Saints’ forward power subdues lively De la Salle


“Della” are always one of Saints’ toughest opponents and it was to be no different in this contest at Lancaster Road, Salford. 

The home team’s defence was the toughest so far encountered by Anselmians’ free-scoring team and only Keswick’s strengthened home team have, so far, held our potential league winners to fewer points.

Della’s line speed was impressive with defenders sometimes, somehow, almost arriving before the ball. They also fought aggressively for the ball at ruck and maul; sometimes a bit too enthusiastically for the referee who awarded a total of five yellow cards against them; two at the same breakdown. So, for much of the game, Della were reduced to 13 or 14 men but, all credit to their indomitable spirit, they still put up stern resistance throughout.

Saints had shown last week that they can play controlled rugby in all conditions. They needed that versatility again in Salford where the pitch was already boggy when the match kicked off and became increasingly treacherous as the game wore on in the incessant rain which neutralised any advantage Anselmians may have had in midfield. But, as in last week’s game the dominance of Saints’ pack at scrum time, gave them the platform for another impressive away win.

From the outset, Saints pressed hard putting Della under constant pressure in their red zone. On 9 minutes, Della had a relieving kick charged down behind their line for Cavanagh to pounce for another try for the second-rower; his fourth so far this term.

The home team’s strong defence kept Saint’s at bay for most of the half but they could not compete at scrum-time and after 31 minutes they conceded a penalty try, infringing at several successive five-metre scrummages. 

But Della struck back on 38 minutes with a very well-struck long-range penalty.

Half Time: 03-12

Saints tried their best to break down De La Salle’s defence for the next quarter but then, sensibly, reverted to pushing them back into their corners with some superb tactical kicking by No.10 Dai Morley. From there, they dominated scrummages, often pushing Della off their own ball. From one such shove from 10 yards, No 8, Ewan Nolan secured the touch-down and Morley added the extras.

Almost immediately from the restart, a scrappy ball, slithering around Della’s 10-metre line, was gathered by Saints’ “pigeon-catcher” winger, James Whitehouse. Jimmy needs no invitation to find his way to the line and he sprinted the 40m past despairing challenges for another 5-pointer for him and 2 for Morley.

Full Time: 03-26

Saints have now completed the first half of the season and have beaten every team in the league once. Next week sees the start of the second round of matches with a home fixture against Bolton kick-off 2.15 Sat 18th Dec

De La Salle (Salford)
15 Benjamin Wheeler
14 Ryan Coussons
13 Michael Halsall
12 Sean Watson
11 James Woodward
10 Jay Boyd
9 Benjamin Riley
1 Stephen Parrott
2 Lee Salisbury
3 Robert Plant
4 Jack Rogers
5 Chris Petrou
6 Liam Watson
7 Ryan Worthington
8 Paul Berry
De La Salle (Salford) Subs
S1 Lee McCormick
S2 Thomas Dowson
S3 Nathan Wheeler

15 Andrew Cummings
14 James Whitehouse
13 Thomas Banks
12 Ransford Otutaha
11 Adam Bramhall
10 David Morley
9 Liam Sadler
1 Stephen Brooks
2 Craig Jones
3 Derek Salisbury
4 Niall Cavanagh
5 Jack Richards
6 William Grabe
7 Thomas Gilbert
8 Ewan Nolan
Anselmians Subs
S1 Jonathan Bonner
S2 Fred Clark
S3 Paul Sherlock

Anselmians 1st XV’s next game is at home to Bolton on Saturday 18 December 2021 for a 2.15pm kick-off.

Image credit: Derek Salisbury Snr

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