Wakefield Wildcats Under 20’s season came to an abrupt end after a Lee Gaskell inspired performance resulted in St. Helens beating Trinity 60-0 at Langtree Park in the play-offs.
A nightmare afternoon started before the academy team went out for their warm up as 2012 Coaches Player of the Year Ryan Wright passed out in the dressing room after receiving a pre-match injection. The young hooker was out cold for a while which disrupted the pre-match routine but to Wright’s credit he amazingly still took part in the game after starting from the bench with Danny Ansell being promoted to play alongside Isaac John in the halves with Matty Wildie moving to hooker.
Despite the unsavoury preparation to the game the visitors started strong before Gaskell showed his guile and experience to start what turned out to be a heavy defeat for Glenn Morrison’s men. The half-back started things off with a 40/20 which led to a ninth minute opener from Saints winger Ben Parry. Trinity were still holding their own and forced two drop outs but Gaskell’s kick through at the opposite end of the field took a deflection and Mark Percival was quickest to react by touching the ball down with Gaskell converting his second of ten successful conversions.
At 12-0 down the imperious Gaskell raced the length of the field before getting hauled down by Wildcats full-back Jordan Grayston but that didn’t stop the try as the resulting play was worked to Danny Jones to storm over and put the hosts in full control. Jordan Hand then increased the lead before Adam Gledhill was sin-binned for what appeared to be dissent and Saints took advantage with Joe Greenwood scoring another try seconds before the break as the hosts led 30-0 at the half time whistle.
The game appeared out of sight when the youngsters, aided by the experience of John and the returning Wildie appeared for the second half and it certainly was on the 50 minute mark as Hand went over for his second score of the day. Two tries from Jordan Case were added along with scores Gaskell and Anthony Walker to round of a display that saw Wakefield thoroughly outplayed, much to do with the performance of Gaskell who converted all of his kicks successfully.
The defeat meant an end to the season for the Under 20’s as Glenn Morrison’s career at the club also finishing after the first team were beaten by Leeds on Saturday evening, hours after the defeat in Merseyside. The Australian told the League Express the build up was far from ideal after Dewsbury bound Wright became ill.
“A few of the boys were in shock because he passed out and was out cold for a while in front of everybody. It put our pre-game warm-up off but you can’t put the performance down to that, we played pretty good for the first 15 minutes but they defended their line well.
“After that we gave-in and that’s the disappointing thing as a coach, we should have had more respect for our try line and for what we’ve done this year,” said Morrison.
Saints: Charnock, Parry, Percival, Trumper, Wilde, Gaskell, Yates, Hand, Speakman, Walker, Hale, Greenwood, Jones. Subs: Baines, Tilley, Case, Hesketh.
Wildcats: Grayston, Parkin, Kay, Hardcastle, Fletcher, John, Ansell, Lillycrop, Wildie, Gledhill, Storey, Tate, Slater. Subs: Wright, Joynt, Healy, Shulver.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.