Saints v Hull FC
LOOKING purely at the 60-30 scoreline and you would be forgiven for thinking that the defensive effort from both teams had been terrible, writes Graham Henthorne.
And whilst that is partly true I’d prefer to say that the score is due to some sparkling attacking play from both sides.
The Saints were first out of the blocks and were 10 points up in as many minutes with tries from Matty Fleming and Jack Ashworth.
The first came after Brad Billsborough’s last tackle kick on half way had been charged down but rebounded into Saints hands. After great drives from Ricky Bailey, Greg Richards and Matty Lees, Danny Richardson, back to his scintillating best, chose to run it spinning the ball out wide right to the charging Matty Fleming who bulldozed his way through three to the line.
Jack Ashworth’s first came after good work again from Richards and Jonah Cunningham who were held short. On the last Richardson’s deft grubber gave Ashworth a stroll over the line.
But not to be out done the visitors came storming back with two tries of their own and as the game went into its second quarter FC were ahead by two.
The Saints just needed to ride the storm, get back to what was working for them and that’s exactly what they did in the remaining twenty minutes.
On 25 minutes Ashworth came up with a great offload to put Josh Eaves under the sticks to regain the lead for the Saints.
The third tackle after the restart saw a mesmerising 80 metre run. Calvin Wellington made the initial break and support from Josh Eaves, Bailey and Ashworth saw the Saints 10 metres from the line. From the play the ball Richardson again took control throwing a miss pass out to Jake Spedding for the wingers’ first.
The last score of the half saw Fleming through down the right, he dummied to Spedding before passing it inside to bailey who outstripped the cover to go under the sticks.
The second half started as the first had ended with the Saints flooding forward in attack.
Bailey was held up over the line in the first set before the ball was spread right to Ashworth on the last for the big second row to step inside his defender to score.
Matty Fleming scored his second thanks to another towering bomb from Richardson which landed smack bang in between the full back and winger who both allowed it to bounce directly into the waiting grasp of the Saints centre who jogged over the line.
The game was well and truly put to bed on the quarter hour as a neat short ball from Aaron Smith put Cunningham over under the black dot.
However, nobody told the visitors that as, combined with a sharp offloading game, they took advantage of some lapses in concentration from the Saints to score three tries in quick succession to close within 14 points with as many minutes remaining.
But that was as close as they got as the Saints decided to play again scoring three effortless tries in the final six minutes to blow the score out.
Spedding got his brace weaving between the static defensive lines on the right.
Jordan Gibbons reacted quickest to dive on a loose ball deep in the let in goal area after a great Dave Eccleston break.
The final try was finished off by Greg Richards powering over from close range after a sharp dummy half break from Smith.
Both sides were keen to get the Reserves season under way and the Saints produced a sparkling display from 1 to 19.
Richards, Ashworth and the terrifyingly direct Matty Lees dictated the play up front and with significant fire power out wide it was easy for Danny Richardson to showcase his wares.
Next for the Saints in a fortnight is a visit over the lump. Play for 80 like they did for 50 and it could be another happy trip home from Orrell.
Tries: Matty Fleming (3 & 49), Jack Ashworth (8 & 45), Josh Eaves (25), Jake Spedding (27 & 74), Ricky Bailey (33), Jonah Cunningham (54), Jordan Gibbons (76), Greg Richards (78).
Goals: Danny Richardson (8 from 11).
Tries: Nick Armstrong (12), Jack Wray (18), Mike Adlard (60), Curtis Heil (66), Jez Litten (67).
Goals: Nick Armstrong (5 from 5).
Half Time: 26-12
Full Time: 60-30
1. Ricky Bailey; 2. Jake Spedding, 4. Matty Fleming, 3. Calvin Wellington, 5. Regan Grace; 6. Brad Billsborough, 7. Danny Richardson; 8. Greg Richards, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Matty Lees, 11. Jack Ashworth, 12. Ben Morris, 13. Jonah Cunningham.
Subs: 14. Josh Eaves, 15. Callum Hazzard, 16. Mike Weldon, 17. Owen Smith, 18. Jordan Gibbons, 19. Dave Eccleston.
1. Mike Adlard; 2. Nick Armstrong, 3. Matt Cook, 4. Connor Bower, 5. Callum Lancaster; 6. Jake Connor, 7. Jack Wray; 8. Ross Osbourne, 9. Josh Wood, 10. Zac Braham, 11. Brandon Westerman, 12. Ash Bastiman, 13. Zeus Silk.
Subs: 14. Jack Sanderson, 15. Alex Gilbey, 16. Curtis Heil, **. Jez Litten.