Highlights: Academy suffer first defeat of the season to Warrington in tough battle

Our academy headed away to play Warrington in the sixth round of the Academy season and fell to a narrow defeat - our first of the season.

After what was a very cagey first 10 minutes, the Saints saw themselves in the Warrington half. The ball was played right to Ben Lane who received the ball on the 4th tackle and put in an early kick through, catching out the Warrington full back and defence, and after being the first to the ball he dove and slid on the wet surface to ground the ball. Will Roberts’ conversion went wide of the posts, leaving the score at 0-4.

The game then returned back to an arm-wrestle with the two sides battling it out in the wet conditions. Warrington saw themselves with repeated sets on the line and with some great defensive efforts from the Saints they kept them out.

However, Warrington finally broke the Saints line when they saw themselves with more back to back sets. The ball was played out to the left to Lewis Hughes who tipped the ball onto Jake Thewlis who scored in the left corner. Leon Hayes converted the goal, giving the Wolves a 6-4 lead.

With 8 minutes to go in the half, Warrington were in again when a kick to the right corner just went over the head of Keane Gilford and into the arms of James Hartill who scored right in the corner, despite the on-rushing Saints defence. Hayes kicked the goal, 12-4

With the second half underway, the Saints hit back with 49 minutes gone. A great shot from both Noah Stephens, who made a huge impact from the bench, and McKenzie Buckley, who battled through 80 minutes in the middle, forced the ball free from Hartill in front of his own line. The ball was picked up by Ciaran Nolan who delivered a great ball to Sam Haynes who crossed over in the right corner. Roberts was successful with the sideline conversion, bringing the Saints within 2 of Warrington, 12-10.

Just as the game entered the final 20, Warrington replied. On the last tackle a kick from Wire was placed into the right corner, where a Saints mistake gave the Wolves another set of six after the ball hit the bottom of Lane’s boot. From the resulting play, James Hartill muscled over right in the corner to score. Hayes missed the kick, 16-10.

With 13 minutes to go, Warrington were reduced to 12 men after Adam Holroyd was sent to the sin-bin for a hit off the ball on Gilford.

Saints made the extra man advantage pay immediately when Roberts found Vaughan on the left with a looping ball, where he then beat two defenders to go over and score near the posts, getting himself a well deserved try after filling in at centre and back row for 80 minutes. Roberts converted the try levelling the game with 10 to go, 16-16.

In the 76th minute, it looked like Roberts was going to drop a goal after some great runs from Stephens got the Saints upfield. He saw a gap and went for the line, being held up just in front of the line. The ball instead went back to Max McGucken on the last, who couldn’t keep hold of the ball.

But at the other end, Warrington got themselves up the field, and placed themselves 15 metres from the Saints line. The ball went back to Hayes who dropped the goal from right in front to give the Wolves the lead, 17-16.

And that is how the game ended with Warrington inflicting the first loss of the season upon our young Saints.

Match summary

Warrington team: Lewis Hughes, James Hartill, Jack Darbyshire, Jake Thewlis, Zac Bardsley-Rowe, Ben Tyrer, Leon Hayes, Lucas Green, Aiden Doolan, Jamie Reddecliff, Adam Holroyd, Nolan Tupaea, Noah High.

Bench: Bobby Shingler, Finlay Irwin, Benjamin Hartill, Jack Edge.

Sin Bin: Adam Holroyd (67 mins).

Tries: Jake Thewlis, James Hartill (2).

Goals: Leon Hayes (2 from 3).

Drop-goal: Leon Hayes (78).

Saints team: Ben Lane, Ben Will, Sam Haynes, Dayon Sambou, Keane Gilford, Max McGucken, Will Roberts, Leunbou Bardyel Wells, Ciaran Nolan, George Delaney, McKenzie Buckley, Jonathan Vaughan, Cal Devine.

Bench: Eliot Peposhi, Alfie Pyke, Noah Stephens, Alfie Sinclair.

Tries: Ben Lane, Sam Haynes, Jonathan Vaughan.

Goals: Will Roberts (2 from 3).

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