Saints slipped to a 36-16 defeat in their pre-season run out against Bradford at Blackbrook.

Too many errors stopped the Saints mounting any sort of pressure and allowed the Bulls to march downfield almost at will.

And when they got there they looked dangerous taking full advantage of some poor decisions in defence to score three tries from inside the Saints 10 metre line.

It took the Saints until the 31st minute to make a dent in the Bulls as Jack Welsby crossed for the first score.

The Bulls had been penalised in possession on their own 20 metre line from the kick off giving the Saints their first sniff of the line with ball in hand. Good runs from Chris Kellett and Kian Horridge got the ball close. From the play the ball the lively Brandon O’Neill spread play to the right where Welsby stepped off his right foot to slide over to the right of the posts.

Unfortunately, the Saints strayed offside from the restart and were lucky three tackles later when the referee disallowed what looked to be a perfectly good try for the ball being held up.

As always in pre-season friendlies there were numerous changes at the break but for the Saints it was much of the same as the Bulls raced into a 30 points to 4 lead on the hour.

The Bulls made a few changes then and this coupled with a bit more aggression in the defensive line gave the Saints the edge for a while.

They forced an error under on the second under the Bulls posts and after probing the right side the ball was switched back left on fourth tackle, spread through a few hand before finding its way to Alex Eckley. The big prop ran along the line until he found his man whereupon the big handoff allowed him to touch down to the left of the posts.

The Saints’ final try came after yet another Bulls error early in the tackle count. This time the ball was spread right along the line to give left centre Josh Simm enough space to dive over. Callum Hazzard kicked his second goal from the touchline.

However, there was still time for the Bulls to confirm their dominance with their sixth try of the rather gloomy afternoon.

Eckley, Lewtas and Hazzard ran hard for the Saints with good stints off the bench from O’Neill, Horridge, Kellett and Siyani but there was precious little else to warm the cockles of Saints hearts.

Match Summary:

Saints U19s:
Tries: Jack Welsby (31), Alex Eckley (67), Josh Simm (72).
Goals: Jack Welsby 0 from 1, Callum Hazzard 2 from 2.

Bradford U19s:
Tries: Matthew Storton (11), Ryan Leadbeater (18), Keelan Foster (28 & 77), Luke Punton (56), Sam Smith (60).
Goals: Alix Stephenson 5 from 5, James Fieldouse 1 from 1.

Half Time: 4-18
Full Time: 16-36

1. Kevin Brown; 2. Tom Nisbett, 3. Cameron Brown, 4. Sean Croston, 5. John Hutchings; 6. Jack Welsby, 7. Ryan Horne; 17. Alex Eckley, 9. Paul Nash, 10. Jorge Lewtas, 11. Chris Follin, 12. Sam Royle, 13. Callum Hazzard.
Subs: 8. Christian Kellett, 14. Brandon O’Neill, 15. Matty Foster, 16. Kian Horridge, 18. Elliott Jenkins, 19. Luke Ward, 20. Ben Sims, 21. Joe Sharratt, 22. Kelvin Ojeaburu, 27. Kye Siyani, 28. Josh Simm.

1. Alix Stephenson; 2. Ryan Leadbeater, 3. Elliott Culling, 4. Luke Punton, 5. Ryan Butterworth; 6. Cobi Green, 7. Jack Wilson; 8. Jake Lightowler, 9. Lochlan McGill, 10. Oliver Wilson, 11. Matthew Storton, 12. Lawrence Okaga-Ajwang, 13. Matthew Fletcher.
Subs: 14. Murphy Smith, 15. Sam Smith, 16. Guy Wolstenholme, 17. Keelan Foster, 18. Cameron Berry, 19. Ebon Scurr, 20. James Fieldouse, 21. Kieron Todd, 22. Luke Littlewood, 23. Joe Stirk.

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