U19s secure fourth with victory over Saints
St Helens u19s 22 - Warrington Wolves u19s 30
By Dave Whalley (photo courtesy of Bob Brough)
Warrington Wolves produced a stunning second half performance to defeat St Helens in the Under 19s Academy at Langtree Park on Friday evening to secure fourth place in the league table going into the play-off games.
The Wolves got off to a nightmare start as they trailed by twelve points after just five minutes but the collective will to win from every single player ensured that they would bounce back from that early setback to defeat the home side and record a league ‘double' over their arch rivals.
St Helens opened the scoring in the second minute when a smart kick to the corner by hooker Dominic Speakman saw winger Lewis Galbraith collect and score on the right. Stand off Lewis Charnock converted and then three minutes later a 40/20 by scrum half Danny Yates gave his side a scrum deep in the Wolves half; a short ball from Speakman found prop forward Chris Webster who powered over under the posts to give Charnock a simple conversion.
The Wolves hit back on ten minutes when a jinking run by French stand off Louis Jouffret put them close to the Saints line and a quick play the ball saw hooker Andy Ackers dart from dummy half to find prop forward Daniel Murray who brushed off the Saints full back Adam Saunders to score on the left. Winger Scott Turner converted but then Saints responded when second row Connor Dwyer took the ball to the Wolves line on the last tackle and managed to stand up and offload to Saunders who scored on the right. Charnock added the conversion.
Eight minutes before the break a lovely high kick to the corner by Wolves scrum half Declan Patton was plucked superbly out of the sky by centre Will Milner. He managed to find Turner who came back inside to score on the right to make the half time score 18-10 to the Saints.
The Wolves got off to a perfect start in the second half when Turner managed to get the ball dead in-goal from the kick off and from the drop out the Wolves moved the ball close to the Saints line that allowed Patton to find second row Joe Philbin running at speed with a bullet pass to score under the posts. Turner converted to reduce the deficit to just two points and six minutes later Patton ran the ball himself from close to the line and stepped round three defenders to score wide out on the right. Turner added the conversion to give his side a four point lead.
The next twenty five minutes was a real war of attrition as both sides gave their all in a bruising contest but some solid defence from both sides meant that the scoreboard stayed untroubled until the Wolves managed to break the Saints defence when great hands from Patton, Jouffret and full back James Saltonstall saw the ball spread the width of the field and impressive centre Toby King capped a Man of the Match performance by forcing his way over in the left corner to give the Wolves an eight point cushion.
The Wolves made the game safe two minutes from time when a kick by Patton into the corner was fumbled by Saints and Turner pounced on the loose ball to score in the right corner. St Helens gained a consolation try in the last minute when substitute Joe Ryan went over on the right but it was too little too late as the young Wolves celebrated a richly deserved 30-22 victory.
After the game Wolves first team coach Richard Marshall said: "That was a really impressive performance from the lads, especially in the second half. The journey that they have come through this year is unbelievable and to see where they are now from where they were at the beginning of the season is amazing and everybody involved deserves great credit for that. They have also come through a bit of adversity over the past couple of weeks but they have really knuckled down and worked hard. The skill that they showed proved what quality we have in our ranks and this will hopefully bode well for the play-off games coming up.
"Toby King had a brilliant game in the centre, he was very elusive and strong in attack but he also did a lot of important defensive work that kept Saints at bay on numerous occasions. He was very well supported by all of his teammates as they collectively showed how important it was for them to finish the regular league season on a high having won twelve of the last thirteen games."
Having secured fourth place, the Wolves will be at home to fifth place Huddersfield Giants this coming week. The game will take place at Wilderspool Stadium with the day and kick off time to be confirmed on Monday. St Helens finished third ahead of the Wolves on points difference and they will face sixth place Hull FC. Wigan Warriors finished top and will entertain second placed Leeds Rhinos in two weeks time.
Adam Saunders, Lewis Galbraith, Matty Fleming, Jack Ashworth, Ben Parry, Lewis Charnock, Danny Yates, Greg Richards, Dominic Speakman, Chris Webster, Olly Davies, Connor Dwyer, James Tilley.
Subs: Matty Fozzard, Adam Hesketh, Alex Clare, Joe Ryan.
Tries: Galbraith (2 mins), Webster (5), Saunders (24), Ryan (80).
Goals: Charnock 3 from 4
James Saltonstall, Scott Turner, Will Milner, Toby King, Jake Eccleston, Louis Jouffret, Declan Patton, Gavin Bennion, Andy Ackers, Daniel Murray, Jacque Peet, Joe Philbin, Ryan Maneely.
Subs: Sean Kenny, Sam Wilde, Robert Holroyd, Tom Walker.
Tries: Murray (10 mins), Turner (32, 78), Philbin (41), Patton (47), King (73).
Goals: Turner 3 from 6
Game pictures below courtesy of Bob Brough
31, Aug, 2013