U19S THROUGH TO SEMI-FINALS
Just one week after being on the receiving end of a heavy defeat, a much more representative U19s side returned to Leeds, to administer a drubbing of their own and make their way into the hat for the semi-final draw.
With the inclusion of several senior players who had been unavailable the week before, the Red Devils travelled over to Yorkshire, on Wednesday, in a most determined frame of mind, with just the right attitude needed to win crucial games. Running in a total of seven tries, six of which were converted by the on-form Josh Stafford, the standard of rugby, which they produced to do so, speaks for itself.
Barely four minutes had passed before the visitors had taken command of the situation, with forward, Will Toone, powering his way over between the posts, from close range. The simple goal kick enabled Josh Stafford to get his eye in, in readiness for the remainder of the match.
Indeed, it was Stafford himself, who, within a couple of minutes, was next on the scoresheet when he finished off an excellent move, instigated by halfbacks, Jack Stevens and Callum Hughes, by crossing in the left hand corner, and he celebrated the occasion by landing the goal from the touchline.
Fifteen minutes later, Salford had gone three straight scores ahead, following more slick passing along the line, this time from left to right and enabling winger, Connor Law, to get over in that corner. Once again, Josh Stafford was equal to the task of converting from the touchline, and not only did these two difficult kicks put the team further ahead than they would otherwise have been, just seeing the ball sailing over the crossbar gave all our players a considerable lift. The effect on the opposition will have been quite the opposite.
Like all teams in the Leeds setup, their hosts were not going to roll over and capitulate, and they took advantage with a try, of some slight lack of concentration, shortly before the interval, which the Red Devils should have eradicated before the end of the half, but fluffed the opportunity, in uncharacteristic style.
As a consequence, the half time discussion was rather more pointed than might otherwise have been expected, as coach, Danny Barton, demanded their immediate return to full concentration, and their application towards finishing the task. His charges responded admirably, and within minutes had restored their three score advantage, when Connor Aspey atoned for his involvement in the previous mix up by supporting a break, and scoring to the right of the posts to take the score, with the kick, to 4-24.
Second rower, Michael Los, was next to score, as a result of his strong run, for a converted try, but which was matched by a similar one from Leeds. 10-30
Not to be outdone, Los notched his brace by going over for the one unconverted Salford try of the afternoon, though Leeds, yet again hit back with a six-pointer of their own. 10-34.
With some justice, however, the last word went to the Red Devils, via left winger, Nathan Connell.
Despite the terseness of his half time motivational comments, Danny Barton was understandably full of pride at his team’s achievement:
“They are a really good group of lads and they fully deserved their win. We had looked at the areas where we felt we could win it, and they put everything we had identified into practice. Their attitude from the very start was exemplary, and we just need to see that again next week in their league game. as we build towards the semi-final, at Halifax, on 25th March.”
Josh Stafford, Nathan Connell, Luis Roberts, Clifford Howard, Connor Law, Jack Stevens, Callum Hughes, Sam Eyres, Connor Aspey, Will Toone, Michal Los, Ben Wharton, Harvey Hulmes
Pat Johnson, Morgan Kelly, Josh Henry, Tom Hunter, Charlie McManus