Saints v Widnes Vikings
After last week’s ‘scrape through’ victory this was a much more authoritative display against the Widnes Vikings, writes Graham Henthorne.
Playing uphill and against the wind in the first half the Saints started slowly before turning the screw to eventually win 36-8.
Both Theo Robinson and Evan Jones squandered chances before the former finally got over.
A sustained period of pressure from the Saints proved too much for the Vikings defence allowing the centre to go over in the corner after good handling from Keenan McDaid, Ethan Caine and then Ben Betts.
Lewis Dodd missed the touchline conversion but was able to convert his own try scored on the next set.
The Saints had marched upfield and on the last the scrum half decided to run the ball spreading it wide to Robinson. He took it 20 metres towards the corner before turning it back inside to Harvey McDaid who in turn found Dodd on his right with a walk in to the side of the posts.
The Vikings opened their account on the half hour catching the Saints on an overlap but normal service was resumed with the last play of the half.
Harry Brooks and Robinson were stopped short of the line but quick hands from sub Dan Ganson to Dodd and then Harvey McDaid gave the full back the room to step around three defenders to go in at the corner. Dodd converted to give the Saints a 12 point lead at the interval.
As the second half started the Saints upped the defensive ante keeping the Vikings hemmed into the bottom corner of the field and forced error after error to keep them there.
Five minutes in and Lewis Dodd effectively put the game out of the visitors reach as he strolled in with a majestic show and go after Brooks and Robinson had again been held short.
From the restart George Connolly made good metres powering into the fading visitors. On the back of this drive the Saints again marched easily downfield with Robinson again short. But from the play the ball, quick hands shifted the attack to the right giving Jack Taylor an unopposed walk in for the score.
Aided by some penalties the Viking launched an attack from the Saints 20 metre area and only a great last ditch tackle from Harvey McDaid kept them out.
From the turnover two penalties and drives from Evan Jones and the impressive debutant Farice Ejimofor-Burnett got the Saints within striking range. A quick play the ball saw Dan Ganson go right finding Jones with a peach of a pass and the big centre did the rest.
The Vikings scored a consolation try from half way catching the Saints napping out wide.
But the last laugh was left to Ethan Caine as he stepped through the line to power over with Dodd converting.
This really was a bit of a mis-match with the visitors only making ground courtesy of the referee. But you can only play what’s put in front of you and the Saints did just that.
All of the bench made impacts when they came on with the debutants Ejimofor-Burnett and Joe Woods to the fore. Paddy Maher controlled things down the middle with Zack Lee and the hugely impressive Reece Sumner contributing both with and without possession.
St Helens U16s:
Tries: Theo Robinson (17), Lewis Dodd (20 & 40), Harvey McDaid (34), Jack Taylor (44), Evan Jones (49), Ethan Caine (58).
Goals: Lewis Dodd 4 from 7.
Widnes Vikings U16s:
Tries: Tyler Pilling (27), Harry Parkinson (54).
Goals: Daniel Lynch 0 from 2.
Half Time: 16-4
Full Time: 36-8
1. Harvey McDaid; 5. Jack Taylor, 4. Evan Jones, 3. Theo Robinson, 2. Owen Blackwood; 6. Keenan McDaid, 7. Lewis Dodd; 8. Jamie Pye, 9. Paddy Maher, 10. Zack Lee, 11. Ben Betts, 12. Reece Sumner, 13. Ethan Caine.
Subs: 14. Ellis Keppel, 15. Joe Woods, 16. Farice Ejimofor-Burnett, 17. Will Toone, 18. George Connolly, 19. Harry Brooks, 20. Dan Ganson.
1. Daniel Lynch; 5. Tyler Pilling, 3. Jonathan Bennison, 4. Bradley Ryder, 2. Harry Parkinson; 6. James Murray, 7. Jacob Dugdale; 8 Alfie Cassidy, 9. Ryan Barnes, 10. Cameron Reilly, 11. Matthew Duckworth, 12. Connor Burgess, 15. Paul Cragg.
Subs: 14. Kieran Tyrer, 15. Reece McConville, 16. Ryan Lockett, 17. Eoin Lynch.