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Salford City Roosters 30 Crosfields (Warrington) 18

Roosters got the first win of the new campaign, in their second pre season friendly against a vastly improved Crosfields team.

The Warrington side will be playing in division 3, the division below the Roosters this year, but there was very little to choose between the sides in this full-blooded contest. Defences played a big part in the game with hooker Hayden James and stand-off Jack Reed starring for the visitors while Paul Morgan and Lee Salisbury pulled off some excellent tackles for the Roosters, but at the end of the day the difference between winning and losing was most likely the superb man of the match performance from Roosters’ winger George Kemp.

The Roosters opened the scoring with their first attack of the game when Bradley White’s high kick was spilled by full back Nathan Taylor and Kemp swooped for his first try, which White improved (6-0), and it looked like the Roosters would be in for a another big win, having defeated Crosfields heavily in the last 6 meetings. This Crosfields outfit however, are a much more determined bunch this season, and although they never threatened to score in the opening quarter their defence never gave the Roosters another “sniff”.

On 20 minutes everything changed, and it looked like the teams had just swapped shirts as Crosfields started to dominate and it was Roosters turn to defend resolutely. In a 4 minute spell Salford conceded 2 goal line drop-outs when Morgan was tackled in-goal and then Danny Trimble was gang tackled back over his try line. Roosters also held up Crosfields over the try line twice with Morgan, Salisbury and Steve Barry holding up Matt Mahoney followed by Morgan, Salisbury and Marc Jones denying Jordan Ansell. Roosters finally cracked though, on 32 minutes, when Craig Eves dived over close to the posts and Reed added the conversion to go in level deservedly at half time 6-6.

Crosfields started the second half as they had finished the first – on the front foot and causing Roosters to defend manfully again. On 44 minutes Ben Connor held up John Pickersgill close to the line and then, when the ball was moved swiftly to the wing, Morgan just managed to swing Ansell’s foot into touch as he put the ball down in the corner. The visitors did take the lead though on the very next attack. A break from half way was finished off by James, between the sticks, leaving Reed an easy conversion (6-12), but the Roosters’ response was immediate. It came on 48 minutes when Kemp broke down the wing, over the half way line, drawing full back Taylor before sending White clear for a try that he also converted (12-12). Indeed, White went on to convert all 5 of his kicks.

Salford regained the lead on 55 minutes, quickly turning defence into attack. Tom Smith picked up a Crosfields attacking kick and released Morgan. Then the ball was moved quickly across the pitch for White to feed Kemp on the wing. Kemp beat the Crosfields defence for pace and then simply ran straight over full back Taylor to gibe Roosters a 18-12 lead.

If Kemp’s second try was a scorcher, his hat trick, on 62 minutes was even better and easily the try of the match. Nobody else was involved. He caught an attacking kick on the full, on his own try line and stepped out of a couple of attempted tackles, then once clear of the first line of defence nobody was going to stop him. A couple of Crosfields players gave chase but gave up well before he scored his length of the field try (24-12).

On 69 minutes Roosters forced a goal line drop out with Smith chasing White’s kick to tackle Ian Bowen in goal and on 74 minutes White intercepted a wayward pass to stroll over for his second try (30-12). That was probably a little harsh on Crosfields, who did not deserve to be 3 scores adrift, and it was perhaps fitting then that they came up with the final score of the afternoon. It came 3 minutes from time and was a fine individual effort from Reed who “dummied” his way through the Salford defence to touch down and add the conversion (30-18).

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