Castleford Tigers U19s 6 - Warrington Wolves U19s 28
By Dave Whalley
Warrington Wolves produced arguably their best performance of the season so far as they defeated a very tough Castleford Tigers side in the Under 19s Academy at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Thursday evening.
All of the Wolves 17 made important contributions to what was a very hard-fought victory against a big Tigers side who contributed massively to a great spectacle; but it was the extra skill and determination of the Wolves side that saw them deservedly take both league points to keep the pressure on Leeds Rhinos at the top of the table.
The Wolves opened the scoring in the fifth minute when great hands stretched the Castleford defence and a quick play the ball saw hooker Sean Kenny go down the blind side and put centre Harvey Livett over wide out on the right. Despite the Wolves then spending large periods in the Tigers half some strong defence from the home side meant that the Wolves went in at half time with a slender 4-0 lead.
Two minutes into the second half the Tigers were awarded a penalty that put them deep into the Wolves half and two good drives set them up nicely as the ball was then whipped out to substitute Brandon Douglas who scored at the side of the posts. Stand off Jordan Howden converted to put his side ahead but the lead was short lived as the Wolves hit back six minutes later when great work by substitute Tom Walker and in-form stand off Louis Jouffret sent Livett away on a thirty metre run. He found winger Brad Goulding in support to race over on the right. Livett added the conversion.
Shortly afterwards Wolves' centre Toby King ran a great line to split the Castleford defence before sending winger Jake Eccleston over under the posts. Livett converted and then after the hour mark a brilliant move saw the Wolves go further clear; from a scrum on the halfway line Jouffret fed scrum half Declan Patton and his superb short ball sent full back Jack Johnson motoring through to race fifty metres and score under the posts. Livett added the simple conversion.
The Wolves made sure of the win nine minutes from time when a spiralling high kick from Patton was brilliantly collected by Eccleston and he found King who put second row James Jones over wide on the left for his first try at Under 19s level. Livett tagged on the extras to round off a very impressive 28-6 success.
After the game Wolves head coaches Danny Fullerton and Lee Briers were understandably delighted with how their charges had performed. Fullerton said: “The way the players prepared for the game in a very professional manner was pleasing and it continued on the field with a top effort for the entire game. It was by far our best eighty minute display of the season against a fine Castleford side who have had some notable victories themselves this year and they deserve great credit for their contribution to an excellent game.
"Connor Adams had an impressive debut whilst James Jones had a solid eighty minute stint in the second row in his first start at this level. There are still areas that we need to work on and we will look to improve further next Thursday when we travel to Bradford Bulls.”
Briers added: “The mentality of the boys was first class; we learned lessons from our last Thursday night away game in Yorkshire when Leeds outplayed us. I thought the whole squad showed a lot of maturity and got their rewards with a comprehensive performance. We are setting the bar higher and higher each week and the lads are responding. A special mention should go to our back three of full back Jack Johnson and wingers Jake Eccleston and Brad Goulding, who came in for his first start in over nine months; they brought the ball back really well and continually got us on the front foot.”
Ashley Robson, Connor Hughes, Liam Blockley, Connor Taylor, Kane Riley, Jordan Howden, Danny Sowerby, Naz Currie-Clark, Tom Holmes, Will Mather, Brandon Westerman, Brad Hey, Scott Ellerington.
Subs: Jake Calem, Brad Day, Brandon Douglas, Jordan Sharp.
Tries: Douglas (42 mins).
Goals: Howden 1 from 1
Jack Johnson, Brad Goulding, Harvey Livett, Toby King, Jake Eccleston, Louis Jouffret, Declan Patton, Robert Holroyd, Sean Kenny, George King, James Jones, Sam Wilde, Ryan Maneely.
Subs: Tom Walker, Alex Whalley, Daniel Murray, Connor Adams.
Tries: Livett (5 mins), Goulding (48), Eccleston (53), Johnson (66), Jones (71).
Goals: Livett 4 from 5