U19’s Match Report: Ever Improving Thunder Run Saints Close

There aren’t many more difficult fixtures in academy rugby league than facing St Helens.  Newcastle Thunder Under 19’s welcomed St Helen’s Under 19’s to Kingston Park on Sunday for their latest Super League Academy fixture, prior to Thunder’s first team’s impressive victory over Hunslet Hawks, in what turned out to be a keenly contested fixture which Thunder had opportunities to win.

Connor Beswick @ Kingston Park Stadium

A physical and quick encounter from the beginning, it was St Helens who opened the scoring after some slick passing moved the ball across Newcastle’s left edge before the Saints winger did brilliantly to acrobatically score in the corner under pressure.

Saints were next on the scoreboard as they showed how clinical they can be – exposing the slightest lapse in concentration in defence to score.

Not deterred by going behind Thunder continuing to throw the ball around and looked threatening in attack.  Having created space down their right edge and not being able to score in the corner, from the resulting scrum it was Anthony Dyne who broke through the Saints defensive line following a smart ‘no-look’ pass from Dan Coates, Coates converting to take the scores to 6-10.

Thunder looked the more threatening side and continued to chance their arm, just being unable to make the most of a break down their left edge which was pulled back for a forward pass. Saints again scored following some good work by their impressive fullback to give them a 10 point lead, 6-16.

Jack Quinn then pulled Thunder closer with a fine solo effort from a scrum, showing some great footwork and a turn of pace to score from 30m out having sidestepped the oncoming Saints defender.

The try was again converted by Coates making it 12-16.  Saints scored the final try of the half, one which Thunder were disappointed with, following a penalty Saints were able to power over from close range to restore their 10 point lead.

Half-time:  Newcastle Thunder U19 12-22 St Helens U19.

It was Thunder who came out the second half again looking like the dominant side.  Making some good metres with the ball and playing quick Ryan Jones tried to squeeze his way over the line when he spotted a gap only to be tackled just short.

From his quick play the ball, Cai Ellis was able to twist and turn his way over the line for a try, converted again by Coates to bring thunder within 4 points.

Following a keenly contest passage of play, it was Saints who went on to take a real foothold in the game – two tries in 4 minutes from close range saw them extend their lead to 18-34.

Undeterred again, Thunder hit back with two further tries either side of another Saints score.  Callum Kennedy scoring both following some good interplay with Anthony Dyne before Dan Coates’ long pass allowed Kennedy to cross in the corner.

Final Score:  Newcastle Thunder U19 28-40 St Helens U19.

Whilst disappointed with the final scoreline, the game certainly demonstrates the improvement being made by Thunder U19 who in the past have been on the end of some big sscorelines against St Helens teams.

Next up is a visit to Wakefield Trinity on Saturday (14:00).