The Saints just edged a tight encounter at the sun-drenched Athletic Grounds in Richmond with a come from behind 20-28 win over the Broncos.
It all started so well as Ellis Keppel put the Saints ahead in only the second minute. The Broncos coughed up possession on half way and on the last Jonathon Bennison committed his opposite number before putting his centre in at the right corner.
However, within five minutes the home side had taken the lead scoring down their left-hand side.
In a topsy-turvy opening 10 minutes good defence from the kick off forced the Broncos into another error this time in their own 20 metre area. Two drives later and Ethan Bradbury jumped out of dummy half to score under the posts.
On quarter time the Broncos hooker got his own back as he took advantage of slow reactions at marker to go in from the play the ball himself. The scores remained level, however, as having converted the earlier try from the touchline the Broncos stand-off missed with a much simpler effort.
As the time ticked on to the interval the Saints blew a gilt-edged opportunity to take the lead.
On the fifth tackle Eliot Peposhi was put through a yawning gap 10 metres out with only the fullback in front of him. Unfortunately, when any kind of footwork would have put him over, he chose to charge through and was pulled down short.
The second half started in much the same vein as the first with the Saints camped on the Broncos line. Both Peposhi and Lewis Baxter were held up over the line but a knock-on ended the threat.
The Broncos were stopped just short of the Saints line but a good exit set saw the Saints on the front foot straight away.
A great 30 metre run down the left from Keane Gilford got the Saints within range and from the play the ball Daniel Moss put Alfie Pyke through the line. He took it onto the fullback before calm as you like feeding Moss on the inside to go the final 30 metres to finish what he started.
But as those more seasoned campaigners who have been watching Broncos Academy teams for a number of years will tell you, they don’t go away!
And this year’s batch proved that they are no different with back-to-back tries on the hour mark to put themselves ahead and in the driving seat.
Down on troops and it needed someone to step up to the plate. And that man was Captain Lewis Baxter who, both with and without the ball stepped up his intensity in the last ten minutes taking his team with him.
A last tackle kick was fumbled by the Broncos giving the Saints a full set in their red zone.
A Kalan Devine drive was repelled, but from the play the ball Baxter charged onto Bradbury’s pass twisting over at the posts.
On the next set he, Bradbury and the relentless George Delaney, were all stopped short before Alfie Whittle was pushed into touch in the right corner going for the clinching score.
But that accolade went, with three minutes to go, to Captain Baxter. A great kick chase and defensive effort put enough pressure on the Broncos outside backs to force an error in their own 20.
Two drives later and Ben Lane’s inside ball put Baxter in again under the posts for the win.
London Broncos U19’s: Rhys Cotter; Padraic Tennent, George Dadd, Teddy Davidson, Tommy Svanidze; Sean Baker, Alexander Deery; Benjamin Hersey-Hord, Bill Leyland, Luciano Bejanidze, Jack Howorth, Max Allen, Rory Gray.
Interchanges: Elliott Hutchings, Joseph Rees, Oluwafemi Sanya, Joseph Saunders, Henry Kirwan, Nathan Kosbab.
Tries: Teddy Davidson (7), Bill Leyland (22 & 63), Joseph Rees (65).
Goals: Sean Baker 2 from 4.
St Helens U19’s: Ben Lane; Alfie Whittle, Ellis Keppel, Shay Martyn, Keane Gilford; Jonathan Bennison, Daniel Moss; Harry Brooks, Ethan Bradbury, Lewis Baxter, McKenzie Buckley, Reece Sumner, Kalan Devine.
Interchanges: Kallem Rodgers, George Delaney, Eliot Peposhi, Ben O’Donnell, Joe Woods, Alfie Pyke.
Tries: Ellis Keppel (2), Ethan Bradbury (11), Daniel Moss (51), Lewis Baxter (70 & 77).
Goals: Shay Martyn 4 from 5.
Half Time: 10-10
Full Time: 20-28
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