Salford Red Devils’ College Academy 23 Runshaw College 34
Despite turning in their best performance of the season, so far, the Salford Red Devils College Academy succumbed to a much bigger and stronger opposition, which possessed three or four individuals whose strength and power began to prove almost unstoppable, towards the end of the match.
That was far from the situation for around sixty minutes, however, with the Red Devils manfully standing up to each and every one of their opponents, especially when they had them pinned down in the Runshaw half, where the Devils could commit sufficient numbers to the tackle. Once they were defending their own line, however, they were unable to do this, as any one successful offload could, and probably would, have led to a try.
However, with tiredness setting in, and in fact increasing as the game wore on, the physical battle was clearly won by the visitors, and they ran out comfortable winners in the end. The loss of Will Mills, through injury, part way through the first half did not help, as this deprived Salford of possibly their most incisive strike player, until his return in the dying minutes of the game.
Despite the final outcome, coach, Danny Barton, was more than pleased with the significant improvement his charges showed, especially with ball in hand.
“It was a massive improvement for us in most areas,” he enthuses, “and was the best the lads have played, and against one of the best teams in the competition.
“Runshaw just proved a little bit too strong for us in the end, and although we handled it for most of the match, their offload game started to rip us apart. We did really well at the start of the game, getting to the end of our sets, and putting in good kicks. It did keep them penned down in their own half for much of the first forty.
“I am really proud of the effort the lads put in.”
Because they played so well when in possession, the Salford tries were most impressive, coming as they had done the previous week, from slick hands. The most impressive of these was their first, scored by centre, Oreofe Animashaun, who finished off a splendid attacking move, to help put Salford 6-4 ahead, along with Tom Farr’s conversion.
“We have practised wide shots and getting to the edge of teams, and for this one we went from left to right, including a run around, and that gave us the space to get over in the corner,” Danny explains.
“When you practise something in training and it comes off, it is absolutely great.”
Big as their opponents were, in those early stages the Salford lads showed remarkable commitment and resilience in standing up to them i, and this was exemplified by left winger, Ellis Snelgrove, who, as last man standing, pulled off a most remarkable one on one tackle, considering the respective sizes of the two players involved, to prevent a near certain try.
Later in the game, fullback, Jack Ratcliffe, raced back to overtake, and tackle, another seemingly certain scorer, to stop another.
Very sadly, the physicality of the game brought about a slightly early ending to the encounter, when Snelgrove clashed heads with his own player, Liam Walker, and both required lengthy treatment on the pitch before being transferred to hospital. Happily both players have since been discharged, though will be unavailable, for three to four weeks
Tries: Oreofe Animashaun, Will Mills, Jack Ratcliffe, Sam Bardsley
Goals: Tom Farr (4) + DG
Man of the Match: Kane Briggs