U19S HANG ON FOR AWAY WIN
The Black contingent of our U19s squad made it back-to-back wins, in 2020, in a close hard-fought victory, away at near neighbours, Wigan & Leigh. Having dominated the game for the first fifty minutes, and opening up a 22-6 lead early in the second half, their opponents got themselves back into the game, and indeed took the upper hand, as they started to whittle away at the points deficit, to draw to within one score only, on three occasions.
Fortunately, the Red Devils still had sufficient wherewithal to add a couple of further tries of their own, to maintain that all important gap between themselves and their resurgent hosts.
While the two sides appeared to be fairly evenly matched at the outset, it was the Red Devils who gradually started to take control, and, despite playing the first half into a strong wind, gradually got the better field position, with Wigan & Leigh having to defend their line more and more. Indeed, the visitors were unfortunate not to open the scoring on ten minutes, when good hands forced an overlap for right winger, Ben Gore, to streak away.
As the cover came across, he attempted an inside pas, which unfortunately went to ground and bounced around too muchnfor supporting halfback, Jack Stevens, to take full control of, as he tried to grasp it and plant it over the line.
The Red Devils were not to be outdone, however, and five minutes later were able to make their good field position, and patient pressure, pay, when centre, Clifford Howard, took the ball at dummy half, and then dummied his away over the line for the first try.
It was another fifteen minutes before Salford were able to extend the lead further, but they did so by magnificently turning defence into attack. It started with a twenty-metre tap from which the Salford forwards steam-rollered their way down field. The tricky end-of-set kick brought them a scrum from the knock on, and from this they moved the ball out to left winger, Ben Whiteley, who went in at the corner, to double the score to 0-8.
Moments later, it appeared as if they would take a quite significant lead into the half time interval , when a storming run, from Tom Hunter, saw him score between the posts and Jack Stevens converted.
They had reckoned without Wigan & Leigh’s never-say-die attitude which was to serve them so well in the second half, and they took advantage of a couple of tired lapses of defensive concentration in the dying moments of the half to register a try and goal of their own, and take the score to 6-14.
Salford started the second half in similar vein to the dominance they had shown in all but the final minute of the first, and within two and a half minutes had scored again from an individual try by Morgan Kelly, followed five minutes later by Josh Henry.
With the score now at 22-6, it looked as though the Red Devils were going to run away with the game, but the energy they had expended in dealing with the power of the Wigan & Leigh forwards was to take its toll, and suddenly the pendulum swung the other way.
It started with a break from close to the home side’s own line which, though stopped on the halfway line, was continued from the play-the-ball, and ended with a try in the left hand corner. A remarkable goal kick, into the strong wind, brought the score to 12-22.
A second try, in the same corner, following some sustained pressure, really underlined the way the game had changed, and with the score at 16-22, the Salford lead was beginning to look somewhat precarious.
The last ten minutes, indeed, was a most nail-biting time, as the two teams took it in turns to score. First Salford extended the lead to ten points with a try by Will Timmins, and then after this had been eradicated and improved upon with the subsequent conversion (22-26), Jamie Shannon concluded the visitors’ account.
The home side it was, however, who had the final say with one further unconverted try.
Coach, Kev Raynor, was most thrilled with his charges’ efforts.
“We were aware as a squad, through previous associations with Wigan & Leigh, that they possessed a big, powerful pack of forwards
“Our middles more than matched them for the most part, ably led by both Captain, Josh Henry, and Vice-Captain, Will Toone. This gave us the platform to play some expansive rugby, orchestrated by half backs, Jack Stevens and Nathan Connell, and to score some quality tries.
“I was very proud of the lads’ attitude and endeavour today. They are coming together as a tightly knit group, and are progressing well, thanks to their commitment in training.”
Morgan Kelly, Ben Gore, Dylan Hartley, Clifford Howard, Ben Whiteley, Nathan Connell, Jack Stevens, William Toone, Owen Turner, Jak Fairbrother, James McKenna, Josh Connelly, Josh Henry
Josh Bentley, Pat Johnson, Harvey Hulmes, Tom Hunter, Ethan McConville, Will Timmins, Jamie Shannon