Warrington Wolves v Saints
This was the original game of two halves as the Saints, reeling from a massive half time deficit, almost pulled off the greatest escape since Steve McQueen (look it up youngsters!), writes Graham Henthorne.
The first half was almost as bad as the previous week’s drubbing apart from a couple of near misses and Matthew Elwell’s try.
The Saints should have opened the scoring as Jack Welsby dropped the ball over the line in the act of scoring. The problem then was they let the Wolves march down field and stroll through the middle, courtesy of a lucky ricochet maybe, but a sign of things to come.
The Wolves were already 14 points up before the Saints troubled the scoreboard having decided that as well as going through us they could also go around us with just as much ease.
Welsby’s third restart was a horrible dipping affair which the full back dropped giving a scrum on the 10 metre line. Two drives later and Welsby was attacking the Wolves right edge, he was held up but slipped the ball out the back to Elwell for they try.
Three more simple tries followed split by a missed opportunity. Another dodgy restart from Welsby was caught by Lewis Dodd to put the Saints on the front foot. Three tackles later the ball was spread right whereupon any decent pass from Jake Arnold puts his winger over.
As with last week the hairdryer was removed from its box and given a good airing at the break. But unlike last week this time there was a response.
There was a marked improvement from many players. The communication level went up, the tackles were executed with a touch more aggression and with ball in hand the players ran at their opposite number with flair.
But not before conceding yet another try in the Wolves opening set.
The first try of the comeback went to Callum Taylor. Dodd took the ball to the line before passing out the back to Welsby who poked his nose half through. Out came the ball to the supporting Jack Roughley, out again to Jamie Little who committed his man before feeding his winger to come inside beating three to the line.
From the restart they were at it again. This time Josh Waterworth started it off feeding Dodd, on to Josh Simm who made the half break this time before feeding it back inside to Dodd. The elusive half back showed aggression with a great handoff to give himself space, took it to the full back before feeding it back inside to Waterworth to finish the 70 metre move he started under the posts.
There was a murmur of worry starting to spread through the crowd now which rose in volume minutes later as the Saints scored their third try in six minutes.
Dodd’s viciously spiralling last tackle bomb was spilled by the fullback giving the Saints a scrum 20 out. Two drives to the right of the posts and on the third the ball was spread left to Dodd who stepped his way past three to go over under the posts.
The Saints were rampant but the next few minutes were crucial as the Wolves held out for four sets on the run when the Saints took poor final pass options bombing certain tries in the process.
Consequently it was with only 10 minutes to go that the Saints scored their fourth of the half and closed to within four points.
This time aggressive defence forced the error on the Wolves 20 and three tackles after the scrum Brandon O’Neill dummied his way over in the corner.
The Wolves were looking much like their first team at this point but the gap proved just too much for the Saints as they forgot how they had closed to within four, went back to their old ways and paid the price giving up a simple try.
The second half showed everyone concerned and most importantly hopefully the 19 lads on the pitch that when they apply themselves they are good enough, not only to compete, but to win. They just need to do it from the start next time.
Waterworth, Dodd and O’Neill controlled the play well with Welsby always a threat chiming in from the back. Kye Siyani, Josh Hadland and Jake Wingfield put in much better stints after the break as did most of the bench. But a special mention needs to go to Ethan Caine, the youngest of the pack who often did the hardest of yards without complaint.
Tries: Eribe Doro (4), Liam Brinksman (9, 14 & 37), Jack Wright (20), Henry Collins (23), Lewis Hall (30), Riley Dean (65).
Goals: Riley Dean 2 from 4, Callum Turner 2 from 4.
Tries: Matthew Elwell (17), Callum Taylor (40), Josh Waterworth (43), Lewis Dodd (46), Brandon O’Neill (60).
Goals: Josh Simm 2 from 3, Lewis Dodd 2 from 2.
Half Time: 28-4
Full Time: 38-28
1. Callum Turner; 5. Brechan Stephenson, 4. Liam Brinksman, 3. Lewis Hall, 2. Henry Collins; 6. Riley Dean, 7. James Machin; 8. Jordan Brown, 9. Oliver Lewis, 10. Eribe Doro, 11. Andrew Badrock, 12. Cole Oakley, 13. Jack Wright.
Subs: 14. Joseph Kohe Love, 15. Matthew Drake, 16. Jamie Wood, 17. Daniel Harper, 18. Oliver Livett, 19. Scott Turton, 20. Morgan Burgess.
1. Jack Welsby; 2. Jamie Little, 3. Jake Arnold, 4. Matthew Elwell, 5. Callum Taylor; 6. Lewis Dodd, 7. Josh Waterworth; 15. Kye Siyani, 9. Brandon O’Neill, 10. Josh Hadland, 11. Josh Simm, 12. Zak Critchley, 13. Jake Wingfield.
Subs: 8. Ethan Yates, 14. Ethan Caine, 16. Lewis Baxter, 17. Brandon Scully, 18. Jack Taylor, 19. Jack Roughley.
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