The Saints Academy end season with victory over Newcastle Thunder
Author : St. Helens Saints Media
They say you should always go out on a high and that just what the Saints Academy did in this strangely truncated season with a ten try victory over Newcastle Thunder in the North East.
The tone was set in the first three tackles of the game as Cole Appleby sat one prop unceremoniously on his backside and then two tackles later hit the other one so hard, he went off clutching his sternum, never to return.
The Saints got a repeat set and Thunder thought they’d got things covered as the Saints Academy went away from Appleby to George Delaney. That was until he charged at the defensive line scattering players on his way through before calmly committing the fullback and putting McKenzie Buckley in at the corner.
It had taken the Thunder four sets to hang on to the ball for more than one pass but it still took them ten more minutes before they stretched the lead.
Harry Brooks and a Taylor Pemberton half break put the Saints clear before quick hands to the right saw Alfie Whittle over in the corner.
On quarter time it was again Pemberton who took full advantage off some great drives with quick play the balls to dart away. He fed Daniel Moss who took the ball on, weaving first one way then the other turning the fullback in and out before passing inside to the supporting Jonathon Bennison to go the final 20 to the posts.
From the kick off the same old errors crept in as the Saints knocked on at first tackle.
The Thunder took full advantage spreading the ball left and going in at the corner.
On the half hour the Saints effectively put the game to bed with Ben Lane stretching out to touch down after Bennison’s high last tackle kick had been spilled.
The final act of the half saw Kal Devine get his just desserts for some fine recent displays with a try under the posts. Good drives from Buckley and Bardyel Wells were stopped at the line. From the play the ball Pemberton’s shoot ball was taken in a swallow dive by Devine for his second of the season.
The home side held out for the first ten minutes of the half with Bardyel Wells going close for the Saints. But as soon as Alfie Pyke had pulled off a miraculous try saving tackle the fight went out of the Thunder and the Saints scored three back-to-back tries.
The first came after a delightful grubber from Bennison in behind the line was chased and touched down by Sam Haynes.
The second saw Saints go right to substitute winger Keane Gilford who neatly stepped inside the cover to score.
The third, on the hour mark, came as the defence opened up to allow Appleby an easy score under the posts.
With 15 minutes to go, Shay Martyn got his name in the tries column as he showed he’s not just a kicker but can actually shift as a winger. He caught a good high kick on his line before sprinting 95 metres to score outpacing the cover after expertly standing up the fullback to give himself space.
With ten minutes to go Alfie Pyke score the Saints final try running a great line before stepping inside the statuesque defensive line.
The Saints again fielded a young line up but as the season has gone on the players have grown in confidence and stature and coped admirably well with both the long journey and their responsibilities on the field.
Those moving on to the Reserves next year will benefit from training and playing with older more experienced players.
Those playing in the U18’s as it will be next year will have benefitted from this year playing above their age group and will be bolstered by a really exciting group of players from this year’s Scholarship program.
The future is bright as always for the Red Vee.
[A big thank you to Graham Henthorne who has signed off with this final match report!]
Newcastle Thunder U19’s:
Team: Alex Donaghy; Matthew Parkes, Isaac Nokes, Thomas Moore, William Groves; Oliver Bibby, Eliot Shaw; Ryan Crossley, Todd Wilkinson (C), Jack Skelton, Noel Branthwaite, Matthew Kehoe, Henry Bowler.
Interchanges: Ben Jardine, Oliver Redding, William Lintin, Oliver Shaw.
Tries: Isaac Nokes (24).
Goals: Noel Branthwaite 0 from 1.
Saints Academy U19’s:
Team: Ben Lane, Alfie Whittle, McKenzie Buckley, Ellis Keppel, Shay Martyn; Jonathan Bennison, Daniel Moss; Cole Appleby, Taylor Pemberton (C), George Delaney, Alfie Pyke, Reece Sumner, Eliot Peposhi.
Interchanges: Ethan Bradbury, Kalan Devine, Harry Brooks, Desmond Appiah-Kubi, Bardyel Wells, Keane Gilford, Sam Haynes.
Tries: McKenzie Buckley (3), Alfie Whittle (13), Jonathan Bennison (19), Ben Lane (29), Kalan Devine (37), Sam Haynes (51), Keane Gilford (55), Cole Appleby (59), Shay Martyn (65), Alfie Pyke (70).
Goals: Shay Martyn 8 from 10.