Warrington Wolves U19s 48 - Wakefield Wildcats U19s 12
By Dave Whalley (image courtesy of Bob Brough)
Wolves U19s secure top spot. Pictured lifting their League Leaders' Shield, kindly donated by club partners Touchline
Warrington Wolves ensured that they finish as league leaders with a commanding performance against a very spirited Wakefield Trinity Wildcats side in the Academy Under 19s at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Thursday evening.
The Wolves knew that they only required one point from either of their last two league games to be mathematically certain of finishing in first place but there was never any doubt of it hanging in the balance until next week as they claimed a comprehensive victory in front of their own fans.
Warrington took the lead in the fifth minute when great hands saw the ball find full-back Declan Kay linking into the line and he passed to winger Jack Johnson who stepped round the cover to score in the left corner. Four minutes later a carbon copy of the first try, but this time on the opposite side, as superb hands saw Kay once again joining the line and he sent winger Jake Eccleston away and his lovely inside ball put centre Harvey Livett over wide out on the right.
Almost straight from the restart a brilliant move down the left started by hooker Sean Kenny saw him find centre Toby King and he sent Johnson racing away; his inside ball put the supporting Kenny over wide on the left. Stand-off Declan Patton converted but then Wakefield enjoyed a spell of pressure and that was rewarded when a break down the left by winger Tom Johnstone saw him race forty metres before kicking ahead for stand off Max Jowitt to win the race to collect and score under the posts to give himself a simple conversion.
Just after the half-hour mark quick hands once again by the Wolves stretched the Wildcats' defence and Kay and Toby King combined to find Johnson who stepped back inside to score on the left. Patton converted and then right on the stroke of half time King intercepted a Wakefield pass and raced thirty five metres to score at the side of the posts. Patton’s conversion made the half time score 26-6 to the Wolves.
Five minutes into the second half Wakefield scored their second try of the evening when excellent work by second row Nathan Stone put full-back Scott Lee through a gap and he raced clear before passing back to Stone who went over on the right. Jowitt converted but then twenty minutes later the Wolves were back in control; Patton forced a goal line drop out and after a couple of fine drives he and Toby King combined down the left to put Johnson over in the left corner to complete a fine hat trick. Patton converted from the touchline.
The Wolves were now at their rampant best and when a Patton grubber kick was fumbled by the Wildcats it gave them a scrum in a great position and after setting themselves up with some smart running the ball reached Patton who side-stepped his way through to score at the left of the posts. Patton converted himself and then almost immediately a clever cross-field kick by Patton was collected brilliantly by Johnson who broke clear down the left before kicking ahead for Kay to collect. A quick play the ball saw Patton fire out a long pass to Eccleston who brushed off three defenders to score wide out on the right.
Three minutes from time, superb play by Patton saw him shape up to kick out wide but instead he chipped over the defence and regathered to score at the side of the posts. He added the conversion to round off a very pleasing 48-12 victory.
After the game Wolves' Under 19s head coaches Danny Fullerton and Lee Briers were both full of praise for their side. They said: “It is a great achievement to finish in first place at the end of the regular league season and every single player in the squad can be rightly proud of their contribution. As well as the players on the field, the support staff have also played a pivotal role in the success to date; the coaches, management, strength and conditioners, medical staff and the performance analysts have all been absolutely first class. It is like a well-oiled machine; a real team effort. (Tonight) we started really well and took control of the game straight away to build up a healthy lead and although Wakefield had spells where they were on top territorially our defence stood firm on the whole and that enabled us to go in 26-6 ahead at the break. The start of the second half was a real arm wrestle with both sides' defences on top but then in the closing fifteen minutes we really stepped on the gas to run out comfortable winners. We will certainly not be resting on our laurels now; we have a big game at St Helens next Thursday which is the last of the regular rounds of matches and we want to go into the play-off games full of confidence. We will be working harder as hard as ever to make sure that we are ready for the massive games ahead.”
Declan Kay, Jack Johnson, Harvey Livett, Toby King, Jake Eccleston, Declan Patton, Louis Jouffret, Tom Walker, Sean Kenny, George King, Joe Philbin, Sam Wilde, Ryan Maneely.
Subs: Robert Holroyd, Andy Philbin, Daniel Murray, Alex Whalley.
Tries: Johnson (5 mins, 32, 65), Livett (9), Kenny (12), T King (40), Patton (70, 77), Eccleston (72).
Goals: Patton 6 from 9
Scott Lee, Brandon Conway, Harry Swan, Jacob Ware, Tom Johnstone, Max Jowitt, Josh Kittrick, Jack Teanby, Dan Maskill, Corbyn Kilday, Nathan Stone, Jack Walton, Jordan Crowther.
Subs: Brad Moules, Keiron Holt, Frazer Morris, Danny Douglas.
Tries: Jowitt (26 mins), Stone (45).
Goals: Jowitt 2 from 2
Photo courtesy of Bob Brough