Tag: Morgan Escare

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH:  ST HELENS V SALFORD

Anyone who had felt that the Red Devils would not be able to follow up their vastly improved performance at Wigan with anything similar, only five days later, against the current Super League Champions, again on their own ground, must have had one almighty shock.  Not only did the Reds repeat their dominant performance of the previous week at the Totally Wicked Stadium, they improved on it even further.

Whereas at the DW, everyone had left feeling disappointed at our not managing to take the Warriors into Golden Point Extra Time, last night we were all disappointed that we had not won, for indeed, over the eighty minutes, Salford were the better team.

In fact, St Helens can consider themselves rather lucky to have come away with the points, and indeed there were many of their fair-minded supporters who readily acknowledged this.  They are renowned throughout the league for their uncompromising, physical, style of play, but, on this occasion, they came up against a team which was every bit as physical as they always are, if not the more so.

The first evidence Saints had that we were up against such a well-drilled, enterprising, and committed side, came as early as Josh Johnson’s first bone-crunching hit-up straight from the kick-off, followed in the third minute, when prop, Jack Ormondroyd, made a magnificent thirty metre break through the middle of the field.  Although that came to nothing in itself, with Brodie Croft eventually being held short of the line, the fact that Ormondroyd had torn through the defence with seeming ease, served to inspire the whole side even further.

It was, consequently, of no surprise, when, on a second foray into their hosts’ ten metre area, their slick handling carved out sufficient room for Morgan Escare’s cleverly angled running to get him over the line, and with Chris Atkin’s conversion from his only reasonably positioned goal-scoring opportunity, giving them a six-point lead.

Indeed, if you were looking for an aspect of the game in which Salford were particularly unfortunate, it was that their subsequent two attempts at goal, which included a penalty on half time and a second half conversion, were both considerable distances out.

The game changed, unfortunately, at the mid-point of the half, when carelessness in the timing of their defensive line speed, which throughout most of the game so troubled the home side, on this occasion brought Saints a penalty, at a time when they were being penned back on their line.   In one of their best sets of the match, they gained sufficiently good field position, and possession, to cross for an unconverted try.

Sadly, this proved to be not just one but two, back-to-back, scores, the second of which came most fortuitously for the Saints, from the ball ricocheting at the end-of-set kick, off Escare and into the arms of Welsby, barely a metre from the try line.

The only try of the second half came from Salford, as a result of their continued adherence to their game-plan, in which they had gone head-to-head with St Helens, set by set, giving every bit as good as they were given, in a trial of physicality.

On a couple of occasions Saints were even forced to end their sets with kicks still within their own thirty metre area, while time and again, back would come Salford, to pin them down in their own twenty.  It was from one such set that with the assistance of a set-restart, former Saint, Matt Costello, had the great pleasure of going over in the corner for an equalising try, against his former club

Even after going behind to the two penalty goals, the Red Devils were not finished.  An interception by Chris Atkin saw him race clear over seventy metres, only to be caught from behind less than ten metres from the try line.

The final minute of the half, following the sin-binning of Welsby for the professional foul of preventing a quick play-the-ball, saw St Helens having to resort to using the set-restart rule to their own defensive advantage, by which they limited the number of tackles they had to complete, in the final fifty seconds, to only three, simply by holding tackled players down for several seconds at a time, thereby preventing any properly organised assault on their line, and finally forcing one of very few Salford handling errors, to overcome the threat.

Without succeeding in winning, however, Salford players must have gained considerable confidence from their performance against such illustrious opponents.  The fact that the Saints were able to scrape home, thanks only to two kickable penalty goals in the last ten minutes, tells its own story.  All that is needed now is for this form to be taken into the next few fixtures, starting with our home game with Leeds in a fortnight’s time.

Marshall – “He’s a shining star for us”

Head coach Richard Marshall was delighted with a number of individual performances from his Red Devils side in last Saturday’s comfortable victory over Widnes Vikings in the Betfred Challenge Cup.

 The dominant 68-4 victory over Widnes booked the Red Devils a place in the Quarter-Finals of the Betfred Challenge Cup, in what was Marshall’s first runout in the competition as the Salford head coach. 

 The victory was highlighted by a Man of the Match performance from Jack Ormondroyd, and Morgan Escare and Matt Costello both picking up two tries each on their debuts for Salford.

 It was a particularly great afternoon for Ormondroyd, who repeatedly broke the Widnes line and looked a constant threat, capping his Man of the Match performance with a try of his own. 

 Speaking on Salford’s number 25, Marshall said: “He’s one of those unsung heroes within our team. He had a really good, solid game for us, he looked strong in contact, but his challenge would be to do that every week.

 “Hes probably on the periphery of the first team at our club. He’s not a young man anymore, if he wants to be Super League player, hes going to have to play week in, week out against the best team and packs in the country. 

“He’s been good over the past couple of weeks so he’s a shining star for us.”  

 Marshall was also full of praise for Escare and Costello.

 “They’ve obviously been knocking on the door the last couple of weeks,” Marshall added.

“Both new players to our club and both took their opportunities really, really well. I thought defensively, Matt had some reads when challenged and I thought Morgan was everywhere… he’s electric. They’ll gain a lot of confidence.” 

 Despite the blowout win, Marshall still acknowledged the effort put in from Widnes, in a contest that began quite evenly matched.

Marshall said: They had some quality in their troops. I thought their half backs had a good go and challenged us at times. But for our guys we scored some wonderful points.

“Albeit it was against a Championship side, but you’ve still got to score, make breaks, offload and from that point of view it was really encouraging.”  

Salford travel to Castleford Tigers in the Betfred Challenge Cup Quarter-Final, which will be contested over the first weekend of May.

Image credit: Steve McCormick

Written by: Callum Williams

Salford Red Devils 12-40 Wigan Warriors

Salford Red Devils were unable to open their Super League campaign with a victory as Wigan Warriors ran out deserved 40-12 winners at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday evening.
Kris Welham and Niall Evalds crossed for The Red Devils, but the visitors were far superior in what was a clinical seven try display.
Oliver Gildart and Liam Marshall claimed a brace apiece while Tom Davies, Morgan Escare and Tony Clubb also crossed for the visitors.
However, it was The Red Devils who made the brighter start to the contest, it took just three minutes to open scoring as Gareth O’Brien’s grubber kick appeared to outwit the Warriors line, before Kris Welham picked up the loose ball and touched down under the posts, O’Brien successfully scored the resulting goal.
Wigan responded well and were rewarded for their efforts just eight minutes later as a superbly timed pass from Dan Sarginson resulted in Tom Davies going over in the corner, although Sam Tomkins’ conversion was unsuccessful.
The Warriors looked intent on making a real statement and they took the lead in the 16th minute when former Red Devils Oliver Gildart latched onto a low kick before sliding across the whitewash, Tomkins kicked his first goal of the contest.
Despite the margin, Salford responded well and were unfortunate not to have scored themselves when Gareth O’Brien broke clear, the move resulted in Greg Johnson eventually being found, however the winger was unable to capitalise on the opening and was subsequently pushed into touch by the Warriors’ defence.
This move appeared to rejuvenate The Devils, moments later they forced Wigan into their in-goal area after showing sheer resilience in defence throughout the set.
Unfortunately for the hosts, their good work was undone six minutes prior to the interval, Salford were temporarily reduced to 12 men as George Griffin’s tackle was adjudged to have been dangerous by referee Robert Hicks.
Wigan quickly picked up where they left off in the second period, three minutes into the half Liam Marshall broke down the wing before superbly executing a lofted kick over the back of the Salford backs, Morgan Escare scooped up the loose ball before crossing the whitewash relatively unchallenged.
Reds boss Ian Watson will be disappointed the start his side made to the half, a combination of lapses of concentration and individual errors prevented the hosts from building any real momentum when in attack as well as allowing Wigan to create numerous try-scoring opportunities.
The visitors continued to overhaul the Salford defence as they scored a remarkable four tries over an 11 minute period.
First, Sam Tomkins delivered a low kick, to which Liam Marshall latched onto before diving over, Tomkins added the extras to take the scoring up to 22-6.
Wigan demonstrated an excellent kicking game throughout and they extended their lead moments later when George Williams’ lofted kick deceived the entire Salford back-line and Marshall sprinted 30m to claim his second score of the contest.
Soon after, Marshall was heavily involved again, this time he turned provider as he timed his pass to his perfection and found the onrushing Gildart, who ran clear for the second occasion of the evening.
Remarkably, The Warriors weren’t finished there, Tony Clubb powered over in the 67th minute to inflict further misery on The Red Devils, Tomkins added the conversion to take the Warriors up to 40 points.
Salford’s determination was rewarded six minutes from time as Niall Evalds pulled off a fantastic finish in the corner to earn a much needed consolation try for, O’Brien again converted the extras to reduce the deficit to 28 points.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Johnson, Lui, O’Brien, Mossop, Wood, Tasi, Jones, Hauraki, McCarthy  Interchanges: Burgess, Griffin, Littlejohn, Kopczak
Wigan Lineup: S. Tomkins, Davies, Sarginson, Gildart, Marshall, Williams, Powell, Flower, Leuluai, Clubb, J. Tomkins, Farrell, Sutton  Interchanges: Escare, Isa, Tautai, Nuuausala
Salford Scorers: Tries- Welham (3’),  Evalds (74’)
Goals- O’Brien (4’, 75’)
Wigan Scorers:  Tries-  Davies (11’), Gildart (16’, 63’), Escare (43’), Marshall (56’, 61’), Clubb (67’)
Goals- Tomkins (17’, 44’, 57’, 62’, 64’, 67’)
Man of the Match: Gareth O’Brien
Referee: R. Hicks
Touch Judges: J. McMullen, G. Jones
Attendance: 5,568
By Ryan Booth