Nine Saints star for Lancashire in Origin series

Lancashire made it an Academy Origin series whitewash over the White Rose thanks to a superb second-half showing at Wakefield Trinity’s Be Well Support Stadium as nine Saints all featured.

Trailing 8-6 at the break in the face of determined and uncompromising Yorkshire defence, Lancashire hit their hosts with five tries in the second forty to take the series 3-0.

Both teams had reshuffled the ranks for the final Academy Origin encounter of the season, following Lancashire’s series-clinching win at the AJ Bell Stadium last month. St Helens hooker Ciaran Nolan and Leeds Rhinos stand-off Jack Sinfield came into the Red Rose side, while Yorkshire included Wakefield Trinity’s Oliver Pratt on his home ground and Leeds Rhinos’ hooker Bailey Aldridge in their bid to avoid a series whitewash.

And Aldridge got himself on the scoresheet during the second half, with Sully Medworth’s towering touchline conversion reducing the arrears to just four points after Lancashire’s Junior Nsemba and Jack Darbyshire had given the Red Rose the lead.

But the respite proved only temporary, as Lancashire ran in further tries from Jack Douglas, Saints McKenzie Buckley and Jon Vaughan, complemented by Sinfield’s imperious goal-kicking.

Yet an intensely physical first-half had given no indication of what was in store. Hull FC flyer Lewis Martin opened the scoring For Yorkshire on 25 minutes, latching on to a superb, pin-point accurate cross-kick by Myles Lawford and Yorkshire’s sliding defence closed down several opportunities out wide for Lancashire.

And when Connor Barley took full advantage of a perfectly timed short pass from full back Alfie Edgell, it looked like the White Rose might well avoid the dreaded whitewash.

Another Lancashire Saints try followed as George Delaney went over before Sinfield’s conversion made the score 8-4 to the hosts at half-time, but when Wigan Warriors second-row Nsemba capitalised on a Yorkshire error to score and Darbyshire’s powerful surge saw him cross on the right, suddenly Lancashire had the bit between their teeth – and an 18-8 lead.

Aldridge’s try and Medworth’s conversion brought Yorkshire back into contention, but Lancashire were in no mood to let go. St Helens full-back Ben Lane created a try for Wigan Warriors’ winger Jacob Douglas at the left corner, then his St Helens teammate McKenzie Buckley rampaged through the Yorkshire ranks to put Lancashire in complete control at 28-14.

The scoring was completed in style on 78 minutes, Lane’s superb tip-on pass and Jake Thewliss’s vision allowing Saints centre Jon Vaughan to score. Sinfield converted majestically from wide out to put the final nail in Yorkshire’s coffin.

Yet the White Rose county will take comfort from the fact that they competed with Lancashire for lengthy spells, defended courageously and offered plenty in attack. Lancashire, as they have been throughout Academy Origin 2022, were simply just too strong.

Yorkshire: Alfie Edgell (Leeds Rhinos), Riley Lumb (Leeds Rhinos), Connor Barley (Hull KR), Oliver Pratt (Wakefield Trinity), Lewis Martin (Hull FC), Sully Medforth (Hull FC), Myles Lawford (Bradford Bulls), Jake Higgins (Leeds Rhinos), Bailey Aldridge (Leeds Rhinos), Ellis Hobson (Wigan Warriors), Charlie Severs (Hull FC), Adam Holroyd (Warrington Wolves), Kye Armstrong (Hull FC)

Interchanges: Alfie Dean (Castleford Tigers), Nick Staveley (Hull FC), Lucas Green (Warrington Wolves), Ben Littlewood (Leeds Rhinos)

Tries: Martin (25), Barley (32), Aldridge (55)

Goals: Medworth 1

Lancashire: Ben Lane (St Helens), Jacob Douglas (Wigan Warriors), Jon Vaughan (St Helens), Jack Darbyshire (Warrington Wolves), Jake Thewlis (Warrington Wolves), Jack Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos), Will Roberts (St Helens), Leunbou Bardyell Wells (St Helens), Ciaran Nolan (St Helens), Max Wood (Wigan Warriors), McKenzie Buckley (St Helens), Junior Nsemba (Wigan Warriors), Kalan Devine (St Helens).

Interchanges: Ben Hartill (Warrington Wolves), George Delaney (St Helens), Harvie Hill (Wigan Warriors), Ellis Archer (St Helens).

Tries: Delaney (38), Nsemba (45), Darbyshire (53), Douglas (57), Buckley (66), Vaughan (78)

Goals: Sinfield 5

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