David Clegg Gets The Views Of U19s Head Coach, Garreth Carvell, As They Prepare For Thursday’s Home Game Against St Helens
With a total of hundred points, in only two matches, this must have been the sort of start to his coaching career of which U19s Head Coach, could only have dreamed, though of course the fact that these opening encounters have been against the RFL Development Areas of Cumbria and North East, has been of help.
You can only beat what is put in front of you, however, and the Red Devils have certainly done that in style, over the past two weeks.
“The final scores have definitely done the boys justice,” Garreth acknowledges, “though in both games they have been rather patchy in the opening minutes.  Once we got the message through to them about what they needed to do, it was a different game.  It was as if they were a completely different team, on both occasions.”
His main aim is that the players have been learning from these games, and with St Helens the visitors this coming Thursday, there will not be any room for an indifferent start, this week.
“Although we have played against two physical teams, we have been able to get away with things that we would not have got away with against Super League opposition, and that’s the adjustment we have to make,” he professes.
So, despite the short turn around, the identification of faults,and working on correcting those is paramount, ahead of this next, much sterner, test.
“We could be on the end of a hiding after the first twenty minutes, if we do not get a much better start, this time,” he predicts.  “It’s important that we start really well, and that is something that we’ll be drilling into them, this week.”
Certainly, confidence will not be in short supply, come the kick-off, having rattled up so many points, and with only one unconverted try conceded, to date.
“It definitely looks as though we can score tries, so that will stand them in good stead,” he concedes, “and you get a good feeling from winning, that also helps.  It breeds confidence and belief, and that will be something for the lads to grasp on to for this next tougher challenge.
“We have built ourselves some momentum, and now we are up against an opposition against whom we can start gauging ourselves.  We’re really looking forward to the game.”
A couple of totally new faces have been in evidence, in the two previous fixtures.  Stand off, Jon Whttaker, and winger, Jake Knox, have both come on trial, and have both been among the try scorers in one or other of the matches.
“Jake has joined us from Leigh, after their U20s folded,” Garreth explains.  “He had been contracted to them for three years so they obviously believed he had potential, as indeed we do. He has a lot to learn, but that is part of our job as coaches.  He took his try scoring chance, on Saturday, really well.
“After his first game against Cumbria, Jon came off the bench, on Saturday, and he controlled the game really well, then.  It has been a big step up for him, as he had only played amateur rugby before, but he can play several positions, and he clearly gained a lot of confidence from his first game.”
With the first team not playing until Sunday, therefore, this is possibly the first opportunity that many will have had of watching the new look U19s, so a good following would undoubtedly boost the players for what is their first really big challenge.   Interesting as the result of any encounter is, at this level the prime focus is the development of the players, who, one day, will be in a position to pull on the first team shirt.
Match Officials:
Referee – Mr J Callaghan
Touch Judges – S Houghton, A Williams
Venue: The Enclosure, A J Bell Stadium                       KO 7pm
Forthcoming Fixtures:

Thurs 10th March St Helens Home 7pm
Thurs 17th March Castleford Home 7pm
Thurs 24th March Bradford Home 7pm
Sun 3rd April Wakefield Away 2pm
Thurs 7th April Wigan Home 7pm



North East Thunder 4  Salford 52                              
For the second consecutive week the Salford Red Devils U19s were paired with one of the RFL Development Areas, this time away in the North East, at the home of the Newcastle Falcons.  Having despatched of Cumbria without conceding a point in the opening fixture of the season, the previous week, confidence in the visitors’ camp was sky high, although, true to his word, Head Coach, Garreth Carvell had rung a few changes in order to give some of the younger players some game time.
Not that this was to diminish, in any respect, the efficiency of the Red Devils’ attack, with their running yet another nine tries, eight of which were converted by scrum half, Lewis Fairhurst, though the home side were successful in breaching the Salford defence, early in the game, to ensure that they did not suffer the ignominy of failing to score on their home ground.
Indeed, it took some twenty minutes for the Devils take complete control of proceedings, as, despite registering their first points after 6 minutes, their lead was quickly eroded when the North East crossed for their points, a few minute later.  By half time, however, Salford had put themselves in a quite commanding position, having built up a 24-4 lead.
Disaster struck the Thunder as early as the second minute, when, sadly, the game was held up for over three minutes, owing to an ankle injury to prop, Alex Taylor, who was forced to retire from the fray, at that point.  Immediately upon the restart, Salford went close to notching their first try, when a great break by Lewis Fairhurst, with Lewis Hatton in support, put them close to the home line, and hooker, Aaron Moore, scooted over from the play the ball, only for the try to be ruled out owing to an obstruction by another Salford player.
Three minutes later, the North East had their own disappointment when the referee spotted a forward pass in the build up to winger Jack Quinn’s crossing in the right hand corner.  There was to be no mistake, however, immediately afterwards, when a penalty to Salford enabled them to turn defence into attack, and left centre, Harry Madders ran strongly at the line to get the touch-down.  From close to the touchline Lewis Farihurst was on target with his first conversion attempt.
Despite this setback for the home side, the game ebbed and flowed until, until a couple of repeat sets on the Salford line brought the North East their try through fullback, Nial Sidney.
The Red Devils’ response was swift, and on 22 mins, some rather questionable handling  moved the ball to the left, close to the Thunder line, and stand off, Alex Gaskell, took advantage of a gap in the defensive line to score close to the corner, to which Lewis Fairhurst added the extras, and extend the lead to 12-4.
Two tries in the last five minutes of the half doubled the visitors’ points tally, and took the game beyond the North East’s grasp.  First a strong run by Tom Millington set up the position, and his quick play-the-ball saw fellow substitute, Jack Cottington, get over, and then, from a scrum over on the left flank, Alex Gaskell’s clever feint and footwork created space for him to feed right winger, Jake Knox for his first try, at this level.  Lewis Fairhurst was bang on target with two difficult kicks.
It took only five minutes for Luke Fowden’s forceful running to power him over between the posts for the first of two, back to back, identical tries. This first followed Fairhurst’s play the ball from the almost identical spot, and the second, seven minutes later, saw Fowden ground by the left hand upright. With his easiest kicks so far, Fairhurst took the score to 36-4.
A good break, by Jack Thompson, as a result of  returning a Thunder kick, was immediately replicated by second rower, Lewis Hatton, on his way to scoring the next try, on 21 mins.  With his only miss of the afternoon, Fairhurst hit the near upright.
That regular scorer of last season, Aaron Moore, was next on the sheet, with a scoot similar in many respects to his earlier disallowed effort, but this time there was no obstruction,  while the scoring was wrapped up by Hatton’s second try as a result of his supporting a Fairhurst break.  Fairhurst, in fact it was, who had the very last say in converting both these efforts.
Croft, Caine, Thompson, Maders, Knox, Gaskell, Fairhurst, Fowden, Moore, Bent, Okanga-Ajwang, Hatton, Worrall,
Subs: Millington, Cottington, Whittaker, Moffatt
Match Report – David Clegg


Salford 48  Cumbria 0                                          Match Report – David Clegg
Salford Red Devils’ new look U19s side started the season in similar fashion to the manner in which their forerunners of last year had concluded the 2015 season, with a convincing victory over luckless Cumbria.
As the score shows, the Devils ended the game with something of a romp, but the first half was some distance removed from that, and the home side had to work hard to establish the platform from which they were then able to kick on, and eventually revel in the free scoring spectacle which must have delighted their followers and coaching staff.
Indeed the Red Devils had much to be thankful to their defence for, in the last fifteen minutes of the first half, when Cumbria had a spate of almost uninterrupted possession, which ensured that they spent much of this time testing the Salford line to considerable extent.  That the Salford players weathered this storm and kept the visitors pointless probably contributed significantly towards the onslaught which was to come in the second half.
For Head Coach, Garreth Carvell, this must have been the best start he could have wished for.
From the outset their was evidence of early nerves among the home side as, having taken the kick off cleanly, a misunderstanding between players saw the very first pass ricochet loose off the chest of the receiver, and gift the visitors their first attacking chance.
It was, nevertheless, only a matter of minutes, four to be accurate, before a break by Aaron Moore, operating at hooker this season, set up the position for a home attack, and after loose forward, Chris Worrall was held up over the line, second rower, Lewis Hatton found a little more space to be able to force his way over and ground to the right of the posts.  Lewis Fairhurst was left to slot over the simple conversion.
Ten minutes later, the Cumbrians came their closest to getting points on the board, when, following a forced goal-line drop-out, winger, Sam Freeman was put in the clear and crossed, only for it to be disallowed for a forward pass.
Salford’s response was swift, and on the back of a helpful penalty, Aaron Moore’s clever dummy and scoot from a play-the-ball, opened up a gap for him to notch up the second try on the left hand side of the field, converted again by Lewis Fairhurst.
From the restart, some great work by Salford forwards, Jonny Scott, Liam Bent, Chris Worrall, and Lewis Hatton, culminated in a bullocking run through from prop Luke Fowden , to complete the near hundred metres they had gained from their efforts, and, fittingly the ball was moved along the line to the left, and second rower, Adam Jones, was able to exploit the space available to him out wide, to run in the third and final try of the half.  Lewis Fairhurst was as equally assured with this, his most difficult conversion so far as he had been with the earlier, more straightforward kicks.
Unfortunately, the game turned a little sour, on 31 mins, when a lengthy stoppage concluded with Jonny Scott being helped slowly from the field, with a knee injury.  This seemed to herald a change in fortunes for the two teams, as Cumbria monopolised possession and twice came close to scoring.
First the luckless Freeman was denied for a second try, as great cover defence got across to his wing and tackled him into touch, close to the try line.  Then a the high towering kick into the Salford in-goal area was knocked down onto the line but the advancing Cumbria attacker was unable to ground the ball cleanly, and the Devils survived again.  The half eventually ended with the visitors being tackled inches from the Salford try line.


David Clegg Continues His In-Depth Introduction Of The Senior Players Of Our U19s Squad With Lewis Fairhurst
As a native of Bickerhaw, on the outskirts of Wigan, it is hardly surprising that young Lewis Fairhurst started playing rugby with his local club, but, that he later continued his career with none other than archrivals, St Helens, is rather the more so.
His first introduction to the game, though, had come via his older brother, Ryan, who frequently included him in games with his own mates in the local park.  That Lewis got used to the rough and tumble, this involved, with lads a couple of years older than himself, was to stand him in good stead throughout his career to date, as he, far more often than not, ended up  playing with and against teams of players at least twelve months older than himself.
Indeed, when he first followed Ryan down to Hindley ARLFC, at the age of six, he was the only one that young, so he even started off mixing it with lads one and even two years older than himself, and this has just continued to be the case, ever since.  This, he felt, was some indication of the fact that he was considered good enough to be able to cope in that situation, and it encouraged him to remain at the club for a remarkable twelve year period, right through to the age of eighteen.
Throughout this time, he almost always turned out at hooker, although he started his very first match at half back before being moved the hooking role.  The highlight of his time with them came with their winning the North West Challenge Shield, when they beat West Bank, 28-18, in the final.  On a personal front, his contribution to the team’s effort was often noted by his achieving Top Tackler Award, though when they progressed to U14 level he was recognised, for the first of three consecutive seasons, as Player of the Year.
It invariably happens that when teams reach their early teens, they attract a great deal of attention from local professional outfits, and so it was for Lewis’s side, with scouts from both Wigan and St Helens showing considerable interest in the squad in general, but with the latter club showing rather more interest in Lewis himself.  An invitation to meet with their officials, at the age of fourteen led directly to his joining their U16s side for the following two years.
As with all St Helens sides, they proved to be a strong team, and over two seasons, each comprising of eight games, they won all but two of them.  Most significant for Lewis was his relocation on a regular basis to half back, a position he had not played in since that first half of his very first game some eight years earlier.  Lewis attributes much of the team’s success to the quality of their coaches, the most well-known of whom was Tommy Martin, whose own personal skills around tactical kicking helped develop Lewis’s own ability in this area, considerably.
As with many youngsters, moving up to the U19s, where there is a three year age span, somewhat limits their chances of selection in their first year at that level, and, although this did improve for him significantly during his second season, in the end things did not quite work out as he would have hoped, and so he looked around for another club.
One of those he contacted was Salford, and, in fact, within the hour they became the first to return his call, inviting here for the first of two meeting with, initially Head Coach, Martin Gleeson, while the second was with Head Coach elect for the 2016 season, Garreth Carvell.
He was quickly persuaded that here was where his future lay.
“After meeting them, I was convinced that this was the club I wanted to be at,” he insists.  “Others came in for me, but I had already made up my mind to come here.
“I have settled in really well, and can’t wait to get started.  I want to have the chance to show the skills and talent I have, and by using these around the other players, hopefully we can make the team work.
“Salford is a growing club, and I believe it is going to be the equal of most others in Super League.”
With a full season in which to achieve all this, Lewis is hoping that he will have sufficiently impressed the coaches for them to offer him a further contract, this time with the first team next season, as he is determined to become that Super League player he has always wanted to be.


David Clegg Continues His In-Depth Introduction Of The Senior Players Of Our U19s Squad With Cumbrian Prop, Jonny Scott
You have to admire the stamina and dedication of the number of U19s players, who have been prepared to travel the not insignificant distance to Salford from the rugby league outposts in Cumbria, two or even three times a week, to train with their team mates here at the A J Bell Stadium.  In Jonny Scott’s case, though, this is stretching those qualities to the limit as, after an initial two years with the U16s, and now at the start of his final year in the U19s, he, and I suspect his extremely supportive family, will be embarking on their fifth year of undertaking this somewhat onerous part of belonging to a professional club.
It is, in fact, that cauldron of passion for rugby league we know as Whitehaven, in which Jonny grew up, and on the back of sundry visits to the well-known Recreation Ground, quickly grew to enjoy the game through watching, and also playing it in the local park with his friends.  It was not, though, until he had reached the age of ten that he took it upon himself to join a club, unsurprisingly, settling on the closest of these, Kells.
Although his size immediately singled him out as a prop, after two years he was moved into the centre, and then, at the age of fourteen, return to the pack at loose forward.  He found positives in both of these changes, with the centre bringing him a lot more ball work and space to exploit, and this led to his scoring a considerable number of tries, which meant that he was often selected as Man of the Match.
His later move to loose forward was one that particularly suited him as he relished the freedom to roam the middle of the field at will.  Indeed, it was not until he came to Salford that he returned, once more, to his now established role of prop forward.
In joining Kells his choice proved to be first rate, because they proved to be by one of the best side in the county, and they quite frequently won not only the Cumbria County Cup or league, but also lifted other local trophies for which were eligible to contest.   Jonny tells me they always used to take the field expecting to win, and by the time they had risen to U16s level, they went, throughout the whole season, unbeaten.
Consequently, when the then Salford City Reds developed some quite close but informal links with Whitehaven, members of the Academy coaching staff ran a coaching session for the Kells players.  Jonny quite clearly impressed them, because immediately after he was invited down to join the Salford U16s squad.  His acceptance was just as immediate, and it was not long before he had joined a group of three other players who were already making the regular car journeys down to Greater Manchester.
As with so many of the youngster who make the step up from amateur to professional level, it took him some little time to adjust to the increased demands, expectations, and standards, but then, when his debut eventually came, lo and behold it turned out to be against, of all people, Cumbria, at none other than the Recreation Ground, Whitehaven.
It would have been nice to report that against many of his mates from Kells, and other local clubs, he had a dream start in the Salford shirt, but the truth is that he ended up on the losing start, and, as might be expected, had to contend with a fair amount of ribbing from the victors.  Things did not get much better very quickly, for wins were few and far between, for that particular side.
Graduation to the U19s, after two years with the U16s, brought him a further higher standard to which he had to adjust, and now back in the front row, an increase in physicality, as he sought to adapt to the challenge of dealing with older, and physically more mature forwards than himself.
“It was a big step up for me, propping against lads three years older than me” he acknowledges, “but I was never in any way daunted at doing so.”
Now, one of the select group of senior players, he is gearing himself up for the additional requirements expected of third year players, whilst ensuring that he is equally undaunted by the responsibility that this brings.
And after all the disappointments of those early losses, at the end of last season he had the opportunity to rediscover the pleasure we all get from being on the winning side, as the Red Devils lifted the Group 2 winners’ trophy to cap a quite spectacular turn around in their fortunes in the later part of the year.

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