Saints v Wigan Warriors
As hors d’oeurvre’s go the first half of this U19s derby was looking quite good as a warm-up to the main course coming later, writes Graham Henthorne.
The Saints, still not able to play with any fluidity, had overcome a dodgy middle period to the half to come from behind and edge into the lead with a Rob Fairclough drop goal on the stroke of oranges.
However, it all went wrong after the break as the Saints looked a shadow even of the team in the first half conceding 28 unanswered points in a disappointing display.
The signs had looked ominous early doors as the visitors took the lead after only 80 seconds converting a 40/20 with a try in the left corner.
But the Saints, with Matty Lees and Josh Eaves to the fore took the game to the visitors and drew level by executing a little of what they had worked on in the week.
On the last a Fairclough bomb was dropped by the winger picked up by Sean Croston, flicked out to Tom Nisbett for the winger to stroll over.
The trusty boot of Brad Billsborough evened things up off the touchline.
But two knock ons in our own half in the next two possessions invited the visitors in and they took advantage scoring twice to pull into a 10 point lead.
From the restart Eaves made a great break down the middle and with Callum Hazzard storming up outside ready to take the pass and score he was cruelly ankle tapped and the chance was gone.
But this did give encouragement and on twenty minutes the Saints scored a great try.
An inside ball behind the play the ball put Kev Brown away. The full back went 50 metres to his opposite number before throwing a wide pass out to his right. It was hacked on by Chris Follin and as the ball sat up Luke Ward scooped it up to go in at the corner.
Again Billsborough goaled to bring the Saints back within a score.
Another knock on in our red zone led to the visitors pounding the Saints line. It took a massive hit from Matty Lees to dislodge the ball and as Croston was bringing the ball away he was taken high resulting in a sin bin for the full back.
Another penalty and two tackles later and Ward was going over for his second again from a pass from Brown this time with Joe Sharratt’s assistance.
As the time was winding down quick thinking made the Saints pack down to stop the clock from the scrum. Four drives later and Fairclough popped over the one pointer.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it got as the Saints capitulated to let in five second half tries.
Wigan also had a man sent off with Matty Lees also dismissed for retaliation – Oliver Partington joining them for 10 minutes after a late shot on Fairclough.
The usual’s Lees and Eaves were this week joined by Brown and a cameo performance by Chris Kellett off the bench as players that tried for the full 80.
Saints U19s Team:
Tries: Tom Nisbett (7), Luke Ward (21 & 35).
Goals: Brad Billsborough 2 from 3.
Drop Goals: Rob Fairclough (40).
Wigan U19s Team:
Tries: Craig Mullen (1), James Worthington (11), Pat Casey (15), Ben Kilner (44), Josh Ganson (50), Joe Brown (59 & 62), Sammy Kibula (66).
Goals: Harry Smith 6 from 8.
Half Time: 17-16
Full Time: 17-44
1. Kevin Brown; 2. Luke Ward, 3. Chris Follin, 4. Sean Croston, 5. Tom Nisbett; 6. Brad Billsborough, 7. Rob Fairclough; 8. Matty Lees, 9. Josh Eaves, 16. Alex Eckley, 11. Sam Royle, 12. Mike Weldon (C), 13. Callum Hazzard.
Subs: 10. Jordan Olmez, 15. Joe Sharratt, 17. Evan Bullen, 19. Chris Kellett.
1. Craig Mullen; 5. Sam Grant, 4. James Barran, 3. James Worthington, 2. Joe Brown; 6. Harry Smith, 7. Callum Green; 8. Oliver Partington, 9. Josh Ganson, 10. Caine Barnes, 11. Liam Paisley, 12. Pat Casey, 13. Joe Shorrocks.
Subs: 15. Ben Kilner, 16. Sammy Kibula, 17. Sammy Adejumo, 19. Liam Byrne.
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