1st Grade - Report
|Gloucester Warriors||34||vs||38||LEICESTER STORM|
Jimmy Barnes stars in an all action win in Gloucester
The second row sensation stared in a youthful looking team in Gloucestershire this weekend; helping his side to a 34-38 win!
Austin Huntley, who continued at centre, opened the scoring with under 5 minutes on the clock; stand in captain Adam Jones rolled the ball out wide on a well worked attacking field set and Huntley strolled through the gap to score his first try in the purple & blue! Weston converted.
Gloucester struck back with a brace of tries coming from their outstanding half back, who picked holes in the young storm defence. His back to back tries gave the home side the lead until 20 minutes in Jones leveled the scoring. Two strong drives up field from forwards, Karl Harris and Josh Mclaurin, set a good platform for dummy half, Callum Dacey to grab five more yards and Jones stole another yard for the try. Weston converted, but Storm had paid the price as star forward, Josh Mclaurin's afternoon had come to an end with a badly sprained ankle. The forward had been making strong yards and was a rock in the already inexperienced Storm defensive line.
A much improved penalty count from last week, however, Storm were still conceding needless penalties in dangerous areas. 17 year old Blake Turner, who was making his 1st Grade debut for Leicester Storm, put in a good shift on left wing taking down players 3 times the size of him... with a "do or die" attitude. With 5 minutes to go in the 1st half the smallest man on the field, Turner, seem to grow another foot and 10 stone in weight, as he dished out a big shot on the Gloucester forward; sending the big man tumbling; the tackle was penalised as it was seen as being slightly too high, never-the-less the winger had made a mark on his 1st grade debut. The 5 foot nothing winger, then put his body on the line to stop a certain try, aided by Dacey, the pair managed to push the large winger out of touch.
Dacey also managed to chase down the home side winger minutes later, after giving him a 10 meter head start. The away side were riding their luck with 10 minutes to go, last ditch tackles from Etherington and Warren saving certain tries as the Gloucester forwards attacked a tiring Storm defence.
Into the second half, and the away side needed so killer instinct and got it in the form of vertan winger, playing at prop, Karl Harris. His rampaging runs in the forwards and scared the life out of Gloucester all game, and his first run in the second half was no different, breaking several tackles in the process and touching down in the corner.
Gloucester answered back immediately as they marched down field through their forwards, and once again their influential fly half took control and score close to the posts, also converting this try much like all the others on the day. Not to be out-done, Storm half back Jones, scored a sensational breakaway try. Barnes had broken the defensive line on his own 20 meter line and then off loaded to Warren in the tackle. The flying right winger made 40 meters before being tackled and playing the ball quickly, which Etherington picked up and playing to Jones who went 60 meters untouched. Who knew the "Doncaster loud mouth" had so much speed? Weston Converted.
Storm were once again pegged back as Gloucesters forwards brought the score back to level at 22-22; the away sides defence were tiring as Alex Sanderson got a big blow to ribs, which meant the forwards we now rotating with 1 interchange. But this wouldn't stop Harris from grabbing his second try of the day; Gloucesters number 11 giving away his 8th penalty of the game, and gave Storm great field position. Then from 10 meters out it was going to be hard to stopped the monsterous forward.
For the next 10 minutes, The Warriors struggled to get out of their own half as Barnes and Dacey combined with numerous tackles; at one stage Barnes managed to complete an iron-man set - making five back to back tackles and forced the fly half into a knock giving the Storm possession in the Gloucester 30 meter zone. Then with 12 minutes to go the home sides ill discipline struck; Etherington who had run his socks off all afternoon made a great break from dummy half, only to be chopped down via his neck with 5 meters to go to the try line. Then as soon as he got up he recieved a head butt for his troubles, right in front of the referee. The Gloucester forward was sent from the field for a early bath. Captain, Jones, made them pay immedaitely, as he tapped and went over from close range; completing his hat-trick in an accomplished display from the half back. Weston converting from near the touch line.
The warriors did grab another try to bring them back into the game, with five minutes remaining; the away sides exhustion with a squad of 14 men, really showing across their faces. But with 3 minutes to go, dummy half Etherington, collected a quick play of the ball from Jones; and stepped inside two players to finish off the game. Weston again converting. With 40 seconds remaining, the Gloucester back half took an interception on his own try line, as Storm pressed once again - collecting a pace from Jones, which seemed to be his only mistake of the game - the half back went the length of the field and touch down under the posts and converted his try to finish off proceedings.
Storm taking the points on a topsy turvy day of rugby league, 38-34.
After the game, StormTV caught up with the Leicester Head Coach and he had this to say;
"Considering how young the squad was today, I am really impressed with the performance. I asked them to give everything they've got and to not stop running until the final whistle. If you look at them now, they are physically crawlling off the pitch. We lost a big player early on, with Josh [McLaurin] turning his ankle but the young forwards like Salmon, Hay and Sanderson put a really good showing. I couldn't be more prouder!"
Half-back, Jack Boothby, was also full of praise for the young players;
"The under 18's really stepped up today and showed what an impressive youth development this club has. The likes of Callum [Dacey], Blake [Turner] and [Mark] Etherington, and all the other lads really worked hard for the team and I'm sure Tim will take note of the commitment of some of these players."
Man of the Match: Liam Barnes - the second row is known for his commitment and passion on the rugby field, and his work ethic rubbed off on the team, as he carried the ball for big yards and made a horrifying amount of tackles - even completing a iron man set.
NEXT WEEK: Storm 1st Grade have a week off before their Challenge Shield last 16 game against Fryston RFL.