Newcastle 40  Salford 20                  Match Report – David Clegg
Salford Red Devils U16s were taught a hard lesson, last Sunday, when, on their visit to Newcastle, they found their expectations for a relatively easy ride, to be ill-founded.  Following that 50-0 victory over the Thunder’s fellow Development Area, Cumbria, the previous week, the buoyant Devils proved to be somewhat over-confident, this time around.
The hard work, which had been so evident in the home opener, was noticeably missing, so the hard yardage and ruthlessness in defence just never materialised, and, as so often happens in such circumstances, their opponents, sensing this laxness, found themselves under less pressure than expected, and consequently grew in confidence themselves.
Not that arrangements prior to the kick off had been ideal.  Far from it, in fact, with the planned 7am departure thwarted by the bus’s failure to arrive.  Indeed, at one point it looked as though the game would have to be cancelled, but the club minibus, coupled with the generosity of parents in transporting part of the team in their cars, succeeded in getting all nineteen players up to the Falcons’ ground, twenty-five minutes before the game was due to start.
Coach, Danny Barton, however, is resolute in his opinion that the players must take responsibility for their own professional approach to any game, irrespective of outside circumstances.
“It was as much to do with the knowledge that Newcastle had managed to beat the Cumbrians by only two points, in an earlier fixture, that had the greatest effect on our players,” he insists, “and they allowed this to be at the forefront of their minds.
“Even our kick off was poor, and then we served up an array of fundamental errors, such as failing to find touch with penalties, and not allowing one of Newcastle’s kick offs to go directly into dead.  Along with a number of handling errors, all these things compounded to put us under pressure, and gave the opposition plenty of opportunity to attack our line, some of which led to tries.”
The first of those scores came early enough to serve notice on the visiting Red Devils, but centre Dane Wakefield responded with an unconverted try, which brought the sides level.  From that point on, however, Newcastle took control, building up a 16-4 lead, before Wakefield’s converted, second try brought some encouragement.
A half-time 22-10 deficit, however, told its own story, and the visitors turned round with some lea-way to make up.  Tries from Matt Jones and Josh Grundy, the latter of which Elliott Farrelly was again successful in converting, brought them to within two points of their hosts, 22-20, and one further score would have put them in front.
Ten minutes from time, it looked for all the world as though that was to be the case, when Dane Wakefield crossed in the corner, but, in his eagerness to enable an easier goal-kick, came round towards the posts where he was unfortunately crashed tackled as he went to ground the ball, losing control of it for what would have been his hat-trick.
After such a let off, it was then to be the Thunder who once more took the upper hand, finishing with three further scores, leaving Salford with the long trek home, and no early fixture with which to eradicate the memory, as a result of Cumbria’s cancellation of this weekend’s return fixture with them.
Findlay Swift, William Lynch, Elliot Farrelly (2G), Dave Wakefield (2T), Matt Jones (T), Owen Hayes, Thomas Woodward, Jonathan Thomas, Josh Grundy (T), Ben Bamber, Cameron Baker, Harry Saxton-Martin, Billy England, Tom Farr, Callum McGaughey , Jordan Hilton, Jordon Burns, Joe Lawler, Ben Rowland