzie Buckley, Sam Haynes, Keane Gilford; Ellis Archer, Kyal Barton; Matthew Parkes, Ryan Wood, George Delaney, Nathan Bannerman, Connor Morley, Kalan Devine.
Interchanges: Desmond Appiah-Kubi, Kieran Dean, Jos Appleton, Alfie Pyke, Leunbou Bardyel-Wells, Ben Pye, Jonathon Vaughan.
Tries: Sam Haynes (14, 44,63 & 67), Kieran Dean (26), George Delaney (54).
Goals: Ellis Archer 4 from 6.