After watching their counterparts in the Red portion of the U16s’ extremely large squad overcome Barrow, a week earlier, it was the turn of the Black group to take to the field last Sunday.
In what was their first outing of the season, they entertained Featherstone Rovers. With both sides choosing to have numbers to spare, Salford decided on a bench of seven players, two less than the Rovers, all of whom were utilised at some point during the game.
It was the visitors, however, who settled the more quickly,, taking advantage of a Salford error from the kick-off to gain possession and within moments, being rewarded with the opening try of the game.
Far from dispiriting the young Red Devils, this only served to galvanise them, and within minutes they had taken a two point lead, courtesy fullback, Josh Hayes who followed up a kick into the in-goal area, but which ricocheted nicely for him to touch down, and then convert his own try, much to the delight of Player Development Manager, Danny Barton,
Barton said: “That early error really changed their mind-set and they showed their determination not to let their heads drop.”
“From that point on they were making seventy metres at a time for each set, and were equally great when clearing the line. There were a few handling errors, though, and these did lead to them putting themselves under pressure from the Rovers, but then we just rebuffed them with our good goal-line defence, on at least five occasions.”
Having benefitted from some good fortune, the Red Devils confidence flooded back, and they followed this up with two well-worked tries, both converted by Josh Hayes. The first came from a handling move to the left hand edge where loose forward Deryn Harrison grounded
Substitute Peter Adinie was next on the score-sheet to finish off a long range attacking move which started at a scrum, and which, with the conversion, brought the score to 18-4, before centre, Jack Fairbrother completed the scoring for the first half, by following up a kick to bring a 22-4 halftime score.
Barton said: “There was a lot to be pleased about, because some of the lads had previously only played school rugby, so for them to have stood up and done so well, just shows the real depth of talent we have in this area.”
“On this occasion I left the halftime talking to my coaching staff comprising Stuart Wilkinson, Jay Boyden, Andy Knight, and Gerry Armstrong.”
With a comfortable lead to provide them with cushioning, the Red Devils exploited their position even further with Jack Fairbrother going on to complete his hat-trick, to earn the Man of the Match award. Gabriel Moura completed the scoring for the Red Devils, though the visitors recovered somewhat to notch a couple of well-deserved tries of their own, while Josh Hayes brought his goal kicking tally to five succeses from seven attempts.
Salford: Josh Hayes, Luke Watson, Cian Rhys, Jack Fairbrother, Ben Wharton, Dan Delaney, Shane Knight, Josh Grady, Sam Nichol, Josh Bentley, George Glover, Tom Guy, Deryn Harrison, Chad Wrigley, Michael Sackfield, Ben Strickland, Will Pettigrew, Josh Connolly, Peter Adinie, Callum Watts, Gabriel Moura, Cameron Smollett.