Saints v Warrington Wolves
The U19s entered this game knowing a win would make it a hat-trick of victories for the red vee this weekend. But more importantly it was a chance to put the rather scratchy performance in the South of France behind them and start to play with a degree of confidence.
This they did in style with an eight try 40-12 demolition of the Wolves at a fleeingly cold Ruskin Drive on Sunday.
Watched by Head Coach Justin Holbrook, the Saints got off to the best of starts with Tom Nisbet going one better than his counterpart Sean Croston by scoring in the left corner.
Croston was inches away from converting Jack Welsby’s neat grubber in the opposite corner but on the next set, aided by a couple of penalties, Nisbet took Welsby’s floated miss pass to open the scoring in the corner.
The best try of the afternoon was ruled out for a dubious forward pass. Callum Hazzard’s great short pass put Elliott Jenkins through and he put Cameron Brown on a 50 metre sprint to the sticks before the intervention from the touch judge.
Undaunted the Saints pack, led by Alex Eckley and Jorge Lewtas, continued to pound the visitors and it was Hazzard who again broke the line sending Chris Follin on a 30 metre run. His quick play the ball gained another penalty which, when taken quickly, gave Welsby the chance to dummy his way over. Hazzard was finally close enough to negotiate the swirling wind and convert the score.
There was still time enough for the Saints right side to butcher a try before the interval.
Within five minutes of the restart all of the first half dominance was wiped out as the Wolves strolled in for two converted tries which gave them all the confidence in the world to bring the fight to the Saints.
The Saints needed to re-boot and get back to first half basics which is exactly what they did.
Ten minutes in, aided by three penalties on the trot, quick hands saw Josh Simm go over down the left and the Wolves were teetering.
A few minutes later and the bubble burst as Chris Follin, having his best game for a while, ran a great line to score by the posts.
On the hour wonderful goal line desperation from Jenkins and Simm saved a certain try by holding their much bigger opponent up over the line.
As the time went on the Saints superior possession in both halves finally took its toll on the Wolves as they conceded three tries in the final quarter of an hour.
Firstly, hooker Paul Nash spotted a gap close to the line and nipped over for a smartly taken try.
Then Cam Brown ran 50 metres to the line to finish off a smartly taken interception from the hugely impressive Jorge Lewtas. Despite being roared on from the side lines the big prop took the sensible option looking for the speedster outside.
The Saints’ eighth and final try fittingly saw full back Welsby chime into the line for his brace. As he had done numerous times, he ghosted through the line before sublimely standing up the fullback with a delightful in and out move beating him to the line.
Two matches in to a long campaign no-one is going to get carried away but there were huge positives to take away from today’s victory.
Elliott Jenkins showed maturity and a fine degree of deft handling controlling the middle along with hookers Nash and Brandon O’Neill.
Welsby chiming into the line was a constant thorn in the Wolves side.
Alex Eckley and the resurgent Follin took the line forward but the stand out players exhibiting newfound discipline combined with the usual powerful running, Jorge Lewtas and a leadership and eye for a gap, Callum Hazzard.
Tries: Sean Croston (7), Tom Nisbett (18), Jack Welsby (29 & 73), Josh Simm (50), Chris Follin (57), Paul Nash (65), Cameron Brown (69).
Goals: Callum Hazzard 4 from 7, Tom Nisbett 0 from 1.
Tries: Jack Wright (42), Joe Edge (45).
Goals: Joe Edge 2 from 2.
Half Time: 14-0
Full Time: 40-12
1. Jack Welsby; 5. Sean Croston, 3. Cameron Brown, 4. Josh Simm, 2. Tom Nisbett; 6. Jake Wingfield, 7. Elliott Jenkins; 8. Alex Eckley, 9. Paul Nash, 10. Jorge Lewtas, 11. Chris Follin, 12. Sam Royle, 13. Callum Hazzard.
Subs: 14. Brandon O’Neill, 15. Joe Sharratt, 16. Christian Kellett, 17. Matty Foster.
1. Joe Edge; 2. Liam Brinksman, 3. Liam Jones, 4. Lewis Hall, 5. Henry Collins; 6. Riley Dean, 7. Ritchie Westwood; 8. Jacob Chamberlain, 9. Brad Pinder, 20. Jack Wilson, 11. Cole Oakley, 12. Fynn Stanley, 13. Ellis Robson.
Subs: 14. Elliott Windley, 15. Jack Wright, 16. Taylor Brown, 17. Eribe Doro.