What a difference a year makes!

Last year the 16s were lamenting a poor start against Widnes which led into the worst performance ever produced at home to our nearest and dearest, writes Graham Henthorne.

This was light years away from anything seen in 2017. With the ball the Saints were dynamic, threatening from all over the park. Without it the opposition couldn’t handle the ferocity of the Saints defence.

Combined it led to a 50-6 win over Wakefield on the road.

Playing down the slight slope, Saints kicked off and positively tore into the Wildcats restricting them to a mere 20 metres and a kick.

Starting their set on half way, the pack, led by the twin giants Jamie Pye and Harry Brooks, and ably supported by the tenacious Ethan Caine, steamrollered their way through the line.

On the last Lewis Dodd showed the deftness required to break the tightest of defences as he grubbered a delightful ball into the in-goal for the charging Daniel Ganson to score his first in the red vee.

The home side responded as best they could, hanging on to the Saints rampaging pack and keeping them out for 15 minutes.

But the floodgates eventually opened and the visitors cashed in on their dominance with five tries in the final 20 minutes.

Last year our Achilles Heel could have been said to be our bench, but not this time around. As Brooks and Pye went off on came Jack Stephenson, Joe Spencer, George Connolly and Will Toone, whose first involvement was to catapult his would be tackler fully three metres back onto his backside.

Callum Taylor scored the first of his brace in the left corner by taking Harvey McDaid’s miss pass.

From the kick off Toone and Pye drove the ball in and latter’s offload to Dodd gave the scrum half space to exploit down the left. A quick show and go took him to the full back before a neat pass inside sent lively hooker Keenan McDaid under the sticks.

Again from the restart Jamie Pye tipped the ball onto sub Joe Spencer for good metres. From his quick play the ball Keenan jumped out of dummy half and put Dodd away. He again took it to the full back before feeding it inside to the supporting Lewis Baxter to go the final 30 to the sticks.

The Wildcats were hanging in there at 22–0 but two tries in the last five minutes put the final nails in the coffin.

The first came fortuitously as the visitors made a change at hooker.

Keenan McDaid came off but with the Saints on the Wildcats line no matter how quick Paddy Maher had sprinted he wouldn’t have got to the play the ball in time.

So quick thinking from Jamie Pye saw him toe the ball into the in-goal then dive onto it for the try.

The last was another sublime showcase of the Lewis Dodd playbook as the scrum half again dummied his way through before putting Harvey McDaid in from 30 metres out.

34 – 0. A wonderful example of flowing Saints rugby at its best.

But no match lasts for one half only. The call was for more of the same but as often happens the second half doesn’t always live up to the first.

That said, the only indiscretion came from an interception down the Saints right which was initially cleaned up by a fantastic 60 metre chase from Dodd but resulted in the hosts scoring their only try.

Saints regained their momentum with another Toone drive and quick play the ball allowing the ever dangerous Jumah Sambou to offload in the left corner to allow his winger Theo Robinson to dive over.

Another great defensive effort saw the hosts knock-on in their 20 metre area and from the scrum, Dodd and Sambou put Taylor in for his second.

The final try three minutes from the end saw Ben Betts cap a fine display with a try.

Whilst the Wildcats weren’t the sternest of opposition and there are undoubtedly lots of things to work on before next week there are infinitely more positives to come out of the performance than negatives, with all 20 players contributing and giving their all.

So if you want to see competitive derby rugby at its best and you have a red vee in your soul, come down to Blackbrook next Saturday ‘cos you might just see something to really gladden your heart!

Match Summary:

Wakefield U16s:
Tries: Reuben Walker (44).
Goals: Callum Bacon 1 from 1.

St Helens U16s:
Tries: Daniel Ganson (3), Callum Taylor (17 & 58), Keenan McDaid (20), Lewis Baxter (22), Jamie Pye (29), Harvey McDaid (34), Theo Robinson (48), Benjamin Betts (67).
Goals: Lewis Dodd 7 from 9.

Half Time: 0-34
Full Time: 6-50


1. Brandon Marsh; 5. Darnell Skerrett-Evans, 4. Oliver Farrar, 3. Reuben Walker, 2. Kyle Davies; 6. Robbie Butterworth, 7. Callum Bacon; 8. James Patrickson, 9. Harry Bowes, 10. Ben Watson, 11. Dane Winrow, 12. Oliver Hill, 13. Corey Hall.
Subs: 14. Charlie Abraham, 15. Kurt Doody, 16. Jordan Jones, 17. Isaac Shaw, 18. Cole Hamilton, 19. Callum Thurston, 20. Elliott Richardson.

1. Harvey McDaid; 2. Ryan Appleton, 3. Evan Jones, 4. Jumah Sambou, 5. Callum Taylor; 6. Daniel Ganson, 7. Lewis Dodd; 8. Harry Brooks, 9. Keenan McDaid, 10. Jamie Pye, 11. Benjamin Betts, 12. Lewis Baxter, 13. Ethan Caine.
Subs: 14. Paddy Maher, 15. Joe Spencer, 16. Jack Stephenson, 17. Will Toone, 18. Taylor Pemberton, 19. George Connolly, 20. Theo Robinson.