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WANDERERS REPORT Youngsters shine in success against Saracens

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

There were plenty of positives to take back up the M1, not least Paul Diggin's first action of the regular season and more minutes under the belt for Sam Dickinson. But for all the effort put in by the experienced heads it will be the youngsters who will get the headlines.


All four try scorers came from the Saints Academy, Ryan Glynn going over in the first half, Matt Williams, Howard Packman and Alex Wootton in the second. And while the scores came out of the top drawer the visitors' defence should also come in for plenty of praise for holding firm under repeated Saracens onslaughts.


Indeed the Wanderers did well to keep the score at 0-0 in the first quarter, forcing Eoin Sheriff to fumble the ball a couple of metres out and Dickinson doing well at the base of a retreating scrum time and again to make sure his team had a platform from which to clear.


One break from the Number Eight put Vasily Artemyev away up the left wing, and the Russian emphasised his lively start with a juggling interception which sparked the move that brought the first points of the day.


Skipper Ben Nutley was also to the fore, breaking a couple of tackles en route to the home 22, and his offload to Glynn allowed the scrum-half to stroll over.


The try may have been somewhat against the run of play, but once they found themselves in front the Wanderers put together some good phases with ball in hand. Teimana Harrison was another powerful presence in the loose, with James Wilson making some intelligent plays at inside centre.


And while the Wanderers were under pressure in the scrum, at lineout time they were reigning supreme, stealing one throw after another to relieve pressure in their own half.


It took 38 minutes for Saracens to get on the scoreboard, Ben Spencer landing a penalty, and it was the hosts who maintained the pressure after the re-start.


Like Nils Mordt in the first half, Wilson saw a monstrous clearance bounce agonisingly over the dead ball line. This gave Saracens a scrum inside the visitors' 22, and although a stunning tackle from Scott Armstrong on Mark Kohler prevented a try the hosts maintained their position, taking the lead for the first time from Spencer's second penalty.


Wilson had seen yellow for his sins, and in his absence the Wanderers did well to resist the continued Saracens attacks, conceding just a long range penalty which Spencer pushed wide.


Then after having been under the cosh for most of the half the Wanderers struck twice on the hour mark. Coaches Alan Dickens and Mark Hopley would have been hoping for their replacements to make an impact, but not even they could have foreseen the 90 seconds of stunning attacking play that put their team back in front.


First over the line was Williams. Although a hooker the youngster can also fill in on the flank, and after making an initial burst he popped up again to power through the defence to score.


That try was impressive enough, but what followed was even more eye-catching. Now playing at centre, Armstrong showed good awareness and sleight of hand to put Packman into space, and while there was plenty still to do the England Under-18 winger had more than enough pace to scythe past two defenders to go over the whitewash.


Both scores were between the sticks, and with Sam Olver's two conversions all of a sudden the visitors had a 19-6 lead.


That's not to say that the Wanderers had things their own way, and while Tom Hicks made a try-saving tackle on Nathan Earle in the corner the defending left a little bit to be desired when veteran Justin Melck powered through three blue shirts to score.


This brought the deficit back to eight points with six minutes to play, but any doubt about the final result was put to rest when another replacement, wing Wootton, went over in the final play of the game.


TIMELINE

22mins WAND Try Glynn 0-5

37mins SAR Pen Spencer 3-5

HALF-TIME SARACENS 3 WANDERERS 5

45mins WAND Yellow card Wilson

45mins SAR Pen Spencer 6-5

48mins SAR Miss pen Spencer

59mins WAND Try Williams Con Olver 6-12

61mins WAND Try Packman Con Olver 6-19

74mins SAR Try Melck 11-19

80mins WAND Try Wootton 11-24

FULL-TIME SARACENS 11 WANDERERS 24