YOUNG forward James Batchelor has been tipped for a bright future after being named man of the match on his Wakefield Trinity Wildcats debut.
The 18-year-old impressed with some strong carries and willing defence after coming off the bench in the first half of Trinity’s 38-10 home loss to Warrington Wolves in the Super-8s.
Batchelor featured for England Under-19s on their tour to Australia and only arrived back in this country last Tuesday. He was the fourth player to graduate from Wakefield’s academy to the first team – after Brad Moules, Frazer Morris and Judah Mazive – in their last three games and coach Chris Chester predicted: “He is going to be a hell of a player. He didn’t look out of place; he’s an exciting young kid, very good defensively and played very, very well.”
Mazive, also 18, scored a try on his home debut and Wakefield’s team included full-back Max Jowitt and forward Jordan Crowther, who are both still eligible to play for the Under-19s.
The experienced gained by young players has been a positive from Trinity’s horrific late-season injury crisis. The other plus is that the fitness woes have piled up after Super League safety was already guaranteed.
Hamstring victim Scott Moore became the 11th player on Wakefield’s casualty list, so Jowitt – who was due for 18th man duties – was drafted in on the bench.
In the circumstances it was a good effort by Trinity’s makeshift team, though Warrington – even playing well below their best – were ultimately too strong.
Wakefield were 16-6 behind at the break, after having opened the scoring through Jon Molloy’s try from a kick by Liam Finn, who also converted.
Ben Currie replied after Mazive lost the ball near his own line; a David Fifita knock-on and back-to-back penalties were punished by Chris Hill and then Jowitt fumbled Chris Sandow’s kick and Ryan Atkins touched down.
Matty Russell ran in a second half brace – one a long-range interception from Craig Hall’s pass – and Daryl Clark and Joe Westerman also crossed. Kurt Gidley landed five conversion.
Mazive’s try, from an excellent pass by Molloy, gave Wakefield some reward for their second-half efforts.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Hall, Mazive, Lyne, Arundel, Jones-Bishop, Miller, Finn, Scruton, Sio, Arona, Molloy, Walton, Crowther. Substitutes: Jowitt, Yates, Batchelor, Ffita.
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, R Evans, T King, Atkins, Russell, Gidley, Sandow, Hill, Clark, Sims, Hughes, Currie, Westerman. Substitutes: Dwyer, Westwood, G King, Wilde.
Referee: R Hicks (Oldham).