Salford 42 Leigh & Wigan 42
Salford Red Devils College Academy U19s side opened their second season with an incredibly thrilling draw, which accrued a total of eighty-four points in total. Whilst this was the home side’s first outing together, this year, the joint Leigh/Wigan side had had the benefit of a pre-season friendly, which had been useful in enabling them to gel together in readiness for this first official fixture.
This, however, was offset by the first half dismissal of Brad Whelan, following an altercation with the referee, and the Red Devils were, on occasions, sufficiently adept to exploit their numerical advantage to good effect. They were, nevertheless, left ruing a number of other, scorned chances, which would have brought them victory.
Neither of the coaches will have been overly impressed with the defences, with both sides running in eight tries, and notching five conversions. Salford’s coach, Danny Barton, however, was quite measured in his response, when I spoke to him after the game.
“We have only had three weeks to work together, and defence is one of the more complex aspects of the game,” is his judgement, “so we will just have to look at it in a bit more detail over the coming week.
“There were other elements though which were quite pleasing, not least the effort that the lads put in, though with not having played together before, there were understandably a few technical things which will also need looking at
“The fact that Leigh/Wigan had had a friendly match, last week also showed in their performance, with the chance to eradicate those initial mistakes.”
The missed chances, particularly those mid-way through the second half were full testament to this point of view.
“We also came up with a few unforced errors which did not help, either,” he acknowledges, “but it is a massive learning curve for all the players, but especially for those who don’t play week in, week out, and who are still learning their positions.”
In this context, therefore, Danny did not feel that the loss of a player, even so early on, played a significant part in the outcome.
“Both sides were quite disorganised, and so even had there been two men missing from one side, it wouldn’t have made much difference to the outcome,” he maintains. Certainly, with fewer people on the field one can see how there would then be less bodies getting in each others’ way.
Tries – William Mills, Tom Farr, Dan Goddard, Kane Briggs, Oreofe Animashaun, Jack Schofield, Dane Wakefield, Jack Ratcliffe
Goals – Tom Farr (5)
Man of the Match – William Mills
Next Fixture, Wed 4th Oct, v Cowley College (St Helens) KO 2pm, Venue – Eccles ARLFC