Highlights: Academy bring home big win in Newcastle to maintain 100% start!

Saints Academy returned home from the North East with a big win over Newcastle Thunder on Thursday evening as Derek Traynor's men maintained their 100% start to the season.

The game started brilliantly for the Saints when a penalty for a high tackle on Ciaran Nolan saw the set start 10 meters away from the Newcastle line. A short ball from Nolan then saw Leunbou Bardyel Wells cross over to the left of the sticks and score the first try of the game. Will Roberts kicked the conversion to give the Saints a 0-6 lead after 3 minutes.

Saints got the ball from kick-off and stormed up the field and on the fifth tackle attacked the short side where Dayon Sambou gave Ben Will the ball to break down the wing and beat the Thunder defence to score in the left corner. Roberts nailed the conversion from out-wide to grant a 0-12  lead.

With 8 minutes gone, Newcastle then kicked the ball out on the full, gifting Saints with a great opportunity to increase their lead. Sam Haynes and Nolan both went close, before Ben Lane attacked the short side again, this time on the right where he played in Alfie Whittle to ground the ball in the right corner. Roberts missed the conversion, leaving a 0-16 score.

Newcastle then found themselves on the receiving end of two back to back penalties, and found themselves in the Saints 20 metres for the first time in the game. Thunder played the ball left where Joe Bradley played in James Snowden to score in the corner. Ollie Shaw missed with the kick to shorten the lead, 4-16.

Just as the 20 minute mark hit, Whittle dropped a high kick and gave Newcastle the ball 10 away from the Saints line. A ball to Harry Lowery sees the prop go over next to the posts. Shaw converts, 10-16.

With 28 minutes gone on the clock, great pressure from Alfie Pyke saw a Newcastle kick only travel 10 metres, and resulted in Saints getting a penalty for a high shot following a panic in the Thunder defence. The ball was played left where Max McGucken gave a great cut out pass for Will who scored in the corner with a great dive to get his second. Roberts hit the post with his conversion attempt, meaning the score was 10-20 as the final 10 minutes of the half approached.

Four minutes later, the Saints struck again with a great piece of play where Lane gave the ball to Jonathon Vaughan who delivered a great ball to Haynes who gave the ball back inside to supporting full-back Lane to race away and score under the sticks. Roberts kicked the goal, 10-26.

With 2 minutes remaining of the half, a quick play the ball from Noah Stephens saw the Saints set up field well, where Nathan Bannerman dummied the line and crossed over for a try on the right. Roberts’ kick narrowly missed, leaving the score at 10-30 at half-time.

The second half continued as Saints left off, as after nine minutes a break from Haynes set Saints up 10 out from Newcastle line. The ball was played to the left with a looping ball from Lane to Bannerman who crashed over to score on the left and grab his second. Roberts nailed the kick, 36-10.

Five minutes later, a great carry and offload from Bardyel to Sambou sets Saints out 20 away from the Thunder line. The ball was played right where Harvey Braddish gave  it to Vaughan who gave it to Haynes to score in the corner. Roberts misses the kick, 10-40.

With 20 minutes to go, an inside ball from Lane to Kal Devine saw the skipper crash over for a well-deserved try after an impressive stint from the prop. Roberts converted the try, giving a 10-46 score.

Minutes later following a goal-line drop out, Newcastle shifted the ball left where Jacob Rennison grounded the ball in the corner. Shae kicked the goal from the side-line, leaving the score line at 16-46.

Just as the game entered the final 10 minutes, Nolan dummied to play left, and shifted right to give the ball to Devine who crashed over next to the left post for his second of the night. Roberts converted, 16-52.

With five minutes to go, the Saints scored their last try of the game when the ball was played down the right where Vaughan found a great flick pass to Haynes who scored in the corner with a diving finish. Roberts missed the side-line conversion, 16-56.

As the final minute of the game approached, Sambou spilled the ball coming away from his own, and Will Groves pounced on it to score, Shaw converted to leave the final score at 22-56.

Match Summary

Newcastle team: Joe Bradley, James Snowden, Jonah Giles, Jacob Rennison, Oli Breeze, Will Groves, Ollie Shaw, Jack Thompson, Harry Lintin, Harry Lowery, Ashton Sice, Zack Ikwue, Josh McDermott.

Bench: Jack Skelton, Ryan Crossley, Alfie Grey, Ben Jardine.

Tries: James Snowden, Harry Lowery, Jacob Rennison, Will Groves.

Goals: Ollie Shaw (3 from 4).

Saints team: Ben Lane, Alfie Whittle, Sam Haynes, Dayon Sambou, Ben Will, Max McGucken, Will Roberts, Leunbou Bardyel Wells, Ciaran Nolan, Kalan Devine, Nathan Bannerman, Jonathan Vaughan, Niall Dean.

Bench: Harvey Braddish, Alfie Pyke, Noah Stephens, Brett Bailey.

Tries: Ben Will (2), Kalan Devine (2), Sam Haynes (2), Nathan Bannerman (2), Ben Lane, Leunbou Bardyel Wells, Alfie Whittle.

Goals: Will Roberts (6 from 11).

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