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Salford City Roosters 26 Stanley Rangers 18

Salford City Roosters needed a morale boosting victory at home to bottom club Stanley Rangers after providing the last incumbent of the bottom place with their first victory of the season last time out.

The Roosters did get the 2 points they needed but the margin of the victory should have been much more emphatic than the 8 points that it turned out to be.

The Roosters were forced into 7 changes from the previous game with Ben Connor and Kevin Wilson injured, Paul Morgan, Martin Judge, Harry Graham, Marc Jones and George Kemp away. The club welcomed back however, Bradley White, Christian Higgins and Jake Lynch along with Jake Carr, Alex Edwards, Paul Hallam and Callum Hughes making their first NCL appearances of the season. White played a big part in the victory with more than half of the points but with a third successive outstanding display of forward power Mark Thomas was an easy choice for the man of the match award.

If the Roosters were feeling sorry for themselves with so many players missing spare a thought for their visitors from Wakefield who turned up with a bare 13 players – no substitutes, and yet it was the Yorkshiremen who took a lead with their first attack of the game on 3 minutes. Danny Grice chipped over the defence and re-gathered the ball before sending Rob Hartley diving over for a try that Grice converted (0-6). Roosters levelled the scores though on 9 minutes when White dummied to kick on the last tackle and “scythed” through the defence, then rounded full back Joel Marsh to score a try wide out, which he also converted (6-6).

Roosters took the lead on 15 minutes with the first of 3 tries in a 7 minute spell. Thomas burst through one tackle and then off loaded out of another tackle for Higgins to score wide out. Again White converted brilliantly (12-6). White also converted his own second try when he was put over the line by Steve Barry after a great break by Higgins (18-6), but his 4th conversion attempt fell just short on 22 minutes after Thomas broke from half way and off loaded out of the tackle again for Will Rigby to dive over in the corner (22-6).

The Roosters were in total control of the game but failed to add any more points in the first half, although Rigby had a 29th minute try disallowed when Thomas was ruled to have knocked on when he kicked the ball to the in goal.

The second half was only two minutes old when Thomas off loaded again, on the halfway line and Higgins sent Rigby racing down the wing. Higgins also followed up to latch onto Rigby’s kick to the in goal and score his second try, albeit too far out for White to convert (26-6). That should have been the opening of the flood gates with the Roosters in complete control and Rangers looking no threat what so ever, but for some unknown reason the Salford team failed to take any further advantage. It seems that the players suddenly thought it was so easy they didn’t need to play to a game plan and they failed to add to their total.

On 53 minutes a stray pass 18 metres from the home try line was intercepted by John Nunns who touched down between the sticks leaving Grice an easy conversion (26-12). Roosters should have learned from that lesson but they didn’t and on the hour an attacking pass was intercepted by the same player and this time Nunns won a 80 metre race to the try line. Grice converted again and suddenly there was only 8 points in it. Stanley played with more confidence in the last quarter but to be fair to the Roosters defence they coped comfortably, but it was still a worry that a host of opportunities to score themselves were missed.

At the end of the day a win is a win and its two more points on the league ladder which is already starting to split with the top 6 clubs pulling away from the bottom 6 but Roosters are now in 8th position 4 points clear of the bottom two clubs.

Roosters Stanley Rangers

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