Saints v Newcastle Thunder
The Saints rounded off their league campaign with a convincing 60-12 win over the Thunder, writes Graham Henthorne.
Without talismanic stand-off Jack Welsby, deservedly making his first team debut later on, it was left to the new half back pairing of Jake Wingfield and Ryan Horne to lead the Saints around the field.
And it all started very well as the Saints raced into an eight point lead in as many minutes.
Cam Brown opened the scoring celebrating his return to action after injury with the first of his hat-trick. Josh Simm’s blockbusting run, when he sat his opposing second row on his back side on his way through the line, set up the position. A quick play the ball saw Wingfield commit the defender before feeding Brown to go over in the right corner.
Simm’s powerful running, this time from 30 metres with two players hanging on for dear life, again put the Saints in position for Horne this time to hold the defence and put Tom Nisbet over.
Captain Alex Eckley was held up over the line but the great start fizzled out with errors aplenty creeping in.
The Thunder took full advantage camping out in the Saints 20 metre zone for six sets in a row with John Hutchings and Nisbett making try saving tackles.
But the pressure finally tolled as the Thunder loose forward just got the ball down before Matty Foster’s hand snook under it.
Thankfully normal service was resumed with two tries in the final five minutes of the half pushing the Saints further in front.
A Nisbet run out of defence and quick play the ball allowed Wingfield to jump blind down the right. He ran 30 metres, dummied the fullback before passing inside to Luke Ward who finished from 30 out.
The last set of the half belonged to the Saints thanks to a crunching tackle from Sam Royle which earned the Saints a repeat set.
Three tackles later and Matty Foster was reaching out to score.
The second half started as the first finished with a Royle tackle forcing the error. Four tackles later the ball was moved left to Simm who again burst through flimsy a tackle to sidestep the fullback to score in the corner.
The Saints went back to back when on the fourth Horne put Foster through a gap. He took it to the fullback passed it inside to Callum Hazzard who had the sense to give it to the charging Chris Follin to go the final 40 metres.
The Thunder were well and truly broken as the Saints scored on the next set as well.
A thunderous drive from the mightily impressive Kye Siyani gave Nisbett time and space to pull Brown back on his inside to dummy his way over.
The Saints were rampant now and two more back to back efforts piled on the agony for the visitors.
An Eckley drive to the sticks saw Paul Nash back up his impressive form from last week with a try from an audacious dummy half dummy.
Simm scored his second and the Saints ninth going over on the left after slick passing from Wingfield, Horne and Nisbett.
Cam Brown got his third taking the inside ball from Nisbet who finally backed himself to go through a gap to the fullback.
The Thunder did better than the Broncos last week earning themselves a consolation score with three minutes on the clock despite Wingfield’s try saver earlier in the set.
But the Saints had the last laugh with Simm scoring his third on the whistle again bursting through from halfway and stepping the fullback. His fifth conversion brought up 60 points.
As far as pointers to next week’s semi-final are concerned this is virtually useless. But the return to action of Cam Brown was a bonus giving Coach Derek Traynor a few headaches.
As will the form of Kye Siyani who had a blockbusting 40 minutes and Paul Nash who again belied his size playing 80 minutes in the middle.
The star of the show has to Josh Simm who proved far too hot for the Thunder to handle.
All eyes now turn to the Totally Wicked Stadium a week tonight for the visit of the Rhinos. At one game apiece the Saints have already tasted victory and will be looking to make it two out of three to advance to the Final
Tries: Cam Brown (3, 49 & 67), Tom Nisbet (7), Luke Ward (35), Matty Foster (40), Josh Simm (44, 57 & 80), Chris Follin (46), Paul Nash (54)
Goals: Callum Hazzard 3 from 6, Josh Simm 5 from 5.
Tries: Jed Charlton (29), Tyler Walton (77).
Goals: Jack Quinn 1 from 1, Jed Charlton 1 from 1.
Half Time: 18-6
Full Time: 60-12
1. Tom Nisbet; 22. Sean Croston, 19. Cam Brown, 4. Josh Simm, 5. John Hutchings; 6. Jake Wingfield, 7. Ryan Horne; 8. Alex Eckley (C), 9. Paul Nash, 10. Callum Hazzard, 11. Chris Follin, 12. Sam Royle, 13. Joe Sharratt.
Subs: 14. Luke Ward, 15. Matty Foster, 16. Chris Kellett, 17. Kye Siyani.
1. Alexander Clegg; 2. Callum Piert, 3. Daniel White, 4. Anthony Dyne, 5. Mark McCallan; 6. Thomas Wilcox, 7. Jack Quinn; 8. Rory Nettleton, 9. Oliver Gowling, 12. Tyler Walton, 11. Kieran Hudson, 15. Adam Bielby, 13. Jed Charlton.
Subs: 10. Nat Kitching, 14. Cai Ellis, 16. Chris Paterson, 17. James McGurk.
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