Lancashire completed their two-game tour of Serbia in fine fashion with a 60-6 success over a Serbian National Select at FK Heroj on Sunday.
Full back Ryan Hilliard (Pilkington Recs) underlined his status as one of the best number ones in the National Conference League with a sparkling hat-trick, although in truth the game was over as a contest inside the first twenty-one minutes.
First to zip over was Deane Meadows (Shevington Sharks) and it wasn’t long before Zac Baker (Rochdale Mayfield) latched onto a kick following an unfortunate slip by Serbian full-back Ilija Krstic. Two goals from Adam Holland (Leigh East) had Lancashire 12-0 up inside the first ten minutes.
The Serbian select threatened to make a game of it when Vladimir Milutinović kicked ahead and won the race before the ball trickled out of play. Outstanding home scrum-half Džavid Jašari converted and it was 6-12.
Luke Belshaw (Wigan St Pats) had barely been on the field a few seconds when he dived on an improvised kick through from Aaron Smith (Wigan St Judes), where the big man appeared to flick it over his head with nonchalant back flick with his boot.
Smith was in full try creation mode and laid on the fourth Lancashire try after 21 minutes when he sent Tom O’Loughlin (Shevington Sharks) over in the corner.
Things looked like they would get much worse for the Serbians when Belshaw burst through the middle but his offload was harshly judged forward.
The Serbians responded with some big drives from centre Lazar Živković and the scoring rate slowed with just two more scores being added before the break.
The first brought a deserved try for Smith who wrapped around the outside of Jordan Gibson (Haydock) and Matt Whitehead (Oldham St Annes) to go in at the corner to make it 28-6 in Lancashire’s favour. Then just before half-time Hilliard popped up through the middle to go under the sticks and Holland’s fourth goal opened a 32-6 half-time advantage.
The Serbian select made a solid start to the new half and kept Lancashire scoreless for sixteen minutes before Whitehead zipped in for an individual score on the right.
Four more tries came in a dominant final quarter with Zac Baker and Deane Meadows getting their second tries with Hilliard showing a real fleet of foot to get his treble for Adam Holland to finish with eight goals in the 60-6 victory.
Serbian Select: Krstić (Red Star); Stevanović (Tašmajdan Tigrovi), Milutinović (Partizan 1953), Živković (Radnički Niš), Arsić (Radnički Niš); Pavlović (Partizan 1953), Jašari (Partizan 1953); Milutinović (Partizan 1953), Stošić (Radnički Niš), Kušić (Partizan 1953), Cengaj (Red Star), Jovic (Radnički Niš), Đurić (Red Star). Subs: Janković (Red Star), Dedić (Red Star), Karanović (Partizan 1953), Stoiljković (Partizan 1953).
Tries: Vladimir Milutinović Goals: Džavid Jašari 1/1
Lancashire: Hilliard (Pilkington Recs); Scholes (Thatto Heath), Meadows (Shevington Sharks), O’Loughlin (Shevington Sharks), Paine (Leigh Miners Rangers); Whitehead (Oldham St Annes), Holland (Leigh East); Braddock (Wigan St Pats), Dutton (Thatto Heath), Smith (Wigan St Judes), Baker (Rochdale Mayfield), Nicholls (Leigh East), Gibson (Haydock). Subs: Yates (Wigan St Pats), Belshaw (Wigan St Pats), Evans (Leigh Miners Rangers), Connaughton (Rochdale Mayfield).
Tries: Meadows (2, Baker (2), Belshaw, O’Loughlin, Smith, Hilliard (3) Whitehead Goals: Holland 8/11