RED DEVILS SPIRIT REMAINS UNDIMINISHED

Salford Red Devils 0  Barrow Raiders 46      Match Report

As if turning out to face their third consecutive Super League opposition in four weeks, when the Red Devils themselves are a team still in the infancy of their development, were not demanding enough in itself, the new-look ladies’ side had the added challenge of starting the match playing into the teeth of a raging gale accompanied by driving rain.

Even in a closely matched encounter those conditions would have held great sway in the probable outcome with the energy sapping difficulties they provide especially when facing them in the first forty when the opposition are still completely fresh.  This, however, was not an evenly matched encounter against a side which has clearly played together over a number of seasons at different levels and whose understanding of one another was evident from the outset.

Playing only their fourth match of the season there has been little opportunity for the Red Devils to jell together in such torrid circumstances as fixtures against Wigan Warriors and Cardiff Demons, the latter of which required a four-hour journey in each direction.

Two back-to-back penalties to Barrow at the very outset of this latest encounter, the first because the strength of the wind prevented Salford’s kick-off from crossing the ten-metre line, and the second caused by their incorrect play-the-ball after the Raiders’ opening attack had been repulsed, had the inevitable result of the visitors crossing for their opening, converted try in the second minute.

The wind was causing havoc for the Reds’ kicking game, but, after the Raiders had gone further ahead on 11mins, despite some resilient defensive efforts which had seen them held up over the line, amidst a posse of determined Salford players, kicker Demi Jones had most sensibly reverted to low kick-offs, the next three of which, quite remarkably were recovered by the Red Devils.

The first of these was an angled kick to the right, where winger, Emily Webb, did extremely well to get around a couple of Raiders to secure possession for the home side.  The second was an even more impressive effort from Jones herself when she put the ball through a gap between, and behind, two Barrow defenders, to chase through and collect the ball, and then on the third occasion placed her kick into space on the left and then into touch, thereby regaining them both possession and good field position.

And this was indicative of the Salford team, as a whole.  All the players within it are talented athletes who know their roles and, with ball in hand, can, as individuals, produce good elements of play.  Unfortunately, they have not yet gained sufficient understanding of one another’s ploys and skills to be able to put these together effectively enough to trouble opposition defenders, often losing possession early in the tackle count as a result of misunderstandings and poor execution.

Their best set of six, by far, came on 70 mins, when three great individual carries from Jadine McVernon who, not for the first time, relinquished her second-row berth to help out at centre, Lydia Egan who had been delivering such carries throughout the match, and Emily Bagguley who is proving to be a most reliable and dependable player in so many aspects of her game.

Having set up the position well inside the Barrow half, stand-off, Michelle Davis, then took over and made a fine break through the somewhat scattered defence, side-stepping and accelerating past various individuals before being brought down five metres from the line, by the fullback. 

Five or six games on, she should find that her teammates will have recognised her ability in this respect and will ensure they have someone alongside her to take what will be a well-executed pass to finish off the move.  It most certainly is a strong facet of her game, as she showed on 76 mins with another fine break, this time from close to her own try-line, to relieve some considerable pressure the team had been enduring.

Defending, on the other hand, was quite the opposite, with players always ready to get into the tackles to help each other out.  Consequently, a total of some ten points was saved by their forcing the Raiders to move the ball to the edges, where spaces were more easily found and one-on-one tackles more difficult to make effective, but which also made conversions from the touchline far more difficult for the visitors’ goal-kicker..

But what will ultimately prove to be the team’s greatest asset is the considerable team-spirit they have already built up despite all the problems they have encountered, so far.  This was most evident in the final five minutes of the game when sundry waves of Barrow attacks were repulsed by the Red Devils’ determined, and successful, efforts to keep their line intact and the score below fifty.

Hopefully, a return to Championship opposition in the form of Bradford Bulls, next Sunday, will enable the players some little time and space to start building up their partnerships with one another.

SALFORD:

Alex Simpson, Emily Webb, Sam Evans, Jadine McVernon, Marnie-Lee Kelly, Michelle Davis, Demi Jones, Emerald Hickey, Alice Connolly, Lydia Egan, Summer Harris, Abi Collins, Emily Bagguley

Interchanges:

Darcey Price, Hannah Wicks, Natasha Routh, Holly Grimes

U19S THWARTED IN FINAL AFTER GRAND SEASON

Salford 8  Castleford 36 Match Report

A concluding fifteen minutes, totally unrepresentative of the rest of the game, saw Castleford lift the College Development Academy Championship Trophy, after a strongly contested Grand Final with our own Salford Red Devils, at Leigh Miners, yesterday afternoon, in front of a most significant attendance of fans from both sides.

With the League Leaders Trophy, already under their belt, for the Salford lads, this was the termination of a most wonderfully impressive season, in which they had won all but one of their fixtures, including their one previous encounter with Castleford – a 22-4 home victory, early in the season. 

Whilst the Tigers had progressed to the Final, by beating Barrow, it had been a 10-6, semi-final win over Warrington – the one team to have taken points off them – which booked the Salford players this first Grand Final appearance, since the inception of this competition.

Because the return league fixture at Castleford had been postponed and never got played, that home game was the only indication as to how the Final might evolve, but in the event proved to be of no value at all, as the Tigers’ line-up had changed considerably with the justifiable inclusion of a number of individuals, who had joined the club on professional terms.

Although it was Castleford who opened the scoring, on six minutes, with an unconverted try, the Red Devils replied ten minutes later with a try from prop, Matt Gardner, close to the posts.  Scrum half, Riley Makin’s successful conversion put them in front, at 6-4, a lead which they were able to enjoy for the next ten minutes.

The physical prowess of the Yorkshire side, however, was evident for all to see, and two tries, the second of which was converted, gave them a half-time, six-point advantage, at 8-14, following Makin’s 39th minute penalty, from 35 metres out.

The first twenty minutes of the second half was probably the Reds’ best chance of securing a victory, with periods of good field position and sufficient ball possession to set up waves of attack.  Whether it was the fact that they felt that they needed to play catch-up football, or just that the occasion itself got to them, but their normal composure and clinical finishing seemed to desert them, and hurried, and forced, passes sadly brought each one to an end.

Having to compete with opponents bigger, stronger, and faster than themselves is considerably wearing and energy-sapping, so much so that as the game wore on momentum swung towards the Tigers once more, and once they had extended their lead by a try in the left corner, they were able to follow this up with others, as fatigue and perhaps a little dejection set in, in the Red Devils’ ranks.

Not that this should in any way detract from their magnificent season, as a whole, nor their achievement in reaching the lofty heights of the Grand Final, as coach, Danny Barton, succinctly puts it:

“It has been a fantastic season, right through, for them.  They have been the most consistent side in the competition, all year, with eleven victories out of twelve games.  Throughout, they have shown the utmost commitment  and have deserved all that they have achieved.  Quite simply they have been the best group of players I have seen, at this level and it has been a pleasure to have coached them.”

RED DEVILS RUE CLOSING MINUTES LAPSES

Salford Red Devils 12  Barrow Raiders 28          Match Report

Two tries to the visitors, in the last four minutes, gave the final score to this enthralling Super League 2 encounter a somewhat one-sided impression, with the Red Devils having had the better of the majority of the second half, though once again having to strive in order to affect this upon the scoreboard.

Evidence of the finely balanced way in which the game was to unfold was laid bare in the opening quarter, with both teams going set for set against each other, but with both defences competently coping with the questions being asked of them.

It was not until the seventeenth minute that the deadlock was broken, and it was in fact the Red Devils who opened the scoring with a converted try.  An interception by Taz Corcoran, in the Salford thirty, enabled them to make their way up field, and an excellent end-of-set kick from Louise Fellingham was regathered byPhoebe Partington, who sent the ball out to left winger Lauren Ellison who scored in the corner.  Demi Jones then did extremely well to land the goal from wide out.

It was a lead onto which the home side were able hold for ten minutes, until a sustained period of Raiders’ pressure from a number of repeat sets eventually brought about an equalising score.

The compounded energy expended in defence over the remainder of the half, with Barrow commanding possession for lengthy periods in such hot and sticky conditions, took its toll as the half wore on, and further converted tries, after relentless waves of attacks, brought further scores on 32 and 39 minutes, with the half time whistle coming immediately upon the conversion from in front of the posts, on the last of these.

The disappointment at the twelve point, 6-18, half time deficit, stirred the Red Devils to mount aan impressive opening to the second half.  A barnstorming thirty metre break by substitute Yaz Parton-Sotomayor was supported by the effervescent Brogan Evans to go over, between the posts, for a try once again converted by Jones.

Her try was only just and fitting reward for her efforts throughout the game, as indeed was the case with earlier scorer, Ellison.  With Evans, it was a case of probably the smallest forward in the league taking on the might of much bigger opponents with a gusto and bravery well beyond expectation. Ellison, for her part, made a contribution well in excess of that usually made by a winger, even in the modern game.

Equally so, Demi Jones, whose goal, and end-of-set, kicks regularly give so much to the side, was also involved in much of the work, both on, and off the ball, which so often goes unnoticed.

With their spirits therefore uplifted by being one converted try only, behind, the Salford players really got on top, and for at least half an hour not only held their own in defence, took the game to the visitors on attack, and did virtually everything other than register further points.  Steph Gray’s crossing the line but being prevented from grounding the ball, on 71 mins, was just one example of the pressure they brought to bear on the Raiders.

Eventually, however, energy supplies once again began to run out, and, just as in the closing stages of the first half, Barrow took command with two tries, the second of which was converted, to extend their lead by ten points, on the 75th and 78th minutes.

Despite the disappointment of the loss, our players can take some satisfaction for having kept in the game for by far the majority of it, which, with steadier finishing could have been mush closer still, in spite of those two half-closing lapses.  With Castleford as the next visitors to the Salford Stadium, next Sunday, the Red Devils have the opportunity to build on the foundations they laid this week, and hopefully earn themselves another win.

SALFORD

Hollie Jones, Liana Loleta, Alexandra Simpson, Stephanie Gray, Louise Fellingham, Demi Jones, Megan Condliffe, Tamzin Corcoran, Emerald Hickey, Phoebe Partington, Helena Walker, Brogan Evans

Sunstitutes

Casey Naylor, Jessica Panayiotou, Darcey Price, Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor

DEON CROSS JOINS RED DEVILS

Salford Red Devils are delighted to announce the signing of Deon Cross on a one-year deal, with the option for a further year.

The winger arrives from Betfred Championship side, Widnes Vikings, where he won Try of the Year and Fans’ Player of the Year awards in 2021.

Cross started out at Rochdale Hornets in 2018, before moving to Barrow Raiders in 2019 for one season. The 25-year-old signed for Widnes ahead of the 2020 season, stating his dream was to play in Super League one day.

Speaking on signing for Salford, Cross said: “I’m really excited about the move, Super League has been the target since i started playing rugby.

“Salford is a fantastic club who have reached new heights more than once over the last few seasons, and I hope I can help this club achieve again.”

Director of rugby and operations Ian Blease added: “It’s no wonder why Deon was voted the fans’ Player of the Year this season at Widnes. He’s a very talented winger who is still only young, so has plenty of time to develop his game even further.

“Being around the likes of Ken Sio, Joe Burgess and Rhys Williams, who are all established Super League players, can only help Deon mature and improve.”

Get behind your Red Devils next season by purchasing a season ticket HERE.

Red Devils recruitment is sponsored by Morson Group.

Squad | Adam Lawton joins Rochdale Hornets on a one-month loan

Salford Red Devils can confirm that Adam Lawton has joined Betfred Championship side Rochdale Hornets on a one-month loan deal. 
Lawton joined the Red Devils ahead of pre-season after spending time away from the professional game in Australia. The back-rower broke onto the scene in 2014 with Widnes Vikings.
Director of Rugby and Operations, Ian Blease, said: “Adam has been great since joining the Club at the start of pre-season.
“We feel this short-term loan will provide Adam with a great opportunity to get some regular first team game time and further his development.”
Adam Lawton could feature in Rochdale’s upcoming fixtures against Toronto Wolfpack, Toulouse Olympique, Batley Bulldogs and Barrow Raiders.

Salford Red Devils U19’s succumb to adverse weather conditions

The relentless driving rain, which had precipitated the relocation of the Salford U19s’ home game with Barrow, on Wednesday afternoon, continued to take its toll on the Red team of the Cat 3 squad, by producing playing conditions with which they found the utmost difficulty in coping.
With their own field at the A J Bell completely under water, it was only thanks to the great spirited assistance of our good friends at St Peter’s RC School, Manchester, who most willingly sprang to our rescue by loaning their 4G pitch for the purposes of our fulfilling the fixture.
“It was a tough day for everyone concerned, with us having to decamp to the other side of Manchester, which was a considerable task in itself, but we are extremely grateful to St Peter’s, and our good friend, Jim Dixon in particular, for coming to our aid, and at such short notice,” coach, Danny Barton recounts.
Just as all this had affected Danny, so, too, it will also have affected the players themselves, with the whole build up to the match being disrupted and consequently different to their normal procedures.
“Not only that, the conditions far from suited us, whilst Barrow found them ideal for the physical dominance of their pack to assert itself,” Danny assesses,
“For ourselves, we just have to put it down to another piece of the players’ development.  All I ask is that they stick to working at the processes we have been putting in place, and they will definitely benefit from doing so, as time goes on.”
The game was barely five minutes through, when the visitors swept in for two converted tries, but the Red Devils responded, with a try from hooker, Connor Aspey, who scooted through the defensive line from a play-the-ball, selling a neat dummy on the way.
Unfortunately, goal kicker, Connor Law, was unable to convert, and the Cumbrians proceeded to exploit their dominance by running in a further two tries before scrum half, Keiran Prescott, scored a fine individual try to pull back another four points, and bring the half time score to 24-8 in the visitors’ favour.
With first teamers, Rob Lui, Joey Lussick and  Jackson Hastings, having made the journey across Manchester to support the lads from the touchline, there were hopes that the Salford players would make a quick response, but the second half belonged entirely to Barrow, with their strong powerful forwards taking complete control and forcing their hosts into errors both with, and without, the ball.
Centre, Joe Lawlor, showed some outstanding defence and deservedly was acknowledged as man of the match for Salford.
Next week sees another home game for the Reds, when they play Hopwood, in a return fixture, following their early season, narrow, away defeat.  It will be an ideal test for the players to show how much they have learned and improved in the intervening couple of months.

Sign up to the official newsletter