THE performance of the day was reserved for the Saints U15s as they outplayed their hosts at Wigan RUFC on Saturday.The 31-16 scoreline doesn’t do justice to the display as the Saints could and should have score 50 such was their dominance.The tone for the game was set in the opening three minutes as two massive hits from Lewis Hatton forced home knock ons deep in their territory. The latter resulted in a try for the impressive Phil Atherton as he took three over the line with him from Lewis Fairhurst jinking run.Hatton was again involved minutes later as his quick play the ball and an Aaron Smith offload gave Chris Worrall the easiest of run ins only to see the ball hit the floor.The home side drew level as a cross kick was hacked on and poor urgency from the Saints defence saw the ball touched down.Great cover defence from firstly Bobby Williams and then Jordan Houghton and Anthony Sherratt kept the Saints line intact.The Saints then broke out of defence aided by two quick penalties and took the lead through Houghton’s try. Drives to the corner from Hatton and Smith saw them both stopped inches short but from the play the ball Houghton’s magic feet saw him jink his way over at the posts for the score.On the stroke of half time only a great scrambling defensive set preserved the lead as the home side tried to capitalise on an uncharacteristic Williams’s error under the high ball.The scores were levelled early in the second period as the Saints had a brain explosion for one minute coming up with a poor carry and backing it up with terrible tackling to gift the try.But that was it as Ian Lomax and Mike Bennett’s side turned the screw for the rest of the game.Jake Campbell was held up over the line but two tackles later Lewis Fairhurst emulated his half back partner and jinked his way over for a well-deserved try.From the restart another Campbell drive resulted in a penalty and a chance to put on a tap penalty move. Dave Eccleston took the ball from the touch line, ambled to the mark, tapped it then exploded into action ccatching the defensive line totally unawares with a scything run to the line.Quick thinking from Fairhurst resurrected a blown attacking set with a well taken drop goal putting the Saints three scores clear.Hatton was again to the fore as his drive and offload found Morgan Knowles who was lively off the bench. Interplay from Houghton and Fairhurst mesmerised the defence and the stand off waltzed in for the try.A consolation try for the home side on the final whistle gave the score an artificial look but make no mistake this was a fantastic win.The pack steamrollered their bigger opposite numbers into submission. James Nicholl and Joe McLoughlin supported their starting colleagues well, Jonah Cunningham, Morgan Knowles and Aaron Smith ran the middle of the park allowing Houghton and Fairhurst to show their skills.But slightly shading it, in a good team performance, for best on the day was Lewis Hatton whose two big shots early doors set the tone for the display.Match Summary:Wigan Scholarship U15s:Tries: Isaac Noi, Sheldon Johnson, Dominic Wear.Goals: Tom Dempsey 2.St Helens Scholarship U15s:Tries: David Eccleston, Josh Houghton 2, Lewis Fairhurst, Phil Atherton.Goals: Lewis Fairhurst 5.Drop Goals: Lewis Fairhurst.Half Time: 12-6Full Time: 31-16Teams:Wigan:1. Jack Higginson; 2. Patrick Melling, 3. Isaac Noi, 4. Tom Dempsey, 5. Sheldon Johnson; 6. Dominic Wear, 7. Ryan Houghton; 8. Joel Pearson, 9. Connor Adams, 10. Jack Rush, 11. Jake Morris, 12. Kyle Shelford, 13. Alex Gaskell. Subs: 14. Jordan Jones, 15. Gavin Roden, 16. Luke Randall, 17. Sean Pilling, 18. Mark Roper.Saints:1. Bobby Williams; 5. Kieron Herbert, 3. Ryan Lynch, 4. David Eccleston, 2. Anthony Sherratt; 7. Josh Houghton, 6. Lewis Fairhurst; 10. Jake Campbell, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Phil Atherton, 11. Lewis Hatton, 12. Jake Spedding, 13. Chris Worrall. Subs: 14. Jonah Cunningham, 15. Morgan Knowles, 16. James Nicholl, 17. Joe McLoughlin, 18. Ben Morris.
MIKE Rush has reiterated the importance of last Friday’s win over Wigan as Saints go for Stobart Super League Playoff glory.His side beat the Warriors 26-18 in their final match of the regular season to set up tomorrow’s clash with Warrington.And it’s Saints’ commitment and overall performance that pleased him most.“Leading up the sending off I thought we were the better side,” he said. “It was important for us we started well in light of recent performances and the criticism of them.“Huddersfield proved that playing with 12 men doesn’t always guarantee you will get beat. Sending offs become talking points but they shouldn’t take away from how good we were at the weekend.“We needed to go into the Playoffs having beaten a team above us and also to get the monkey off our backs too. We’ve now had a little bit of success against all the teams around us and that is important. It was a big win and enjoyable for the players.”Saints are the only team to beat Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium this season and Rush is in no doubt they can do that again.“Back in March we were well down the table, went there and won and now we are third,” he added. “That is a reflection of how far we’ve come. We’ve climbed the ladder slowly and have gone under the radar.“We head into this game on the back of a win and have had an extra day recovery too. We know it will be a real challenge to win there, they have a good squad and we will need to be at our best to get through.“You have to respect the likes of Brett Hodgson, Lee Briers, Joel and Michael Monaghan, Garreth Carvell and show your players what attributes they have.“But we don’t go there in fear. We have to put pressure on them and let them worry about Robes, Sia, Jonny and TP. We will need to win it up front and make it hard to come off their goal line. We have won there before and can do again.”Tickets for the match, which kicks off at 6pm on Saturday September 15 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington, are still on sale.You can buy from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park up until 3pm on Saturday.