Salford’s U 19s College Academy side opened up their season, on Wednesday last, with a comprehensive win over the Huddersfield Giants, at the A J Bell. Comfortable as the score might appear, however, this in in one respect hides the keenness of the tussle they encountered in the first half, with the visitors taking the lead mid-way through the half, whilst also masking the dominance the home side held with a 30-8 advantage, ten minutes from the final whistle.
It was the Red Devils who were first to strike, five minutes into the game, when prop, Charlie Glover, crashed over from short range, from scrum half, Jack Stevens’s pass. Stevens, as with all his attempts at goal, landed this, the first, to extend their score by the additional two points.
The Reds were unable to make any further impression on the Huddersfield defence, though, as failure to complete their sets deprived them of possession, and consequently provided their opponents with both position and possession to go ahead through two unconverted tries to take command of the game at 6-8.
The irrepressible Stevens, however, eventually restored the upper hand to Salford, when he dummied his way through for Salford’s second try, which gave them a halftime 12-8, lead.
The hard work which the whole side had put in throughout that first forty minutes was to pay good dividends in the second period, in which three further tries took the game, though not completely, away from the visitors.
Fullback, and man of the match, Nathan Connell, was first to cross, after fifty minutes, when he latched onto Steven’s inside pass to score close to the posts.
Ten minutes later, the Giants allowed a high bomb, from Stevens, to bounce, and stand-off, Adam Tierney, was rewarded for his chase, with the ball finding its way into his possession, to increase the Salford score to twenty-four.
The try which coach, Danny Barton, declared to be the best of the game, came with Connell’s second, thanks to his support of Stevens’s initial break. Safeguarding a lead, and managing the game, thereafter, are aspects which they will need to work upon now, because the closing ten minutes became somewhat disillusioning.
Complacency, loss of concentration, together with the lowering of energy levels caused by two sin-binnings of Salford players, all combined to reduce the intensity of their performance. The Giants promptly responded by notching up two further scores of their own, which in fairness was fully deserved for the effort they had put into the game, throughout.
The most pleasing aspect of the afternoon for Danny Barton, however, was the attitude of his players, particularly in their willingness to work for one another on defence, and to support each other on attack, both of which elements will stand them in good stead when they take on Hull FC, in their next fixture, on Wednesday.
Nathan Connell, Myles Paul, Louis Lord, Josh Wagstaffe, Linden Taylor, Lucas Coan, Jack Stevens, Charlie Glover, Will Fernley, Kai Parker, Jack Kenway, George Charnock, Lukas Prescott
Henry Moran, Adam Tierney, Noah Farr, Ben Wilkinson, Marshall Yates, Oliver Burgess