Butler stars in fine Siddal recovery

editorial image

Siddal produced an impressive recovery from 16-0 down after 22 minutes to beat visitors Wigan St Patricks 30-16 in the top section of the National Conference League yesterday.

Gareth Greenwood’s side finished well on top to follow up their opening win of the season at the third attempt away to Lock Lane a fortnight earlier.

Their stand-out performer was centre Chester Butler, who celebrated his selection for an international youth tour to South Africa alongside clubmate Josh Greenwood-McDonald, with two strikes from long range.

The youngster showed strength and pace and he received good backing from the likes of workaholic prop Gareth English, powerful second row Tom Garrett and solid fullback Freddie Walker.

Those spectators who had seen Siddal give Lock Lane two tries start, before coming through to win 14-12, may not have been too surprised by the home side’s opening on a cool, breezy afternoon.

Danny Williams knocked on straight from the kick off and one missed tackle later, visiting fullback Mike Scrivens was touching down in the corner nearest the clubhouse. Dan Birkett added a fine conversion.

Visiting scrum half Joe Prior’s kicking game was excellent early on and his 40-20 effort paved the way for Saints’ second score on nine minutes, half-back partner Dec McLaughlin touching down from loose forward Jonny Brown’s clever slipped pass.

Birkett’s kick made it 12-0 and the tall wingman added a third try when Siddal again failed to stop the ball being released in the tackle.

The conversion was missed but it was one-way traffic and hard to see any way back for Siddal.

Liam Coe, playing at half-back in the absence of injured Shaun Garrod, gave the home side a foothold in the game when his high kick was spilled and he went under the posts on 26 minutes, converting himself.

Play was open with referee Greg Dolan adopting a relaxed approach and Siddal, gaining momentum, twice got the ball close to the Saints try line without being able to cross it.

Birkett’s straight 35 metre penalty for offside struck an upright three minutes before the break and Siddal were very relieved to go in at half time only four points down courtesy of Butler’s break straight from a scrum in his own half and Coe’s easy conversion.

Siddal made their intentions clear on the restart, forcing Saints to drop out from under the posts, and they hit the front on 45 minutes. Hooker Craig Sanderson went close before Butler’s midfield partner Billy Hammond made the line with a low, hard drive. Coe’s easy kick made it 18-16.

There was no addition to the scoreline in the next 20 minutes although it was Siddal, with Chris Brook twice kicking right into the corner and prop Ian Davies held on his back over the try line, who generally had the upper hand.

The home side put the game to bed with two converted tries in eight minutes, Garratt cutting a swathe through the defence with a powerful angled run before Butler raced away from half-way for his second.

Saints had a late try ruled out for obstruction but finished a see-saw game defending desperately.