Almost a year ago now the Saints came to the same venue on a similar dank, misty, cold Thursday night and were beaten. Well what a difference a year makes!

This year’s crop of Saints youngsters gave the Bulls a taste of their own medicine as they refused to give way down the middle constantly beating their bigger opponents at their own game.

The tone was set in the first tackle of the game as Jamie Pye and friends forced a knock on from the kick off.

Tom Nisbett had the honour of opening the Saints account for this season proper as he finished off a sweeping left to right move taking Josh Simm’s back of the hand pass to go over in the corner.

A mix up from the kick off allowed the Bulls to take possession forcing the Saints to defend their own line. This they did with speed and vigour getting off the line and into the faces of the Bulls.

The lead was increased from a scrum on the Bulls 40 given for a knock on again brought about by the Saints ferocious tackling.

Jos Simm took the ball at first receiver running to the right before passing inside to Nisbett who fed Jack Welsby. The full back then went on a trademark mazy run before dummying his way over in the corner.

The Saints were denied a third try when Lewis Dodd’s effort was ruled out for crossing. Somewhere?!
As the half wore on the Saints were guilty of giving possession away to the home side and on the half hour they pulled a try back with their big prop charging onto a pass 2 metres from the line.

This game could have gone the way of last years with the Bulls growing in confidence but the Saints didn’t allow that to happen this time.

Nisbett was denied a second as the final pass to him from Simm was intercepted after Ryan Horne and Sam Royle had worked the opening.

Minutes later and Simm did increase the lead as his quick thinking saw him take a quick tap penalty to himself spotting the lazy Bulls defenders. Third time lucky for Dodd as he managed to convert from the touchline.

The call at the break was that the next 10 minutes were going to be crucial in keeping the Bulls out.

Well the Saints certainly did that scoring twice and having a try ruled out for a questionable obstruction.

The impressive Nico Rizzelli opened his account in the red vee four minutes in. Welsby started it picking up a loos pass on his own, weaving his way towards the right and putting Simm away. He went 60 metres only to be caught on the line but a quick play the ball put Rizzelli in.

The next set saw Dodd take the line on down the middle breaking through and outpacing the cover to the left corner.

The game was effectively put out of reach of the home side 13 minutes in as another weaving run from Welsby allowed Dodd to put Rizzelli in for his second.

The Saints defensive effort was summed up in two tackles on the hour. The Saints were facing their second set in succession on their own line when the Bulls prop again charged onto a pass expecting to score again.

But he had reckoned without Matty Foster who, despite giving away pounds, stopped the prop in his tracks saving a try.

Not content with that but he only went and did it again two minutes later. The Saints put the icing on the cake with Nisbett’s second try coming from Sam Royle’s run and Welsby’s neat grubber.

The Bulls grabbed a late consolation but couldn’t take the gloss off a magnificent defensive display from all 17 players.

The pack led from the front putting their bodies on the line. There were good debuts from Rizzelli and Warren Smith with Josh Simm out wide.

But the person who tormented the Bulls players all night as they tried, mostly in vain, to touch him let alone tackle him was Jack Welsby who was at his mercurial best.

Match Summary:

Bradford Bulls U19s:

Tries: Oliver Wilson (29), Daniel McGrath (78).
Goals: Joe Stirk 1 from 2.

Saints U19s:

Tries: Tom Nisbett (4), Jack Welsby (14), Josh Simm (35, 68), Nico Rizzelli (44 & 53), Lewis Dodd (46), Goals: Lewis Dodd 1 from 6, Josh Simm 1 from 1.

Half Time: 4-14
Full Time: 10-32


1. Joe Stirk; 2. Murphy Smith, 4. Ryan Leadbeater, 3. Ryan Butterworth, 5. Daniel McGrath; 6. Luke Littlewood, 7. Harry Shackleton; 8. Oliver Wilson, 9. Lochlan McGill, 10. Keelan Foster, 11. Bradley Gallagher, 12. Ethan O’Hanlon, 13. Ethan O’Hanlon
Subs: 14. Cameron Berry, 15. Kieran Brining, 16. Anesu Mudoti, 17. Bradley Ho.

1. Jack Welsby; 5. Tom Nisbett, 3. Josh Simm, 4. Nico Rizzelli, 2. John Hutchings; 6. Ryan Horne, 7. Lewis Dodd; 8. Jamie Pye, 9. Paul Nash, 10. Kye Siyani, 11. Matty Foster, 12. Sam Royle. 13. Jake Wingfield.
Subs: 14. Harvey McDaid, 15.Lewis Baxter, 16. Harry Brooks, 17. Warren Smith.

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