RESERVES MAKE IT BACK-TO-BACK WINS

Huddersfield 28  Salford 30        Match Report

Salford Red Devils Reserves took over, on Saturday afternoon, where their senior counterparts had left off the night before, by doubling the number of wins over the Huddersfield Giants this weekend, and also running up back-to-back wins of their own – but only just.

There had been so much to admire in their performance, throughout the majority of the fixture, with the Salford forwards taking control from the outset, and the Reds opening the scoring with ease, from two early converted tries in the first twelve minutes.  This was in some respects unsurprising as they were able to field a much bigger and physically stronger side than in recent weeks, owing to the return from injury of a couple of senior players and the inclusion of two or three loan players from Swinton.

They even had a purple patch at the start of the second half, when they took the game completely away from the opposition to open up a twenty-point lead, which enabled their travelling fans to relax briefly before the game was turned on its head. 

Due, most likely, to inexperience of game-managing a winning lead, with ten minutes to go that lead had been halved, and shortly afterwards reduced to a mere six points.  Almost unbelievably, the final kick of the game was to become the deciding factor in the result.

It was as the result of a Giants’ error in the seventh minute that right winger, Dan Harrison, suddenly found himself in possession on his own twenty metre line with no-one in front of him.  He therefore did what all good wingers do, he pinned back his ears and sped the remaining length of the field down the touchline, holding off all pursuers to score wide out, but not too far out for Matty Rudd to commence his one hundred percent goal-scoring feat, which was to prove so crucial, at the final whistle.

If that had not shocked the home team to the core, conceding back-to-back tries so early on must surely have done so, when at the end of the very next set, the resultant end kick led to Scott Parnaby adding the second.

Just as it might have been thought that the visitors could score at will, their hosts galvanised themselves and, aided by their kick off being dropped close to the Salford try line and a rather foolish set-restart being given away, they had enough tackles in the bag to force an overlap on the right for a converted try to open their account.

Such was the Red Devils’ dominance, however, they were able to wipe out this setback with another try of their own.  An end-of-set chip and chase led to a penalty, which in turn led to Jordan Brown forcing his way over, between the posts.

Had they been able to carry this 6-18 lead into half time, it would have given them a three-score cushioning, but a dropped ball in their own half gave possession to the Giants, and they forced another overlap, this time on the left flank to bring the score to10-18, at the interval.

No-one could have hoped for a better start to the second half than the Red Devils got, with two tries in the first five minutes.  The first came as a result of pressure on the Giants, whilst in possession close to their own line.  The ball was lost backwards, and Amir Bourouh was first to get to it, followed by Owen Blackwood making it another pair of back-to-back score when he crossed between the posts to bring the score to 10-30.

It was on the 58th minute that the game changed so remarkably.  A Salford mix up on attack, in the Giants’ left hand corner, led to two back-to-back penalties, and the resultant sets of possession saw Huddersfield narrow the gap by four points. 

From then on, the game became more and more frustrating for the Reds as a total of five penalties in twenty minutes gave the home side a new lease of life, with further tries on the 70th, 72nd, and 79th minutes.  Fortunately, only the first of these was converted, and their final kick, which every Huddersfield fan on the ground was willing to go over, missed, and the relieved Salford players ran out winners.

Coach, Stuart Wilkinson, was pleased with the way his team had performed for the bulk of the game, and in particular the ferocity of their physicality both in attack and defence, but equally pleased with the win.  He felt that Amir Bourouh had been outstanding throughout, showing creativity, providing inspiration, and standing head and shoulders above everyone else on either side, whilst Joe Coop was continuing to show improvement week in week out.

Their last fixture of the regular season will come next week when they make the long journey to Humberside to take on Hull KR, where they could make it a hat-trick of wins with which to round off.

SALFORD

Billy Walkley, Daniel Harrison, Owen Blackwood, Joseph Coope- Franklin, Scott Egan, Matthew Rudd, Joseph Lowe, Leunbou Bardyel Wells, Amir Bourouh, Matthew Unsworth, John Hutchings, Scott Parnaby, Rhys Davies

Subsitutes

Jordan Brown, Jacob Lee, Charlie Glover, Kellen Wood

18th PLAYER – Mikey Gilligan

RESRVES QUELL THUNDER IN FINAL HOME GAME

Salford 32  Newcastle 10                               Match Report

A frantic opening onslaught by the Salford Red Devils, in which they outpaced the clock for points per minute by registering fourteen in the opening ten, laid the foundation for last Saturday’s convincing home victory over Newcastle Thunder.

It was at the end of the very first set of good approach work with strong carries and accurate passes, which had taken them to within ten metres of the visitors’ try line, that the ball was moved from right to left along the line, until scrum half, Jack Stevens, sent a fabulous long pass straight into the arms of winger, Billy Walkley who, with that little bit of extra space, went in at the corner.

After only a few tackles of the return set, again, telling passes put centre, Owen Blackwood through on a most impressive run, before further slick handling, this time to the right edge saw winger, Scott Egan, score the first of what was to end up as a hat-trick of tries.

Stevens, who had found the conversions from the two touchlines a little too far out to add on the extras, then took matters into his own hands, cutting through to score under the posts, on ten minutes.  There was no mistake this time with his straight-forward conversion sailing between the posts.  It was, however, to be pretty much his last contribution to the match, as a few minutes later he sustained an injury to his hamstring and had to retire to the dugout for the remainder of the time.

So torrid had the Newcastle side found the opening stanza that one feared that the afternoon might prove to be a no contest, but remarkably, there was to be no further score, for the remainder of the half.  Two contributory factors were responsible for this, with firstly the visitors’ introduction of rather more experienced players from the bench.

The Red Devils, in the meantime, did lose a little concentration and errors started to creep in and mar what had, hitherto, been a near perfect performance.   Two further clear-cut chances on the right edge were lost by inaccurate final passes, whilst penalties for a variety of reasons invited the Thunder into their half to test their defence.

The one aspect of their play on which they did not relax, however, was their end-of-set kick-chases, with hooker Kellan Wood producing some excellent punts down-field, eagerly raced after, and the clearing runs from the receivers halted in their tracks within moments.  This ability to turn defence into attack was probably one of the highlights of their play, and saved so much time, energy, and stress in goal-line defence.

When, eventually, the scoreline did change, seven minutes into the second half, somewhat surprisingly, it was Newcastle who took advantage of two repeat sets in the Reds’ half, to go over, close enough to the posts for a successful conversion, narrowing the score to 14-6.

Having been suddenly nudged out of the comfort of a three-score lead, the Red Devils roused themselves to regain field dominance, and Wood capped his most praiseworthy all-round performance, when he skipped over from a play-the-ball close to the line for a try converted by Matty Rudd, on 51 mins

 A tremendous crash tackle on a relieving Thunder defender, three minutes later, forced the ball free to give Scott Egan his second try, this time under the posts to take the score to 26-6, but there was still another try left in the visitors, who, on 62 mins, in circumstances not dissimilar to their first score, took themselves into double figures.

There was still time left, though, for Scott Egan to round off his, and the team’s tally, nine minutes from the end, after excellent handling by Nathan Connell and Billy Walkley, both of whom had impressed despite being significantly involved in the reshuffle surrounding Stevens’s departure.  Despite his having to take the goal kick from the touchline, Matty Rudd added the extras, whilst Scott Egan was unfortunately denied a fourth try, in the final minute, owing to a forward pass.

Coach, Stuart Wilkinson, was most pleased by what he considered his team’s most impressive and aggressive performance so far, with prop, Bardyel Wells, involved in an eyebrow-raising fifty two tackles during the game, and still having the energy to put in a significant number of bone crunching hit ups, whilst it was a welcome back from injury for fellow prop, Charlie Glover.

So, after this latest success, a trip to Huddersfield in a fortnight’s time will bring their regular season to its conclusion.

SALFORD

Nathan Connell, Scott Egan Owen Blackwood, Mikey Gilligan, Billy Walkley, Matty Rudd, Jack Stevens, Bardyel Wells, Kellen Wood, Charlie Glover, Jacob Lee, John Hutchings, Matty Unsworth

Substitutes

Lucas Iles, Finley Yates, Mason Phillips, Jorge Cabral

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