The Tigers put a string of poor performances behind them on Saturday to produce a stunning 8 try demolition of the high flying St Ives Roosters. Four trys in each half were reward for the Tigers most accomplished performance of the season so far in both attack and defence. The Roosters have been scoring freely all season and the Tigers suffocated them in the first half reducing all their attacking options and leaving them 22-0 down at the break!
The first score of the game didn't come until a fair way into the first half with both sides clearly wary of each other but the Tigers superior completion rate soon payed dividends and Svend Larsen marked his return to the starting line up by scything through the St Ives defence to score wide on the right. Rob Ashton maximised the score with the conversion before the Tigers came straight back for more. Enterprising half back play from Colin Liddell found Larsen in space once more and his pace proved too much as he raced 30 metres to add a second. Paul Ryder then showed great awareness to create enough space to jink around his opposite number and add a third in quick succession.
The Tigers weren't just dominating the attack though. The defensive effort across the park was frustrating the Roosters not more so than when they finally breached the Tigers line they found themselves held up in goal after a superb display of tackling and strength from Richard Muncaster to keep the score board clean.
Craig Walker rounded off a fine first half display with a try from acting half which Ashton converted to leave the score 22-0 at half time.
The Second half started in much the same way as the first as both sides exchanged blows in the early stages before the Roosters finally made it onto the score board after stand off Paul Ashbridge asked questions of the Tigers defense and his side step landed him in all the space he needed to touch down under the posts.
They added a second unconverted try after a momentary lapse in concentration led to the Tigers defending 3 sets of 6 on the bounce but it was all that they would manage all afternoon as the Tigers began to hit back. Sam Richbell led from the front with endless running and the experienced head of Gary Flook caused problems all match while new boy Matt Elson and Rich Muncaster continued to graft away in both attack and defence. Richy Sinclair was also at his scintillating best at full back returning almost every kick with interest setting up the platform for the rest of his side to build on.
Luke Donaldson continued his impressive introduction to rugby league with a brace of trys to restore the Tigers dominance of the scoreline. The first came from some swift hands from Tom Stafford and his second after Richbell had ghosted through the defensive line and managed to pull off an impossible offloaded pass.
Rob Ashton capitalised on a tiring Roosters defence to scoot over from acting half before Craig Walker sealed the deal in almost identical fashion 2 minutes from time!
"We've had a rocky season up until now but things are improving dramatically. We've altered a few things in training and we are really starting to come good at the right time, especially with the playoffs right around the corner! Injuries are down and enthusiasm is up, the lads are really starting to enjoy their rugby... and it helps that the sun is starting to poke his head out now too!
Tries - Luke Donaldson (2), Craig Walker (2), Svend Larsen (2)Paul Ryder, Rob Ashton
Goals - Rob Ashton (4), Paul Ryder (1)
Man of the Match - Colin Liddell
Other notable performances from Munky, Sam, Matt Elson, Paul Ryder, Richy Sinclair and Gary Flook! In Fairness we could mention the whole team here!
Squad - Sinclair, Donaldson, Larsen, Scales, Baker, Liddell, Ryder, Parias, Walker, Richbell, Tompkins, Elson, Ashton, Flook, Moliterno, Muncaster, Murphy, Strand, Harrison, Stafford