U16s season underway
Warrington Wolves U16s 18 - Bradford Bulls U16s 30
By Steve Phillips
The start of spring saw the first match for the new Wolves Academy u16s team played out in front of a packed Wilderspool on a bright but cold Saturday afternoon, 30th March.
There were 11 players tasting Academy rugby for the first time against an older more experienced Bradford side. The team played well and were only two points behind at half-time but were unable to add to their score in the second half. However they continued to battle hard until the final whistle. Try scorers were Danny Norman, Jack Hansen and Brad Stanway; Brad also kicked three from three conversions.
Bradford scored the first try after just three minutes on the clock; they kicked on the last tackle and the ball wasn't taken cleanly by the Wolves defence. Jamie Kerr was the quickest to react and was able to dive on the bouncing ball to ensure Bradford took an early lead. Kerr then kicked for the extra two points but was unsuccessful with his attempt.
The Wolves didn't let this put them off their game and took the lead on the nine-minute mark. Bradford were penalised for a late tackle on Jack Hansen after he had kicked on the last, resulting in a Wolves scrum on the Bradford 10m line. They drove forward and from the next play the ball Brad Stanway was on hand to dive over from close range to score the Wolves first try of the season! He then easily converted his own try to move the Wolves in front 6-4.
Bradford used their experience to score two quick tries down their right hand side with James Tetlow scoring both. The first had an element of luck, as an intended pass went to ground, but it was Bradford again who reacted with Ross Oakes collecting the ball and putting Tetlow in at the corner. Bradford scored again from the resulting kick-off, moving the play to the right hand edge with the centre drawing the oncoming defender before passing to his winger Tetlow to score. Kerr was only able to convert one of the chances, but this pushed the score out to 6-14 after 20 minutes.
The young Wolves then showed that they were more than a match for Bradford by scoring two tries of their own. Wolves were making Bradford defend hard and after the Wolves nearly scored in the corner they were awarded a penalty for a high-shot. Declan Kay and Niall Andrews both produced great runs and put Bradford on the back foot; Jack Hansen took full advance of a retreating Bradford defence by scooting over from dummy half. With him scoring under the posts Brad Stanway was able to convert.
Again it was more Wolves pressure that forced Bradford into a mistake by knocking on. Morgan Nicholas collected the ball from the base of the scrum and drove towards the line; he was stopped but Danny Norman continued the momentum and scored just to the left of the posts. Again Stanway was able to convert and the Wolves were now 18-14 up.
Bradford scored the final points in the half on 31 minutes when they were awarded a penalty and Jake Hrintchuk pushed for the line. He was able to offload to Michael Paul; the Wolves defence looked to have him wrapped up but a clash of heads between the Wolves players gave him the room to drive over and score. Kerr was able to convert and Bradford went in at the end of the half 18-20 up.
The second half started with a number of minor mistakes from both sides and it took a little while for both teams to settle down. However Bradford ensured they extended their lead with a try in the 44th minute. Great Wolves defence meant that Joel Pearson was held up over the line; the referee took them back to the 10m line and from there Bradford passed the ball quickly along the line to their left. The Wire defence wasn't able to track across quite fast enough and Kerr went in for his second try of the match, but wasn't able to add the extra points.
Harry Godfrey scored Bradford's next try after good work by Michael Paul and Matthew Dyson up the centre; the ball was then passed to Joe Pearson who moved the ball inside and Godfrey was able to find a gap in the Wolves defence to score. Kerr converted the kick to make the score 18-30 on 50 minutes.
The Wolves however continued to fight; Declan Kay and Jack Fox combined well but the ball was knocked on just on the Bradford line. Wolves then forced Bradford to drop out from under their posts, with Stanway scoring but it was judged to have been a double movement. Shortly after, Kay had to be taken from the field of play with an ankle injury. As players tired towards the end of the match there were a few more mistakes, but a great passage of play down the Wolves left so nearly resulted in a score with Stanway held up just short. The referee blew his whistle for full time shortly afterwards with the final score of 18-30 to the Bradford Bulls.
Ben Povey, Wolves' u16s coach, said: "I am very proud of my lads. We put out a mixed age group side against a very big and physical Bradford team. We played some lovely rugby and showed some gargantuan efforts in defence. We were in the game and I feel we had the skill and determination to achieve a win. The story of the game, however, was the amount of ball we gifted to a very strong and hungry team. You cannot afford to give a team like that so many chances and, in the end, the amount of defence required allowed Bradford to see the game out. We have a lot of positives to take from the game and we will learn from this to ready ourselves for the next challenge against Salford."
Declan Kay, Jack Fox, Matt Boyers, Danny Norman, Corrie Bennie, Harry Swarbrick, Jack Hansen, Alex Whalley, Brad Stanway, George Shaw, James Jones, Morgan Nicholas, Ellis Gillam
Subs: Patrick Melling, Niall Andrews, Alex Green, Josh Whittham Patrick Moran
Tries: Brad Stanway, Jack Hanson, Danny Norman
Goals: Brad Stanway - 3 from 3
Matthew Dyson, James Tetlow, Ross Oakes, Jamie Kerr, James Pickering, Alex Greenwood-MacDonald, Harry Godfrey, Faham Shahzad, Reece Bradshaw, Liam Kirk, Isaac Riley, Karl Cassar, Jake Hrintchuk
Subs: Callum Ogden, Conner MacCallum, Michael Paul, Joel Pearson, Ellis Akhurst
Tries: James Tetlow x 2, Jamie Kerr x 2, Harry Godfrey, Michael Paul
Goals: Jamie Kerr - 3 from 6
04, Apr, 2013