Reserves win a battle against Hull FC

St.Helens Reserves beat Hull FC Reserves in a close and physical encounter on Saturday (20th April) at the Totally Wicked Stadium!

Derek Hardman named Will Roberts in his starting lineup, the first match for the young First Teamer since injuring his ACL whilst on loan at Swinton Lions last July, so it was a brilliant sight to see him run out on our home field once more.

Noah Stephens was also named in the starting thirteen after serving as 18th man the night before in our Super League win over Hull FC.

The visitors began physically with former NRL player Jayden Okunbor and Alfie Sinclair meeting for a big collision in the middle of the field early on. Saints’ first half chance came five minutes in following it on the right edge, Sam Royle found a gap but could not get a pass away to Ben Will with the Black & Whites scrambling just enough to stop us.

An arm wrestle between the two sides followed, but Hull cut through the middle around the ten-minute mark through Jeylan Hodgson and the Red V kept them out three times in a period of control for the visitors. An offside penalty after Saints intercepted a ball provided some relief.

Pushing Hull FC back towards their line for only the second time in the match to that point, an attempt to intercept themselves gifted Saits another set close. A short ball off a great running line for Leon Cowen saw the loose forward go in for the opening points, and Will Roberst on his return kicked over the two extra points for a 6-0 lead, 16 minutes in.

20 minutes into the game, big hits came in with Oliver Farrar on Dayon Sambou, and shortly after that Jerry Carty for St Helens needed treatment and was forced off the field for a head injury assessment and Harvey Braddish came on in his stead.

The visitors again grasped control of the wrestle and had Saints by their own line, but our youngsters held firm and Dayon Sambou off an early carry broke through the line and got to halfway. The winger got a quick play of the ball off too and then Harry Robertson from 40m out avoided several Hull FC men, fending and weaving through to go into the right corner for a sensational score! Roberts hit a beauty of a kick from the sidelines to make it 12-0, 26 minutes in.

Hull struck back minutes later after an error from the Red V, working to the try line a dummy half scoot from Hodgson got the Black & Whites points, and Mackenzie Harman added the extras, 12-6 with just over ten minutes to the break.

Both sides had chances as the half time whistle neared, but no clear-cut ones, plenty of aggression from each team too but 12-6 the game remained as the referee called time on the first period.

A disastrous restart for Saints gave Hull FC the first chance to attack but they could not make it pay making an error of their own close to the line in the left corner. Solid defence looked to knock the ball loose.

Robertson following a kick downfield was judged to have knocked on at the play of the ball and the Airlie Birds would keep working it in our own 20m, forcing a goal-line drop-out and then a penalty. Eventually, Hull would make all their work count and Sullivan Medforth cut back on the inside and just got to ground. Harman added the kick to bring the teams back level at 12-12, 48 minutes in.

Hull almost went back-to-back too, again from a Saints penalty, but with the try line begging a visiting player went around and behind his own man for an obstruction. St Helens sought to turn the pressure back around and capitalise on some Black & Whites errors. An offside then gave Saints their clearest chance of the half yet to attack, and on the first carry in the set Noah Stephen broke through the line with ease to go under the posts. George Whitby came on and took over kicking duties, adding it with no fuss for 18-12, 57 minutes played.

Just after the hour mark, Owen Dagnall charged in on the right wing and into Liam Tindall, the former Leeds winger did not take kindly to the way Dagnall sought to get back up and play the ball which led to a bit of a coming together, but play carried on. The Airlie Birds had a couple of sets to build calmly into our half, a good tackle from Max McGucken but the ball got knocked on giving them another go, but quick line speed forced the visitors to pass early in the middle and a forward pass given to ease the threat.

Whitby lofted a smart kick to the right corner which Tindall fielded and then Dagnall and McGucken pushed him back in touch for a goal-line drop-out. Robertson on the run tried a small kick to that same corner but Charlie Harris dropped well to stop the attempt to score. Ten minutes remained to play.

A floating high kick to their right wing came close to a score for Hull, but Ben Will rose well to field it but we would need to come away from our own line. Both teams traded knock-ons in what looked to be a cagey closing period of the fixture. Saints with a chance in good ball territory ended with Robertson again placing a short kick which Harries again stopped calmly, and a penalty took the visitors out of dodge once more.

The penalty allowed Harman on the last to place a sliding grubber close to the posts, but a Black & Whites attacker bundled it forward looking to score and we would try end the game in the opposition’s half.

In the final moments, Leon Cowen with a typically robust carry saw him charge over Hodgson, but the Hull hooker stayed down after landing on the back of his head, holding the latter stages of the game so he could get checked over, he unfortunately needed to come off the field. The Saints wanted one more score with seconds remaining Whitby tried a huge bomb but Hull recovered it and then went for their own kick, Robertson picked it up trying to muster up some more magic before being stopped and the game brought to an end.

A physical, close battle between Saints and Hull, and the Red V deservedly secured the victory!

Match Summary

St.Helens Reserves team: Harry Robertson, Ben Will, Dayon Sambou, Max McGucken, Owen Dagnall, Ben Lane, Will Roberts, Alfie Sinclair, Ciaran Nolan, Noah Stephens, Jerry Carty, Sam Royle, Leon Cowen

Interchanges: George Whitby, Harvey Braddish, Sam Oakes, Niall Dean

18th player: Jake Davies

Tries: Leon Cowen (15), Harry Robertson (24), Noah Stephens (55)

Conversions: Will Roberts 2/2, George Whitby 1/1

Hull FC Reserves team: Jack Walker, Callum Shaw, Oilver Farrar, Ryan Westerman, Liam Tindall, Mackenzie Harman, Sullivan Medforth, Ilikaya Mafi, Jeylan Hodgson, Jude Thompson, William Kirby, Lennon Bursell, Jayden Okunbor

Interchanges: William Hutchinson, Lennon Clark, Owen Haldenby, Charlie Harris

18th player: Benjamin Johnson

Tries: Jeylan Hodgson (27), Sullivan Medforth (47)

Conversions: Mackenzie Harman 2/2


If you wish to download or print a copy of today’s team sheet, please click here!

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