Riverside College 20 Salford Cat 3 U19s 26
A twenty points to six, half time deficit was turned on its head, in Wednesday’s encounter with the Widnes-based Riverside College, after the half time interval, to run in twenty unanswered points of their own and so secure their first victory of the season.
Facing a strong wind and an uphill fight in the first half, it was a solitary score thanks to the strength of loose forward, Josh Henry, goaled by Ellis Snellgrove, which in the end was to prove vital in determining the result, as the home side used the elements and gradient, to their advantage.
It was not solely the circumstantial issues which contributed to the size of that half time score, however, with some weak, ineffective defence taking its own toll on the Red Devils’ performance, much to the dismay of coach, Jay Boyd.
“We just weren’t switched on at all, defensively, in that first half,” he acknowledges. “We were struggling, because of their attitude and willingness to put their bodies on the line. Once this improved in the second half we took control.”
The opportunity to address this during the half time interval, thankfully, spurred the whole squad on, to put the matter to rights.
“We had been working on our defence quite extensively in training, over a couple of weeks, so I let them know just how disappointed I was with them, and their attitude changed almost immediately,” he recounts. “They wanted to prove us wrong, and they prepared to get stuck in straight away, for the second half.”
Notice of this was served as early as the first set, following the resumption, when, following a forty metre break by Josh Henry once again, a couple of quick play-the-balls got them into the position for hooker, Dan Goddard to scoot over between the posts, giving Connor Law a straight forward conversion.
With their tails suddenly up and the momentum swinging their way, they were also helped by a number of penalties which contributed to their cause, as the tiring Riverside defence, with a bench of merely two substitutes, struggled to keep in the running.
A further try by Josh Henry, coming from a drop-off pass, put the visitors within four points of their hosts, and with time on their side they were able to show patience and wear away the plucky home side’s resilience, until a wrap-around move enabled Law to cut through and pave the way for Callum Hughes to cross, which with his own conversion, edged his team in front for the first time.
The icing on the cake came shortly before the final whistle when Law turned from provider to scorer, to ensure the victory.
“Attacking-wise we are improving well, and we can score points when we get the chance, while in keeping the opposition to zero in the second half showed that our defence is also quite capable, when the attitude is right,” is Jay’s final assessment. “That zero was, in itself, a big achievement, and the lads deserved their win, simply for putting right all the things that had gone wrong in the first half.”
With another trip, next week, this time to Warrington, they all have the opportunity of showing all these positive signs for the full eighty minutes.
Ben Gore, Ben Whitley, Ellis Snellgrove, Jack Fairbrother, Luke Watson, Callum Hughes, Pat Johnson, Shane Knight, Will Pettigrew, James McKenna, Josh Connolly, Josh Henry
Brodie Partington, Connor Aspey, Josh Bentley, Dan Goddard, Lewis Zammit, Connor Law