By Dave Whalley (images by Bob Brough)
Warrington Wolves Under 19s produced an unbelievable defensive display that provided the platform for them to record an excellent away victory at Bradford Bulls in the Under 19s Academy on Thursday evening at Bradford Dudley Hill ARLFC.
Bradford got off to the perfect start when they forced a drop-out from the kick-off and, from that, half backs Harry Shackleton and Matthew Race combined to create space for centre Ryan Butterworth who scored wide out on the right. The Wolves responded four minutes later when a handling error from the Bulls saw stand off Riley Dean pounce on the loose ball and send winger Lewis Hall on a 50-metre dash to score in the right corner. Dean added a superb touchline conversion.
The Wolves hit the front shortly after when hooker Padraig Anglin-Sheedy went from dummy half and forced his way over from close range at the side of the posts. Dean converted and just after the midway point of the half good hands close to the Bradford line saw the ball reach second row Connor Wrench who used great footwork to round the cover and score on the left.
The Bulls then had a sustained period camped on the Wolves’ line with six consecutive full sets but great defence by the Wire boys kept them at bay. Right on the stroke of half time the Wolves broke clear courtesy of a great drive from substitute Daniel Harper and quick hands saw full back Josh Thewlis link into the line to score in the left corner. This made the interval score 20-4 in the Wolves’ favour.
Seven minutes into the second half Wolves’ scrum half Joe Barnes went down the blind side and fed Wrench who raced 40 metres stepping through the Bradford defensive line on a 40-metre break before passing back to Barnes who raced over at the side of the posts. Dean converted and just after the hour mark a great run from dummy half by substitute George Roby split the Bulls’ defence, with a quick play the ball, centre Nathan Roebuck scored wide out on the right. Dean added the conversion.
Ten minutes from time Thewlis broke clear down the right and raced 60 metres to score in the corner to complete a very impressive 36-4 win for the Wolves.
Alfie Goddard, Murphy Smith, Ryan Butterworth, Sam Smith, William Adams, Harry Shackleton, Matthew Race, Ebon Scurr, Cameron Berry, Keelan Foster, Bradley Gallagher, Ethan O’Hanlon, Lochlan McGill.
Subs: Billy Jowitt, Kieran Brining, Anesu Mudoti, Bradley Ho.
Tries: Butterworth (2 mins)
Josh Thewlis, Lewis Hall, Nathan Roebuck, Cole Oakley, Henry Collins, Riley Dean, Joe Barnes, Morgan Burgess, Padraig Anglin-Sheedy, Jacob Chamberlain, Ellis Longstaff, Connor Wrench, Tayler Brown.
Subs: George Roby, Jacob Gannon, Daniel Harper, Alex Pendlebury.
Tries: Hall (6 mins), Anglin-Sheedy (13), Wrench (24), Thewlis (40, 70), Barnes (47), Roebuck (61).
Goals: Dean 4 from 7
“I was delighted with the way that the boys applied themselves, especially in defence. There were long periods when we were under the pump from a very big and physical Bradford side but they guarded their line with their lives and got the rewards from that by scoring some excellent tries. I asked them before the game to be more aggressive in collision as we were a bit passive against London and they certainly took that on board and went out and produced. The pride they showed in wearing the shirt certainly shone brightly. We have no game next week so it will give us plenty of time to work on a few areas and get ready for our next fixture at home to Newcastle Thunder on Saturday 27 April, kick off 12.00pm at Victoria Park Stadium where we will look to put in another good performance.”