Academy beat Thunder: Report and Highlights

Four tries from Jonathon Bennison, two in each half, went a long way to winning this game for the Saints against a Thunder outfit who arrived an hour late after traffic on the M62.

The visitors were denied two tries by last ditch tap tackles after they’d waltzed through the middle of the Saints defence.

But it was the Saints who took the lead after a pin-point Ellis Archer cross kick was taken by Rio Corkill and offloaded over his head to his winger Alfie Whittle to score his first in the red vee at this level on his debut start.

He was denied a second 7 minutes later as Corkill’s pass was ruled forward, but on 20 minutes the Thunder were also denied a try, this time a Corkill ankle tap bringing the man down.

The Saints went straight down the field to extend their lead with Bennison’s first diving over at the play the ball after the impressive Kalan Devine was stopped short.

From the kick off a good kick chase on the last forced the error on the Thunder 10. But Ellis Keppell knocked on with the line at his mercy.

The Saints scored their third try on the half hour. A fabulous step at the line from the returning Captain Lewis Baxter put him through on a 40-metre run to the fullback. As he got there, he committed him before sending Bennison on the last 20 to the posts.

On the stroke of half time the Saints took the game away from the visitors. With a repeat set Baxter was held up over the line and Bennison short before the ball was spread left to Keppel who made no mistake this time stepping inside the cover.

The second half started in blistering fashion as the Saints scored on the opening set. Aided by two penalties the Saints were on halfway before the Thunder knew what had hit them. Add in another trademark Baxter step through the line and it was simple, but brilliantly executed, as the Captain committed the fullback before feeding the rampaging Devine to go over for his first at this level.

From the restart Bennison completed his hat-trick being in the right place to take Ben O’Donnell’s pass to step inside the fullback and then outpace the cover to the line.

Thee Thunder responded with two well deserved tries. Thankfully the Saints girded their loins finishing strongly.

A McKenzie Buckley break taken on by Bennison was snuffed out but from the play the ball Baxter and O’Donnell fed Whittle to go over in the corner.

From the restart three quick play the balls saw the Saints on a roll. On the fourth tackle Baxter again broke the line on a 40-metre run this time dummying the fullback before passing to the supporting Daniel Moss to go the last 30 for a great try.

The last action saw Ellis Archer’s fabulous wrong side touchline conversion of Bennison’s fourth try as he beat two defenders to go over.

St Helens U19’s: Jonathan Bennison; Alfie Whittle, Rio Corkill, Ellis Keppel, Shay Martyn; Daniel Moss, Ellis Archer; Joe Woods, Ethan Bradbury, Harry Brooks, McKenzie Buckley, Reece Sumner, Lewis Baxter (C).

Interchanges: Keane Gilford, Kalan Devine, Eliot Peposhi, George Delaney, Kallem Rodgers, Ben O’Donnell.

Tries: Alfie Whittle (12 & 64), Jonathan Bennison (23, 30, 45 & 76), Ellis Keppel (37), Kalan Devine (41), Daniel Moss (67).

Goals: Shay Martyn 4 from 6, Ellis Archer 1 from 3.

Newcastle Thunder U19’s: Alexander Donaghy; Matthew Parkes, Isaac Nokes, Evan Lowther, Thomas Moore; Elliot Shaw, Oliver Bibby; Jack Skelton, Tyler Hepple, Noel Branthwaite, Matthew Kehoe, Jordan Webster, Todd Wilkinson.

Interchanges: William Linton, Matthew Webster.

Tries: Evan Lowther (49), Isaac Nokes (52).

Goals: Tyler Hepple 1 from 2.

Half Time: 22-0

Full Time: 46-10

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