What a change a week makes! From probably their worst display for many a year last week against the Vikings the Saints U19s put in a fantastic performance against our nearest and dearest at Orrell on Saturday, writes Graham Henthorne.

As always in these situations it’s a missed tackle here and a poor decision there that makes the difference – and it did this time, Wigan emerging 26-18 winners.

In a scoreless first half the Saints had the better of things but just couldn’t get the ball over the line.

Jack Welsby was held up after only five minutes as the Saints tried to capitalise on two errors from the home side. But the chance was lost as Ryan Horne’s last tackle kick went dead.

There was oodles of effort from the Saints in both attack and defence with the usual suspects of Alex Eckley, Jorge Lewtas and Callum Hazzard to the fore.

With 15 minutes left Kev Brown was denied a try as the he was adjudged to have made a double movement.

The final 10 minutes showed the Saints steel in defence as Matty Foster, Brandon O’Neill and Kev brown combined to hold the hosts up over the line. And on the next tackle Cam Brown forced a knock on.

Confidence was high at the break with the players determined to put the hosts under even more pressure. They had a chance straight away as Hazzards’ kick off was taken into touch but were unable to force a repeat set.

Four minutes later a Saints knock on at the halfway line was punished three tackles later.

The kick off was again taken into touch and this time the Saints managed to take advantage pulling level.

All through the first half the Saints had tried to get the ball to Josh Simm in a position for him to run at the defence but without success. This time he took it onto himself scooting from dummy half 10 metres out showing his power by taking three players over with him. The scores were levelled by a fabulous touchline conversion from Welsby.

Unfortunately a knock on from the first hit up saw the home side back into the lead almost immediately.

The game breaker came as the home side scored on the next set again in the left corner.

A late hit on Jack Welsby followed by a scuffle started by the home side’s Captain gave the Saints field position to hit back with the try of the game.

On the restart Ryan Horne went left to Welsby who fed Matty Foster running a peach of a line through a massive hole in the defensive line. He thought about trying to go for the line himself but showed great maturity in waiting for Cal Hazzard to steam up on the inside and strolled under the sticks.

The home side then showed us yet more of their questionable tackling as Kye Siyani was first hit by a shoulder charge and then, having ridden it very well, was hit by a head high tackle. The ensuing brawl again went unpunished with all players staying on the pitch.

The lead was pushed out to eight points as the Saints were penalised for holding down and then to 14 as Foster was beaten by dummy.

You couldn’t fault the Saints for their effort though epitomised by Sean Croston and John Hutchings chasing back 50 metres to deny another try.

Two minutes later and that effort was rewarded as Cam Brown went over in the right corner. After yet another penalty for foul play Foster and Lewtas were both held short before Ryan Horne’s pass gave Brown space to spin his way over.

Hazzard’s quick touchline conversion went over but the time had run out for the Saints.

Chris Follin, Sam Royle and Joe Sharratt’s efforts along with their pack colleagues gave the Saints every chance but poor ball control meant the Saints were always up against it.

But this was chalk and cheese compared to last week and the same effort will guarantee happier days in the future.

Match Summary:

Wigan U19s:
Tries: Sam Grant (44), Reece Hamlett (51 & 53), Harry Smith (67).
Goals: Harry Smith 5 from 5.

Saints U19s:
Tries: Josh Simm (47), Callum Hazzard (57), Cameron Brown (77).
Goals: Jack Welsby 1 from 1, Callum Hazzard 2 from 2.

Half Time: 0-0
Full Time: 26-18


1. Callum Green; 2. Sam Halsall, 4. Jake Sculthorpe, 3. Sam Grant, 5. Reece Hamlett; 6. James Barran, 7. Harry Smith; 8. Oliver Partington, 9. Aiden Roden, 10. Joseph Havard, 11. James McDonnell, 12. Morgan Smithies, 19. Joe Shorrocks.
Subs: 14. Max Roberts, 15. Declan O’Donnell, 16. Liam Byrne, 17. Nathan Wilde.

22. Kev Brown; 5. John Hutchings, 21. Cameron Brown, 4. Josh Simm, 2. Sean Croston; 6. Jack Welsby, 7. Ryan Horne; 8. Alex Eckley (C), 9. Jake Wingfield, 10. Jorge Lewtas, 11. Chris Follin, 12. Sam Royle. 13. Callum Hazzard.
Subs: 14. Brandon O’Neill, 15. Matty Foster, 16. Kye Siyani, 19. Joe Sharratt.

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