Well this performance continued in the flat, bedraggled
fashion that has been consistent during the Under 20s
season so far. They struggled for most of the game as they
failed to win for the sixth time in their last nine
Saints had the considerable first team experience of Lee
Gaskell and Jamie "Please Don't Mess My Hair" Foster to
call upon but even though they deserved victory, they
didn't exactly win at a canter. It was a poor game to tell
The visitors took control very early on with a 4th
minute try from Jayden Sandford, who had played for Wigan
in their Grand Final victory over Warrington at this level
last season. Foster couldn't convert - 4-0.
Saints were targeting the right wing and got success out
their again on 17 minutes, this time it was centre Mark
Percival scoring in a try that was almost identical to that
of Sandford. Foster converted for 10-0.
Then on 29 minutes a try from Alex Clare extended that
lead further, with Foster adding the extras for 16-0.
Whilst the visitors certainly had the first half
advantage of a blustery wind, Wigan looked very flat, which
perhaps is unacceptable for a derby? We struggled for go
forward and to be honest, we claimed a try back on 36
minutes that was barely deserved.
It was a rare attack for us but Ben Flower managed to
muscle his way over from close range. Despite the wind
however it was a poor missed conversion for Jack Murphy.
Still at 16-4 it was a good return off a poor first half
Perhaps, I'm being harsh because Wigan improved second
half and maybe the wind was a major factor. First try of
the second half was important for Wigan to claim and James
Greenwood did so on 48 minutes from close range. Murphy's
conversion bringing Wigan within one score at 16-10 down.
Wigan were now playing much stronger and looking more
likely to get level than concede again, but a double-whammy
occurred just after the hour mark. Dom Crosby had touched
down a neat kick into the in goal but referee Brett
Robinson ruled it out, I think for offside. Then within a
couple of minutes, Saints went up the other end and scored
on the right again with Percival claiming a second try. So
what would have been 16-16 had now become 10-20 down and it
was too much for Wigan to claw back in such a tight, hard
to make yards contest.
We actually had another try disallowed later in the last
quarter of the match, that could of made things interesting
at the end, but I find it hard to argue against the final
score being fair.
I think Lee Gaskell was the difference overall. He
organised Saints and had a far better kicking game than
Scott Leatherbarrow for us. Our 16 year old half back Ryan
Hampshire finished the game well but for the first hour or
so I think his inexperience at this level was exposed
against far more experience half back combo for Saints. One
to learn from for him.
Post Note to this is news that Ben Flower has pulled his
hamstring again in this match. A shame because he's looked
good the two times I've seen him play recently but clearly
he'll be out for a bit longer yet. Get well soon Petal!