|20th Jan 2005|| Friendly||AWAY ||3872 ||(HT:0:12)|
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 22. - ** non-playing sub|
COACH : Ian Millward
(2000-03-17 : 2005-06-17 )
MATCH REPORT : Saints overwhelmed Widnes Vikings in the Liverpool 08 Challenge with a fluent, powerful twelve-try display that will have excited the two thousand travelling Saints fans ahead of the start of Super League XI.
A dominant opening quarter from Saints produced three tries and a margin that was always likely to be insurmountable for a youthful Widnes Vikings side in conditions ideally-suited for the Super League side’s open, free-flowing attacking style.
The Vikings were rarely out of their own half in the first twenty minutes, and the pressure proved too much against a Saints side who quickly slotted into the groove in their first pre-season run-out.
Willie Talau scored the game’s first try on six minutes after quick passing stretched the defensive line. Aggressive defence kept the home side pinned back, forcing them to kick from within their own 30 metres on consecutive sets, allowing Saints to return the ball immediately past the halfway line. Saints found their way through, a crisp passing move involving five players created a gap for Paul Wellens to drift through to touch down.
Following their early successes, Saints focused again on their left-hand side with debutant winger Francis Meli scoring in the corner after long passes from Scott Moore and Leon Pryce.
Saints looked to repeat the trick on their next attack, but this time Vikings winger Lucas Onyango – deciding that attack was the best form of defence - intercepted Pryce’s pass and sprinted seventy metres to score under the posts.
Having feared a lopsided scoreline the Vikings were encouraged by their try, and twice in the next ten minutes Wellens had to make strong tackles on Paul Alcock and David Peachey to halt Vikings’ attacks.
Saints responded, though, to put the result beyond doubt with four tries in fourteen minutes either side of half-time. Keiron Cunningham scooped up a loose offload to score from ten metres, then Scott Moore profited from Woods’s knock-on on his own line.
Another knock-on from the Vikings in the shadow of their own posts laid the platform for Matty Smith to add his name to the scoresheet, and Gilmour became Saints’ seventh tryscorer when he crashed over from short range on 49 minutes.
With the game beyond doubt, Saints really turned on the style, scoring three fabulous tries in nine minutes: Meli claimed his second of the game after beating three defenders over fifty metres; Ian Hardman touched down his own kick-through from Fa’asavalu’s speculative pass after the Samoan had jinked through; Pryce, having had a hand in several tries, then went solo, scything through the defensive line before ghosting past Peachey.
There was still time for Ade Gardner and Scott Moore to score to complete the landslide victory, and leave everything nicely poised for the season ahead.
Vikings: David Peachey; Lucas Onyango, Damien Reid, Darren Woods, John Kirkpatrick; Bob Beswick, James Coyle; Aaron Summers, Phil Wood, Paul Alcock, Dayne Donoghue, Dave Allen, Lee Marsh.
Subs: Gary Hulse, Bruce Johnson, Paul Crook, Adam Sidlow, Paul O’Connor.
Saints: Paul Wellens; Ade Gardner, Jamie Lyon, Willie Talau, Francis Meli; Leon Pryce, Scott Moore; Nick Fozzard, Keiron Cunningham, Jason Cayless, Lee Gilmour, Jon Wilkin, Jason Hooper.
Subs: James Roby, Matty Smith, James Graham, Ian Hardman, Maurie Fa’asavalu, Ste Tyrer, Paul Clough, Ste Bannister.
Tries: Meli (2), Moore (2), Talau, Wellens, Cunningham, Smith, Gilmour, Hardman, Pryce, Gardner.
Goals: Lyon (9/10), Hooper (2/2).
Referee: R Laughton
STAR MAN: FRANCIS MELI
Two tries and a memorable shuddering challenge on Lee Marsh saw new signing Meli named as Liverpool 08's Man of the Match.
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