Keighley Cougars v Saints
It’s hard to be critical after you’ve scored 14 tries in a game and nilled the opposition in the second half but that’s exactly what Coaches Talbot and Wellens had to be at the break, writes Graham Henthorne.
A lack of respect had resulted in the Cougars building a deserved 10 point lead after a quarter of an hour as they came charging down the slope at Cougar Park both with and without the ball.
When you play teams like the Cougars you are always going to be presented with a team that ups its game 10% just because they’re facing the Saints.
It took the introduction of the bench of two of the six Hull KR players pulling on the Red Vee this week along with our own Jorge Lewtas to change the momentum of the game.
The trio took the game to the home side and started not only to create space for Danny Richardson and Matty Fleming to play but also to put the first shades of doubt into the opposition.
Four tries in the second quarter then took the game away from the Cougars.
The first came to Dave Eccleston who simply ran a straight line at his opposite number brushing him off on his way to the line.
Drives from Lewtas and Kieron Moran put the Saints on the front foot and a deft Richardson grubber bounced just enough for Liam Cooper to pounce on the loose ball.
The last ten minutes saw two tries to Rovers second row Joe Cator. The first came as he went the last 30 to the line after Moran had put his fellow Robin Will Jubb through the line with a great short pass. The second, as he again outstripped the cover wide on the left from a Richardson pass.
Unfortunately on the stroke of half time a last tackle grubber was touched down under the nose of Calvin Wellington as he was escorting it dead to give the home side a glimmer.
However, that glimmer was well and truly doused as the Saints did exactly what was asked of them after the break, running hard, tackling fiercely and finishing ruthlessly.
Lewtas and Moran again got the Saints on a roll allowing Jonah Cunningham to drive through three would be tacklers at the sticks for the first of 10 tries.
Cator completed a deserved hat-trick this time dummying the pass out left and cutting back to score.
From a scrum on the Cougar 10 metre line the Saints worked a lovely planned move with Ricky Bailey curving round on the arc to slice through.
The Saints were scoring on each possession by now and when Aaron Smith was held up over the line big Brad Clavering took fellow Robin’s prop George Milton’s pass to side step his way over the line.
A great 70 metre effort involving Clavering’s great offload to Smith and then Cunningham was ruled out for a Richardson forward pass when the decision was surely offside against the still retreating Cougars.
The fifty came up as Wellington scored the first of his brace taking a great pass from Rover Will Oakes.
Bailey scored his second finishing Richardson’s dummy and go break down the middle taking a delightful under hand reverse ball from the mercurial scrum half.
The point a minute score which came on 66 was possibly the most pleasing to the coaching staff as it came after a fabulous defensive set, coming so late in the game, had forced the Cougars to kick from inside their own 20 metre area. Three tackles later and Milton put Smith under the posts.
Wellington’s second came courtesy of a great inside line he ran from left to right.
Richardson capped off a great individual performance taking Bailey’s pass to go the last 30 after the full back had just been collared from behind after breaking through.
As ever Richardson then blotted his copybook as he tried to be too flashy butchering a gilt edged chance after making a fabulous 70 metre break.
But made up for it in the last minute putting Bailey through for his hat-trick and completing the scoring by kicking his 14th goal from as many attempts, not all being under the sticks.
Looking at the score line you’d be forgiven for thinking well what have we gained from that massacre. But valuable lessons in personal and team preparation will have been learnt from the first half and how to be ruthless despite the scoreboard from the exhibition stuff in the second.
All six Rovers’ “imports” went well fitting in to the Saints side and giving their watching Coach James Webster must to be pleased with.
For the Saints Bailey, Wellington in his second spell, Smith and Cunningham went well but it’s hard to choose between the control of Richardson and the power and enthusiasm of Lewtas to be top dog.
Tries: Gavin Reed (7), Harry Aaronson (17 & 40) .
Goals: Kieran Smith 1 from 3.
Tries: Dave Eccleston (21), Liam Cooper (29), Joe Cator, (31, 36 & 44) Jonah Cunningham (42), Ricky Bailey (53, 63 & 79), Brad Clavering (56), Calvin Wellington (62 & 68), Aaron Smith (66), Danny Richardson (72).
Goals: Danny Richardson 14 from 14.
Half Time: 14-24
Full Time: 14-84
1. Liam Darville; 5. Harry Aaronson, 4. Graham Rawlinson, 3. Aiden Scully, 2. Calvin Barker; 7. Callum Smithson, 6. Kieran Smith; 8. Tobias Williams, 9. Luke Walters, 10. Gavin Reed, 11. Ben Sagar, 12. James Pickering, 13. Sean Kelly.
Subs: 14. Jordan Payton, 15. Aaron Harlow-Stephenson, 16. Jack Adams, 17. Alex Stott.
1. Ricky Bailey; 2. Will Oakes, 3. Dave Eccleston, 4. Calvin Wellington, 5. Regan Grace; 18. Matty Fleming, 7. Danny Richardson; 19. George Milton, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Brad Clavering, 11. Liam Cooper, 12. Joe Cator, 13. Jonah Cunningham.
Subs: 8. Kieran Moran, 15. Will Jubb, 16. Jordan Gibbons, 17. Jorge Lewtas.
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