U19s hard-fought comeback defeats Wildcats
Wakefield Wildcats U19s 30 Warrington Wolves U19s 36
By Dave Whalley
Warrington Wolves produced a sterling late comeback to earn a very hard fought victory at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in the Under 19s Academy at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats looked as though they had done enough to gain the win after building up a fourteen point lead with only eleven minutes remaining but the never-say-die attitude of the young Wolves saw them score four tries to gain a thrilling success.
A mistake from the kick off by Wakefield saw them kick the ball dead and the penalty put the Wolves deep inside their opponents half. A couple of good drives set up scrum half Declan Patton and he found second row Joe Philbin running a great line to motor through a gap and score at the left of the posts. Stand off Jimmy Rowland added the conversion but twelve minutes later a handling error by the Wolves on their own thirty metre line saw Wildcats winger Tom Johnstone pounce on the loose ball. He raced away to score at the left of the posts. Scrum half Josh Kittrick converted to level the scores.
Wakefield took the lead for the first time just after the midway point of the half when a sixty metre break down the left by centre Tom Rogers split the Wolves defence and he found stand off Scott Lee in support score under the posts. Kittrick goaled but almost immediately the Wolves responded when a lovely short offload close to the line from prop forward Gavin Bennion put substitute Tom Walker over at the side of the posts and Rowland drew his side level with the goal points.
The Wolves scored again two minutes before the break when a great run from dummy half by substitute Daniel Hirst put them close to the Wildcats line and after two quick play the balls Hirst went on his own again on the last tackle and scored wide out to give the Wolves a narrow 16-12 half time advantage.
Three back-to-back penalties for the Wildcats right at the start of the second half put them close to the Wolves line and substitute Daniel Maskill went from dummy half to score at the side of the posts; Kittrick converted and then straight from the restart good work down the left by Lee saw him send Johnstone on a fifty metre run to outpace the chasing defenders and score in the corner.
The home side stretched their lead on fifty six minutes when a kick to the corner by Lee evaded the Wolves defence and Johnstone was the quickest to react and he pounced to score his hat trick wide out on the left. Then just after the hour mark the Wildcats ran the ball on the last tackle and some swift passing saw winger Curtis Macdonald score in the right corner to make the score 30-16.
The Wolves refused to lie down and a great 40/20 by Patton gave them a scrum deep in the Wildcats half and from that the ball reached centre James Saltonstall who put substitute Will Milner over in the right corner and then Bennion made a great fifty metre break from the restart that put the Wolves on the front foot; a couple of quick plays created space out wide for Philbin to score on the right. Rowland converted the latter to reduce the deficit to just four points.
Further pressure on the Wakefield line was rewarded when hooker Ryan Maneely went from dummy half and burrowed his way over to level the scores. Rowland converted to put the Wolves ahead and then in the final minute a brilliant offload from prop forward Micky Learmonth found Rowland who brushed off an attempted tackle and used his pace to race over on the left and complete a great comeback and give the Wolves an absorbing 36-30 victory.
After the game Wolves Under 19s head coach Danny Fullerton said: "Our togetherness as a squad saw us battle back into the game late on and the players were rewarded for this by gaining the win. We were not at our best with the ball in hand and these errors allowed Wakefield to get some good field position and although our defensive work was strong on the whole, a few lapses in concentration allowed them to score some soft tries. The positive thing for me was the way the lads never let their heads go down and it was a complete team effort that saw us home.
"Joe Philbin did the full eighty minutes in the back row and was a constant thorn in the Wildcats defence; Danny Hirst was very lively from dummy half and changed the game when he came on to the field for both of his stints and Andy Ackers was outstanding at loose forward, working really hard throughout in both attack and defence. We now have a week off and that will give us time to work on a few areas and get ready for next game at home to Bradford Bulls."
Mathew Cook, Curtis Macdonald, Sam Doherty, Tom Rogers, Tom Johnstone, Scott Lee, Josh Kittrick, Ben Shulver, Josh Murphy, James Healy, Brad Day, Jack Walton, Corbyn Kilday.
Subs: Daniel Maskill, Jack Teanby, Luke Metcalfe, Jack Anderson.
Tries: Johnstone (14 mins, 44, 56), Lee (22), Maskill (42), Macdonald (62).
Goals: Kittrick 3 from 6
Scott Turner, Marcus Elliott, James Saltonstall, Toby King, Jake Eccleston, Jimmy Rowland, Declan Patton, Gavin Bennion, Ryan Maneely, Micky Learmonth, Sam Wilde, Joe Philbin, Andy Ackers.
Subs: Daniel Hirst, Will Milner, Tom Walker, Daniel Murray.
Tries: Philbin (2 mins, 71), Walker (25), Hirst (38), Milner (69), Maneely (76), Rowland (80).
Goals: Rowland 4 from 7
14, Apr, 2013