Wakefield Trinity v Saints
This was one of those games that could and should have been dead and buried by half time. But as it was the Saints spent the last five minutes and especially the last 90 seconds hanging on for dear life to claim a 26-20 win, writes Graham Henthorne.
The Wildcats started brightly and it was down to custodian Tom Nisbett pushing the home left winger into touch in the act of scoring that prevented the opening score.
That honour was left to Josh Simm. A Jack Welsby last tackle grubber was turned into a repeat set courtesy of John Hutchings’ chase and tackle pushing the full-back back into his in goal.
Three tackles into the restart and an offload from Matty Foster to Welsby saw the stand-off put Simm away into the left corner.
Welsby then saved another try holding the attacker up over the line before the Saints bombed a try.
A fine 40 metre break from Callum Hazzard, whose pace down the middle troubled the Wildcats all evening, was supported by his prop partner Alex Eckley. He shipped the ball onto Chris Follin who was finally tackled. From the play the ball Matty Foster chose to go it alone when the pass out wide would have seen Simm in for his second.
As is often the case, the home side gained encouragement and when the winger caught Sean Croston napping from the play the ball on the last, the Saints found themselves behind again.
The Saints had made easy yards down the middle all through the first half. It was highlighted at the break to couple this with quick play the balls and take the Wildcats on in this fashion.
A harsh penalty in possession saw the Saints under the pump straight away but a great defensive set kept the line intact and six tackles later the Saints had regained the lead.
Good work from Jorge Lewtas and Sam Royle put the Saints deep into home territory and on the last Welsby ran it finding Foster who took three people over the line with him.
From the restart the Saints again marched downfield and fine tackling by Welsby from his own last tackle grubber forced the full-back into touch.
The Saints were in the ascendancy forcing error after error and increased their lead with a bit of Welsby magic.
From a scrum 30 metres out Lewtas and Chris Kellett drives set the scene but a poor pass to Welsby saw the stand-off nearly collared. He twisted out of the grasp of the defender before stepping his way past five others to stroll over. In fact the goal post came closest to stopping him scoring.
The home side conceded another penalty on the restart giving Welsby the opportunity to kick deep into their half. Three tackles later another poor pass was mopped up this time by Nisbett who stopped dead in his tracks mesmerising the defence before curving wide to the right and finding Cameron Brown angling back inside to go over.
Nisbett then saved another try chasing back to deny the Wildcats after a loose pass had been scooped up on half way.
But the full back was fooled by the bounce of the ball from a Wildcat chip on the last bringing the home side within 10.
Simm scored his brace chasing down a delightful Welsby stabbed kick to the corner and this should have put the game well and truly to bed.
However, two tries in the final five minutes saw the home side flinging the ball around with glee looking to draw level only to be denied by a forward pass on the whistle.
As has been intimated this was not the best display by the Saints. It may have been due to a reaction to the win over Leeds last Friday but standards will have to improve before the big derby next Saturday.
The speed of Callum Hazzard down the middle was complemented by some bullocking runs out of defence from John Hutchings. Josh Simm and Chris Follin continue to impress but the pick of the bunch was the blossoming talent that is Jack Welsby.
Tries: Nico Devittoris (22), Harry Hiddleston (67), Oliver Greensmith (75), Jack Croft (79).
Goals: Tom Schofield 2 from 4.
Tries: Josh Simm (11 & 71), Matty Foster (42), Jack Welsby (55), Cameron Brown (58).
Goals: Callum Hazzard 0 from 1, Josh Simm 3 from 4.
Half Time: 6-4
Full Time: 20-26
1. Owen Hughes; 5. Lee Kershaw, 4. Oliver Greensmith, 3. Jack Croft, 2. Nico Devittoris; 6. Tom Ashen, 7. Tom Schofield; 8. Tendai Gwaze, 9. Lewis Teale, 10. Jacob Jones, 11. Nathan Newbound, 12. Harry Dodd, 13. Yusuf Aydin.
Subs: 14. Harry Hiddleston, 15. Todd Bethell, 16. Aaron York, 17. Jordan Schofield.
1. Tom Nisbett; 2. Sean Croston, 3. Cameron Brown, 4. Josh Simm, 5. John Hutchings; 6. Jack Welsby, 7. Elliott Jenkins; 8. Alex Eckley (C), 9. Jake Wingfield, 10. Callum Hazzard, 11. Matty Foster, 12. Sam Royle, 13. Chris Follin.
Subs: 14. Brandon O’Neill, 15. Joe Sharratt, 16. Chris Kellett, 17. Jorge Lewtas.
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