The relentless driving rain, which had precipitated the relocation of the Salford U19s’ home game with Barrow, on Wednesday afternoon, continued to take its toll on the Red team of the Cat 3 squad, by producing playing conditions with which they found the utmost difficulty in coping.
With their own field at the A J Bell completely under water, it was only thanks to the great spirited assistance of our good friends at St Peter’s RC School, Manchester, who most willingly sprang to our rescue by loaning their 4G pitch for the purposes of our fulfilling the fixture.
“It was a tough day for everyone concerned, with us having to decamp to the other side of Manchester, which was a considerable task in itself, but we are extremely grateful to St Peter’s, and our good friend, Jim Dixon in particular, for coming to our aid, and at such short notice,” coach, Danny Barton recounts.
Just as all this had affected Danny, so, too, it will also have affected the players themselves, with the whole build up to the match being disrupted and consequently different to their normal procedures.
“Not only that, the conditions far from suited us, whilst Barrow found them ideal for the physical dominance of their pack to assert itself,” Danny assesses,
“For ourselves, we just have to put it down to another piece of the players’ development. All I ask is that they stick to working at the processes we have been putting in place, and they will definitely benefit from doing so, as time goes on.”
The game was barely five minutes through, when the visitors swept in for two converted tries, but the Red Devils responded, with a try from hooker, Connor Aspey, who scooted through the defensive line from a play-the-ball, selling a neat dummy on the way.
Unfortunately, goal kicker, Connor Law, was unable to convert, and the Cumbrians proceeded to exploit their dominance by running in a further two tries before scrum half, Keiran Prescott, scored a fine individual try to pull back another four points, and bring the half time score to 24-8 in the visitors’ favour.
With first teamers, Rob Lui, Joey Lussick and Jackson Hastings, having made the journey across Manchester to support the lads from the touchline, there were hopes that the Salford players would make a quick response, but the second half belonged entirely to Barrow, with their strong powerful forwards taking complete control and forcing their hosts into errors both with, and without, the ball.
Centre, Joe Lawlor, showed some outstanding defence and deservedly was acknowledged as man of the match for Salford.
Next week sees another home game for the Reds, when they play Hopwood, in a return fixture, following their early season, narrow, away defeat. It will be an ideal test for the players to show how much they have learned and improved in the intervening couple of months.