Salford 24 City of Hull 18 Match Report – David Clegg
At the end of a three week layoff, caused, in part, by the aftermath of the tragic accident to young Ronan Costell in their previous fixture at Huddersfield, Salford U19s finally took to the field, once again, last Thursday. Just how the lads would cope with their return to competitive rugby must have been in everybody’s mind, but, in the event, they rose to the occasion, most impressively, and not even the combined talents of Hull FC and Hull KR, to form the City of Hull Academy, could contain the rampant Red Devils, particularly in the opening stages.
Indeed, eighteen unanswered points within the first eleven minutes put the home side virtually out of reach of their visitors, even with so much of the game remaining. This was just as well, because, from that point on, circumstances started to turn against them, and it was fortunate that an early second half try took them further ahead, and gave them the cushioning they were to need as the game progressed.
A sharp deterioration in the weather, after twenty minutes, led to an equally sharp deterioration in the playing conditions, and with that the handling skills of both sides. Points thereafter were, consequently, at a premium. An exceedingly high, penalty count in Hull’s favour, in the second half, compounded by the sinbinning of the Devils’ hooker, Aaron Moore, gave them plenty of work to do, in defence, but they buckled down to this, as, indeed, they had done throughout the game.
The game was barely two minutes old, when, from a play the ball, Moore feinted to go left to the open side but then turned his pass out to the right, to fullback, Connor Williams, who crossed in the corner. Lewis Fairhurst was successful with the difficult conversion.
Three minutes later, at the end of the next set, Fairhurst’s kick was charged down, but he somewhat fortuitously recovered possession, and set off on a 70m jinking run, which once he had foiled the opposing fullback with some clever footwork, saw him score between the posts, giving himself a straightforward conversion.
A further end-of-set kick, this time delicately floated into the in-goal areby stand-off half, Jon Whittaker, was latched onto by Williams for his second, and again Fairhurst was successful with his kick at goal.
It was not until 28 mins, that Hull had their first real scoring opportunity, but the Devils’ defence was equal to it as great covering saw them bundle both left winger, Will Oakes, and centre, Bradley Spriggs, either of whom might have had possession, into touch. The Salford try line was, consequently, kept intact through to the half time interval.
Four minutes after the resumption, Moore’s trademark dummy and scoot took the score, along with Fairhurst’s final conversion, to 24-0.
That, however, was to be their final addition to the scoreboard, for, deprived of possession for whole swathes of time, much of the remainder of the game was a test of the home defence, which for the bulk of it stood sound, even when down to twelve men. With ten sets more than their rivals, however, Hull were not to be denied on three subsequent occasions, through tries from Owen Harrison, Joel Marquez-Laynez and Will Jub, all converted by Will Oakes, setting up a nail-biting final five minutes. Thankfully, the Red Devils held on for a much deserved victory.
Connor Williams, Elliott Caine, Ben Calland, Alex Gaskell, Jake Knox, Lewis Fairhurst, John Whittaker, Jack Cottington, Aaron Moore, Chris Worrall, Declan Hidden, Lewis Hatton, Liam Bent, Lewis Gregory, Jonny Scott, Luke Fowden, Harry Maders,
City of Hull:
Harry Hutchinson, Ryan Adamson, Kieran Buchanan, Bradley Spriggs, Will Oakes, Bobby Downs, Liam Harris, Ben Butler, Will Jub, Charlie Weaver, Max Riseham, Owen Harrison, Joe Cator, Tom Jubb, Kieran Moran, Chris Smith, Joel Marquez-Lyne
Referee – Mr P Marklove