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Friday, 25 July 2014

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Crumbs of comfort for Haven despite 10-try cup mauling

A 10-TRY home defeat is never going to be a cause for celebration, but there were certainly crumbs of comfort to take from Haven’s performance on Sunday.

Their pack, which has looked below par at times this season, stood up well to the onslaught from the Super League outfit, and all three of their own tries came from forwards.

It was hard to single out any of the packmen – it was a brighter collective effort, though Luke Isakka looked strong following his switch to prop from second-row, and Lee Doran was close to his best, driving back the City Reds’ forwards on their heels several times.

Haven conceded only four penalties in the entire game, even managing to subdue human wrecking ball Feka Palea’aesina.

And their second-half completion rate – getting to the end of 14 of 15 sets – would be winning form in some company.

But Salford were a class apart: scrum-half Matty Smith ruthlessly exploited any weaknesses, the visitors taking advantage on the edges with many of their tries coming from long-range breaks.

Thankfully for Haven, they will not face another side remotely as strong again this term.

Salford notched their first try on six minutes after centre Sean Gleeson broke down the right.

Haven winger Craig Calvert snuffed out the immediate danger, but the ball was later moved left for second-row Chris Nero to score.

Marc Sneyd landed the first of his nine conversions and then added a try of his own. Centre Joel Moon was the provider, the stand-off taking his inside pass to score.

Haven hit back on 18 minutes, Sam Gee taking advantage of good work from Doran and Rudd to nip over from dummy-half.

Rudd converted, but any hope of the hosts building momentum was lost on the next set when Isakka spilled the ball in a heavy tackle and the excellent Smith put in a slide-rule kick for Moon to touch down.

Smith was also at the heart of Salford’s next try, the scrum-half putting Sneyd into a big gap as the 21-year-old continued to rack up the points.

Loose-forward Luke Adamson showed the pace of a centre as he cut loose from his own half for the next try.

Yet another break from deep ensured Salford led 34-6 at the break, Gleeson this time profiting with a four-pointer.

Haven started the second-half in positive fashion, forcing a drop-out following Doran’s tremendous driving run and Rudd’s kick to the corner.

On the next set, Salford were penalised by ref Steve Ganson for ripping the ball from Max Wiper as he headed for the corner, and Reds’ winger Danny Williams then fumbled as he tried to gather a bobbling Carl Sice mis-pass.

The pressure finally told, prop Richard Varkulis taking the direct route over the Salford line, Rudd goaling.

Moon’s class ensured Salford remained in charge, his pass putting Josh Veivers in for a try before Haven enjoyed a purple patch.

Rudd’s long pass created an overlap for Scot McAvoy, though the centre’s attempt to winger Loz Hamzat sailed into touch.

Scrum-half Rudd created another chance moments later, Salford allowing his bomb to bounce and Dave Houghton taking advantage to score. Rudd was again on target with the conversion to make it 46-18.

City Reds refused to slacken off, Sneyd’s re-start finding touch and Moon scoring his second, the Super League side’s trickery from a scrum proving too much for Haven.

Matty Ashurst put his side within sight of 60 points with a late score, Haven fans screaming for a knock on.

Ganson ignored their pleas but pulled back the visitors in the last minute for a forward pass when Sneyd broke the line and put hooker Wayne Godwin in to acres of space.

It was a small victory for Haven on a day that possibly pointed to a brighter season.

HAVEN: Ackerley, Calvert, Parker, McAvoy, Hamzat, Wiper, Rudd, Houghton, Gee, Isakka, Beattie, Doran, Crellin. Subs: Sice, Cullnean, Hill, Varkulis.

Tries: Gee, Varkulis, Houghton.

Goals: Rudd 3.

SALFORD: Veivers, Gibson, Gleeson, Moon, Wiliams, Sneyd, Smith, Palea’aesina, Godwin, Sidlow, Nero, Neal, Adamson. Subs: Jewitt, James, Howarth, Ashurst.

Tries: Nero, Sneyd 2, Moon 2, Adamson, Gleeson, Veivers, Smith, Ashurst.

Goals: Sneyd 9.

Referee: Steve Ganson.

Attendance: 751.

Star Man: Lee Doran.

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