By Steve Phillips (images Bob Brough)
The U16s team got off to a great start and was able to keep its focus throughout the 80 minutes running out strong winners and ensuring that all the Wire sides came away from London with a win. It was a young Warrington team, with 12 of the players only 15 years old and six players making their debuts.
London kicked out on the full from the start and Warrington ensured they took full advantage. Tom Inman kicked the penalty from the halfway line deep into London territory; a tap and a couple of strong drives had Callum Murphy being stopped just a few metres out. Tom Inman in at dummy half had him dive over the line from a metre out. Ciaran Moody was on target with the first of his 10 conversions.
David Mills was next to score to help extend the lead. Warrington put the home side under pressure and forced a drop-out. They then conceded a penalty putting the Wire in a great attacking position; strong drives then got them close and a short pass from dummy half to Mills saw him crash over and wrestle the ball down. With the kick being taken just to the right of the posts it was no problem to get the conversion over for Moody.
London settled themselves and ensured that Warrington had to work hard for their next try; but th e visitors were able to capitalise on a loose pass to get them on the front foot again. The forwards punched holes in the London defence to get the team down to within 10 metres, then a flowing move through hands from left to right gave Rorio Zheng the time and space out wide to drive over. Moody was on target again and after 16 minutes it was 0-18.
A strong kick-return from Mills ensured the Wire started their next set from just short of the half-way line; on the last, a towering kick from Leon Hayes wasn’t collected cleanly by the defender who was under pressure from Rorio Zheng with Callum Murphy gathering the loose ball. He was able to muscle his way through three defenders to dive over. Moody was off target with the kick from out wide for his only miss of the first half.
Not to be outdone by his brother, Leo Zheng touched down next scoring one of his two tries and on his debut as well. Warrington had a scrum inside their own half after a knock-on by the Broncos and they went down their left channel for the first time in the game. Zheng received the ball out on the touchline and was able to around the onrushing full back before sprinting away from 30 metres out to score under the posts.
London were forced to kick-out from under their posts after some strong Warrington defence; fresh forwards Jamie Reddecliff and Joseph Cooper returned the ball with interest and ensured the Broncos’ defence was back tracking. A bullet pass from Hayes to Murphy in the right centre position caught the London defence napping and Murphy was able power over to score his second try of the game.
Warrington ensured they took every opportunity to get points on the board and it was Rorio Zheng’s turn again after 33 minutes to push the lead over even further. London failed to find touch with a penalty kick and Warrington ensured they paid the price. Working the ball from deep they went down their right channel again. Moody joined in the attacking line and created space for Zheng to sneak in at the corner. Charlie Bancroft scored, following his first touchdown the previous week against Wigan in the 37th minute, again another failed kick for touch was dealt with in exactly the same by Warrington by putting six more points on the board. A break in play for an injury gave Warrington time to access the Broncos’ defensive line and from the play-the-ball, Toby Hughes elected to chip into space hoping that Tom Burnett’s height advantage would tell. However, the ball bounced over his head, Bancroft was up supporting and gathered the ball at speed and no-one was going to stop him from a few metres out.
The final try of the first half was Rorio Zheng’s hat-trick to ensure the team went in having kept the home team scoreless. A break by Callum Newton had the London defence backtracking. Warrington quickly moved the ball from left to right with Hayes and Moody combining well again; Moody drew the defence and offloaded to Zheng 40 metres out. Zheng was able to accelerate away from the defensive cover and touchdown unopposed. Ciaran Moody was successful with all five conversions, ending the half with seven successful kicks and putting the score at 0-52.
While the game was mostly won, the young players came out for the second half having been told that they needed to earn the right to score tries again and not to take things for granted. London looked like they were told something similar as they scored the first try of the half. Warrington were knocking on the door to start strongly but a great break by London’s stand off Arthur Holding got them back over the half-way line. Broncos moved the ball wide and Joseph Saunders found enough room to squeeze in at the left edge. They weren’t able to convert but certainly had started the half the brighter team.
Both teams had stepped up their game and it was another 13 minutes before the try line was breached again, with Rorio Zheng going in for his fourth of the game. Warrington were awarded a penalty for a tip-tackle and took the tap penalty. Howard Hackett looked to have found a hole in front of the posts, but the defence was able to drag him down just short. Warrington then whipped the ball out wide to the right in just two passes to give Zheng the space again to dot down in the corner. Moody wasn’t able to convert from the touchline but the score had moved out to 4-56 in the 58th minute.
Back-to-back tries for Tom Burnett capped a fine debut game for the tall centre. A knock-on by London gave head and feed to Warrington only 10 metres out on the right. The Wire moved the ball across field and a short pass from Hayes to Burnett put him into a gap where he was able to utilise his height and reach over the line to score. His second only four minutes later came on the back of another knock-on close to the line. The Wire, tried without success, to penetrate the defence on their right before moving the ball across the field. On the last tackle Charlie Bancroft floated a ball from dummy half out to Burnett who looked to play it basketball style over his head to Moody who was clear on the wing. The defence was able to stop that move, but wasn’t quick enough to stop Burnett from re-gathering the ball and again reaching out to score. Moody was able to convert one of the two tries pushing the score out to 4-66 with less than 10 minutes to play.
The final try of the game was scored in the dying minutes by Leo Zheng to again cap off a solid debut performance by another u15s player. Warrington had got to half way and were looking to finish the set well, Bancroft passed the ball to Zheng from dummy-half who then went on a solo run, stepping firstly round the oncoming defence and then rounding the full back before sprinting the final 10 metres to score under the posts. No problems for Ciaran Moody to knock over his 10th conversion of the game and finish off the scoring at 4-72.
Allen, Max; Bejanidze, Luciano; Cannon, Daniel; Chapman, Frederick; Glover, Owen; Holding, Arthur; Jolly, Adam; Kennedy, Ben; Michael, Owen; Monk, Jensen; Nyamuzinga, Terence ; Pearce-Paul, Kaden; Phillips, Joseph
Subs: Porter, Tommy; Ramsay, Thomas; Reed, Alastair; Saunders, Joseph; Tennent, Padraic; Watts-Adams, Malachy
Moody, Ciaran; Zheng, Rorio; Murphy, Callum; Burnett, Thomas; Zheng, Leo; Darbyshire, Jack; Hayes, Leon; Mills, David; Inman, Thomas; Hackett, Howard; Woolfenden, Callum; Hartill, James; Barnes, Ashley
Subs: Kibula, Ambrosius; Bancroft, Charlie; Cooper, Joseph; Reddecliff, Jamie; Newton, Callum; Hughes, Toby; Foster, Evan
Tries: Inman, Mills, Rorio Zheng (4), Murphy (2), Leo Zheng (2), Bancroft, Burnett (2)
Goals: Moody 10
“It was a long day but a positive response from the defeat in the last game. The majority of the team was under 15. Most pleasing was the way that they executed their plays and kept their composure. We transferred what we did on the training ground into the game. There were lots of big performances especially in a team with a number of debutants. We will look to channel the enthusiasm that was on show today, correct a few areas and get ready for Huddersfield in two weeks.”