Saints v Hull FC
Last week the visitors tasted victory over the Saints in sun-drenched Hull. The reason, as singled out by the coaching and playing staff, was because defensively we were poor, writes Graham Henthorne.
So the single mission for today was to defend better and the rest would take care of itself.
The first ten minutes of the match told the story of the day as the Saints props Jack Ashworth and Liam Cooper ably assisted by Man of the Match Ben Morris, bashed the living daylights out of the same pack as they played last week showing them that they were in for a very different time of it.
The first of eleven Saints tries came after four minutes as Calvin Wellington just about got his fingertips to the ball to touch down from Danny Richardson’s last tackle cross kick. The big centre outjumped his opposite number capitalising on great drives from Ashwhorth and the soon to be concussed Jonah Cunningham.
Two big defensive sets in the Saints 20 led to a turnover, penalty and try in quick succession. Dom Peyroux poked his nose through on the charge found the supporting Richardson whose sleight of hand allowed Ricky Bailey a straight run to the posts.
The Saints were just about keeping up with the clock at this stage and scored the third try just on 20 minutes with Aaron Smith doing what he does best jumping out of dummy half catching lazy markers to scoot over.
The game was put to bed as a contest with three more tries in the final 10 minutes of the half. A knock on from the visitors in their own 10 metre area led to a scrum on the left. The ball was whipped along the line to Bailey who committed the winger to give space for Dave Eccleston to go in at the corner.
When Cunningham went off in the seventh minute Ben Morris stepped up to prop where he always seems to have a blinder and today was no exception. He was rewarded with the fifth try as he burst through three meters out from Josh Eaves short ball.
It was the same Morris who on the stroke of half time tracked back 80 metres to make the final tackle to save a try from an FC break.
Sandwiched in between Wellington scored his brace stepping inside then outpacing the full back to the posts after Eaves hand jumped blind from dummy half, quick passes catching the Hull defenders napping.
The challenge of such a commanding half of rugby is to back it up when you start again and for the first 20 minutes the Saints did just that scoring three more tries before injuries and positional changes started to catch up on them.
Jack Ashworth got good reward for his strong running with two tries in five minutes. The first, from a great no look pass at the line from Richardson, the second a bizarre effort which found him gasping for breath on the wing five metres out.
This came after fine last tackle defence in the Saints 10 forced FC to pass to Ben Morris who opened up his long stride over 60 metres. There was precious little defence in front of the tackle but there was precious little attacking support as all the Saints found it difficult to catch up, even over the next four tackles.
Jordan Olmez was the next to score bringing up the 50 taking another short pass from Eaves to stroll in.
The game got scrappier in the last quarter as the Saints started to unnecessarily force the ball a bit. This led to the visitors first score despite Wellington’s 80 metre track back to stop the initial break.
Smith got his brace, again jumping out of dummy half and beating the cover over 30 to the posts before Kev Brown finished the scoring taking Richardson miss pass to stroll into the corner. A controversial penalty for a shoulder charge had led to a barge over try for FC just prior.
This was a good reply to last week’s poor display and gave the players just exactly the opportunity they needed to do that.
Ashworth and Cooper, coupled with the interchanging Eaves and Smith dominated the Hull middles giving free reign for Richardson to parade his box of tricks ably supported by Bailey, Wellington and Peyroux.
But as has been previously said for his strong running and power tackling having moved up to prop very early on Ben Morris deserves the credit.
Tries: Calvin Wellington (4 & 34), Ricky Bailey (15), Aaron Smith (21 & 71), David Eccleston (29), Ben Morris (32), Jack Ashworth (43 & 48), Jordan Olmez (8), Kevin Brown (78).
Goals: Danny Richardson 10 from 11.
Tries: Hakim Miloudi (59), Masimbaashe Matongo (74).
Goals: Jack Wray 1 from 2.
Half Time: 34-0
Full Time: 64-10
1. Ricky Bailey; 5. David Eccleston, 15. Chris Follin, 19. Calvin Wellington, 2. Sean Croston; 6. Josh Eaves, 7. Danny Richardson; 20. Jack Ashworth, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Liam Cooper, 11. Ben Morris, 12. Dominique Peyroux, 13. Jonah Cunningham.
Subs: 8. Jordan Olmez, 14. Matty Costello, 16. Owen Smith, 17. Kevin Brown, 18. Cameron Brown.
1. Hakim Miloudi; 2. Mike Adlard, 3. Zeus Silk, 4. Matt Welham, 5. Niall Sidney; **. Bobby Owns, 7. Jack Wray; 8. Ross Osbourne, 9. Josh Wood, 16. Masimbaashe Matongo, 11. Ash Bastiman, 12. Brandon Westerman, 13. Alex Gilbey.
Subs: 14. Jez Litten, 15. Billy Warden, **. Jack Sanderson, 17. Rob Branton.