Big night in the A league as youngsters thrill, spill, and learn


There were three games in the Aviva A league last night, each a thriller for one reason or another.

By far and away the most impressive though was Newcastle Falcons A, who notched their fourth win from four with a remarkable 53-29 victory over Gloucester United – how their 1st XV must envy them.

It was a reasonably experienced Newcastle side with the likes of Mike Blair and Andy Saull starting, but peppered with youth such as Jake Ellwood, Tom Penny and James Christie.

Gloucester by contrast were incredibly young, with U20 international at half back and young Will Safe at number 8, and an even younger sub bench, with Harry Bassett, Lloyd Evans and Charlie Norman all on the bench at an average age of 18 between the three of them.

The other two games were less one sided in terms of the scoreline, but were certainly no less entertaining. Bath came from 22-20 down to Saracens to level things at 22 all, however a late Jack Wilson score gave Saracens the win.

It was another game packed with youth players, and with plenty getting on the scoresheet. However it was the captaincy of the teams that was most striking, both sides were led by their 20 year old second rows, Charlie Ewels for Bath, and Maro Itoje for Saracens, their pair were second row partners in England U20s JWC win back in June, clearly they are destined for big things, as indeed is Ewels’ club second row and their biggest U20s competitor, Tom Ellis. From top to bottom it seems that second row is an area of strength for England.

The final game taking place was at Sixways between Worcester Cavaliers and Northampton Wanderers. Worcester ran out 22-16 winners but that does not tell the full story.

Midway through the first half, Northampton’s England U18 centre, Harry Mallinder, was shown a straight red for taking out Richard De Carpentier in the air. It was a ‘letter of the law’ red rather than a malicious or nasty red, but it meant that Northampton were going to have to fight for the rest of the game.

Fight they did, they very young away side led until the 47th minute when Mat Gilbert crossed the line. It was another game for the youngsters though, with Old Swinford Hospital old boy Huw Taylor one of the outstanding players, having only left school a few months ago, that was quite some achievement.

Aviva A league results:

Bath United 22-27 Saracens Storm

Newcastle Falcons A 53-29 Gloucester United

Worcester Cavaliers 22-16 Northampton Wanderers

Bath United:

15 Rich Lane 
14 Matt Banahan 
13 Max Clark
 12 Rory Jennings
 11 George Wacokecoke
 10 Ollie Devoto
 9 Micky Young 
1 Nathan Catt  2 Ross Batty 
3 Kane Palma-Newport 
4 Charlie Ewels (c)  5 Tom Ellis 
6 David Sisi 
7 Max Northcote-Green
 8 Tom Woolstencroft.

Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn
 17 Grant Shiells
 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi
 19 Marcus Garrett
 20 Matt Koep
 21 Will Homer
 22 Ludi Hopkinson
 23 Marcus Beer.

Saracens Storm:

15 Ben Ransom
 14 Mike Ellery
 13 Tom Griffiths
 12 Max Wilkins
 11 Jack Wilson 
10 Nils Mordt
 9 Ben Spencer
 1 Tom Williams
 2 Phil Thiel
 3 Petrus Du Plessis
 4 Maro Itoje (c)
 5 Hayden Smith 
6 Hayden Thompson-Stringer 
7 Matt Hankin
 8 Nick De Jager.

Replacements: 16 Jack Culverhouse
 17 Antonio Harris
 18 Biyi Alo
 19 Kennet O’Neill
 20 Don Barrell
 21 Tom Whitley
 22 Matt Gallagher
 23 George Perkins.

Newcastle Falcons A:

15 Lee Smith  14 Noah Cato  13 Tom Penny  12 Jamie Helleur  11 Sean Brown  10 Rory Clegg  9 Mike Blair  1 Eric Fry  2 David Nelson  3 Oliver Tomaszcyck  4 Glen Young  5 Will Witty  6 Dan Temm  7 Andy Saull (c)  8 Richard Mayhew.

Replacements: 16. Andrew Dunn  17. Jake Ellwood  18. Mark Irving  19. Scott McLeod  20. Brian Tuilagi  21. James Christie  22. Tom Catterick  23. Brett Connon.

Gloucester United:

Aled Thomas; Tom Isaacs, Seamus Kelly, Bill Meakes, Shane Monahan; Billy Burns, Callum Braley; James Gibbons, Darren Dawidiuk, Shaun Knight; James Hudson, Tom Hicks; Danny Barrett, Dan Thomas, Will Safe

Replacements: Luke Cole, Will Goodrick-Clarke, Alec Clarey, James Voss, Rory Bartle, Harry Bassett, Lloyd Evans, Charlie Norman.

Worcester Cavaliers:

15 Perry Humphreys  14 Josh Drauniniu  13 Alex Grove  12 Ravai Fatiaki  11 James Stephenson  10 Robbie Keith  9 Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier (c)  1 Ofa Fainga’anuku  2 Ben Sowrey  3 Joe Rees  4 Matt Perks  5 Huw Taylor  6 Mat Gilbert  7 Sam Harry  8 Richard de Carpentier.

Replacements:  16 Jack Singleton  17 Jack Cosgrove  18 Rob O’Donnell  19 Miles Edwards  20 Josh Watkins  21 George de Cothi  22 Jon Hughes  23 Marcus Brown.

Northampton Wanderers:

15 Tom Collins  14 Howard Packman  13 Dom Waldouck  12 Harry Mallinder  11 Josh Skelcey  10 Will Hooley  9 Alex Day  1 Ethan Waller  2 Mike Haywood  3 Gareth Denman  4 Alex Woolford  5 Jordan Onojaife  6 Phil Dowson (c)  7 Teimana Harrison  8 Cam Dolan.

Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan  17 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi  18 Tom Mercey  19 Matti Williams  20 Ben Nutley  21 Joel Hodgson  22 Sam Olver  23 Rory Hutchinson.

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