Wakefield 22 Salford 14 Match Report – David Clegg
Salford U19s were made to pay the price for a slow start, as their hosts rattled up a 16-0 lead, in the opening twenty-five minutes of the final game of the season, and despite a spirited fightback, from which they pulled back to within two points, at 16-14, with fifteen minutes to go, it was not to prove sufficient, against a stronger, and more experienced Wakefield side.
Indeed, the home side opened their account with only three minutes on the clock, when, having been successful in preventing the Devils from completing their set with a kick, they were rewarded with a converted try from a kick into the in-goal area. Seven minutes later, they crossed in the corner, to extend their lead to 10-0.
This time Salford hit back, and they were unfortunate not to get on the scoreboard, when stand-off, John Whittaker was unable to hold onto Lewis Fairhurst’s short kick through the Wakefield defence, close to the line.
The Wildcats were rather more clinical, shortly afterwards, when they touched down another kick-in-goal, the goal kick from in front of the posts, taking them into what appeared at the time to be a commanding, but which proved to be an unassailable, lead.
Centre, Ben Calland, appeared to have started the fightback, ten minutes from the interval, when he took Fairhurst’s kick, but an offside decision by the touch judge, thwarted them, once again. It proved to be a further five minutes, before a strong run by Adam Jones spawned another attack, and this time winger, Elliott Caine, was successful in grounding Salford’s latest kick-in-goal, bringing up a 16-4 half time lead.
The Red Devils started the second half with much more determination, and a good, strong attack, ten minutes into the half, was finished off by the power of Jack Cottington, who forced his way over between the posts, giving Fairhurst a straightforward conversion to bring the teams to within one converted score, at 16-10.
A determined run, from 5m out took prop, Jonny Scott over, between the posts, but he was unable to ground the ball, such was the number of defenders deployed in stopping him. When the home side’s indiscipline brought back-to-back penalties, however, Fairhurst’s long, cut-out pass to Calland brought an overlap which saw winger, Brad Whelan, score in the corner, unfortunately, too far out for a successful conversion.
On an evening when little had gone right in the opening stages, it might almost have been expected that Salford’s one kick-error of the evening would result in the home side stretching their two point advantage, from the possession they then enjoyed from the resultant scrum in the Salford half.
So the young Red Devils were unable to bring the 2016 season to a winning conclusion, but this should, in no way, overshadow their efforts throughout the season, as a whole, and the progress they have shown throughout it.