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U18s round off league campaign with win

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

The Saints Under 18s concluded their campaign in the Northern Conference Academy League with a solid 31-17 win over Sale Sharks. 

Sale started and finished the scoring, opening their account after just four minutes, before the Saints replied almost instantly before pulling away into an unassailable 31-10 lead. 

It was a scrappy start from both teams, and after a 22-metre restart from the Saints was kicked straight back at them a defensive mix up allowed the ball to bounce in strong winds and Sale winger Ali Wealthall raced on to a kind bounce to dot down between the posts.

The response was instant and simple. Grayson, kicking against the wind, kicked the Saints into a good attacking position before the driving maul - a key weapon all season - rumbled over once again with Ehren Painter controlling the ball all the way.

Just three minutes later, the Saints were once again rewarded for good attacking play with an attacking lineout. When the driving maul was this time well defended, the Saints showed the other side of their attack and a perfect Grayson lay off met Tosin Segun’s incisive line for the winger to run in untouched. 

On the stroke of half-time, Wilkinson scored a penalty to keep Sale in touch. Any hope of a comeback, however, was soon dashed after patient phase play was rewarded on 50 minutes as Jake Carter dived over from the base of a ruck. 

A well deserved fourth bonus point of the season was secured just after the hour mark when flanker Tom Brown muscled his was over the line, and Grayson completed his 100 percent kicking record on what could have been a difficult day from the boot.

Sale restored some credibility to the scoreline with the last play of the match in what was probably the best move of the entire game. Slick offloading, strong running and good decision making saw the Sharks attack from their own 10 metre line and score. 

TEAMS
SAINTS Burgess; Shaw, Hamilton, McKibbon, Segun; Grayson, Warn; Onojaife, Rayment, Painter, Dix, Kelland, Brown, Watson, Carter

Subs - Marmion, Cave, Trinder, Waring, Easton, Yuill, Green, Berill

SALE Wilkinson; Owen, Reed, Beavers, Wealthall; Burrage, Hodgson; Williams, Gregory, Weatherby, Pozniak, Bordill, Blackwell, Curry, Moore

Subs - Martin, Ross, Blanchard, Andrade, Walsh, Watson, Chonomona

TIMELINE
2mins SALE Missed Pen Wilkinson 0-0
4mins SALE Try Wealthall Con Wilkinson 0-7
7mins SAINTS Try Painter Con Grayson 7-7
11mins SAINTS Try Segun Con Grayson 14-7
35mins SALE Pen Wilkinson 14-10
HALF-TIME SAINTS 14 SALE 10
44mins SAINTS Pen Grayson 17-10
50mins SAINTS Try Carter Con Grayson 24-10
63mins SAINTS Try Brown Con Grayson 31-10
70mins SALE Try Owen Con Wilkinson 31-17
FULL-TIME SAINTS 21 SALE 17