Bradford Bulls v Saints
Now that’s more like it!
On the worst night you could possibly imagine, with rain stair-rodding it down all game, the Saints produced by far their best performance of the season so far to beat Bradford 22-10, writes Graham Henthorne.
This was due in no small measure to the contingent of 10 lower age group players who slotted in to the side perfectly.
It took seven minutes for the Saints to open the scoring but they could and should’ve had two tries in the bag already.
With only seconds gone Josh Simm broke down the left only to drop the ball cold with his winger outside him and open grass in front.
He almost made amends on the next set when he was stopped inches short but he finally did when he beat three defenders to go over on the left.
What’s been lacking in previous weeks has been any sort of forward drive. Well it was there in spades this week with props Kian Horridge and Kye Siyani making yards for fun.
They both led the line in defence as well with Matty Foster finally able to pull on a Saints jersey and making the most of it with some powerful tackling.
On the quarter hour the Saints increased their lead. A neat grubber on the last from the ever improving Lewis Dodd shaved the posts, was missed by the Bulls defenders but was pounced on by debutant centre Jumah Sambou for a deserved try.
Poor tackling let the Bulls in for a well worked try and the Saints found themselves in a battle again.
The lead was stretched to six again as Simm got his second with 10 to go in the half. Another powerful Sambou drive put the Saints on the front foot and a great pass from Jack Welsby put his opposite centre in again.
Dodd missed his third conversion of the half and when another debutant Jamie Pye was halted inches short at the interval the Saints were clinging to much tighter lead than they should’ve been.
But from the restart the dominance was reasserted when Dodd sprinted 70 metres to score in the right corner. He picked up the loose ball created by a big Sambou tackle and out ran the cover handing the last off at the corner. This time he converted the most difficult kick of the night giving some breathing space.
From the restart all the good work nearly went to waste as a poor Welsby kick landed straight into the hands of the Bulls second row who went 80 metres before being hunted down and stopped one metre out by Tom Williams, yet another debutant.
The weather was starting to have an effect and the bulls were gratefully accepting possession from the Saints increased number of errors and drew close again midway through the half with their big sub prop charging over from close range with his first touch.
But the Saints showed more character than in any of their earlier outings and led by the fresh legs of Ethan Caine and Brandon Scully they started to make yards and turn the Bulls around.
With 13 to go Welsby was the first to react to another pin-point accurate grubber from Dodd to extend the Saints lead.
There was just time for Jamie Pye to be stopped inches short of the line again before the final whistle sounded.
The McDaid brothers, Lewis Baxter, Brandon O’Neill and the reliable Jamie Little also played their part in a great team display as did the final debutant Ryan Appleton on the wing.
But for the impact made in his first game in the red vee MOM tonight must go to Jumah Sambou for a powerful display both with and without the ball.
This was a much better display and more like we all expect the Saints to perform.
Tries: James Fieldhouse (18), Matthew Laird (53).
Goals: Matthew Race 1 from 2.
Tries: Josh Simm (7 & 27), Jumah Sambou (13), Lewis Dodd (36), Jack Welsby (57).
Goals: Lewis Dodd 1 from 5.
Half Time: 6-12
Full Time: 10-22
1. Joe Stirk; 2. Murphy Smith, 3. Conor Appleyard, 4. Guy Worstenholme, 5. Jack Hamilton; 6. Matthew Race, 7. Luke Littlewood; 8. Anesu Mudoti, 9. Cameron Berry, 10. Lewis Galtress, 11. James Fieldhouse, 12. Thomas Berry, 13. Jack McMillan.
Subs: 14. Kieran Brining, 15. Liam Buffet, 16. Caleb Capitano, 17. Bradley Ho, 18. Dan Edwards, 19. Matthew Laird, 20. Harry Shackleton.
1. Jamie Little; 2. Ryan Appleton, 3. Jumah Sambou, 4. Josh Simm, 5. Harvey McDaid; 6. Jack Welsby, 7. Lewis Dodd; 8. Kian Horridge, 9. Brandon O’Neill, 17. Kye Siyani, 11. Lewis Baxter, 12. Matty Foster, 13. Jake Wingfield.
Subs: 14. Keenan McDaid, 15. James Pye, 16. Brandon Scully, 18. Benjamin Betts, 19. Ethan Caine, 20. Tom Williams.
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