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The top two had a date at the Totally Wicked Stadium for the latest chapter in the games oldest and original derby as St Helens took on the old enemy, the Wigan Warriors.

Wigan are currently sat in second place and knew that a fourteen point victory would see them end the opening set of Easter fixtures sat atop the table but Justin Holbrook knew that a victory for his side would see them four points clear at the top.

Wigan were without Sam Tomkins, a late withdrawal with a virus, who was replaced by Morgan Escare who wasn’t named in the original squad while Saints made just one change with Ryan Morgan replacing Adam Swift after missing the last six games.

The Warriors drew first blood on five, and signalled their intention, when Morgan Escare kicked a penalty from under the uprights after Ben Flower had the ball stolen in the tackle.

On seventeen Ben Barba scored a breakaway try for the first four pointer of the game when he came on to the ball at speed and went fifty metres without a Warriors defensive hand being laid upon him. Danny Richardson added the conversion for a 6-2 lead.

There was no denying the passion on the pitch, and equally on the terraces, but it led to a nervousness and a number of mistakes from both sides.

Five minutes from the interval Saints increased their lead after Zeb Taia crashed the line and got the ball onto the ground. Richardson added the extras for 12-2 at the interval, but the scoreline masked the closeness of the game.

Five minutes into the second half and it was ‘game on’ as Joel Tomkins took a neat inside pass from George Williams to go through a gap to walk over for a four-pointer. Escare added the extras to reduce the margin to four points.

On sixty-three Willie Isa took a bounce pass from Shaun O’Loughin and went five metres to ground on the line to level the scores. With Escare off the field after failing a concussion test, George Williams kicked the conversion to put his side into the lead.

A Richardson penalty after a Wigan ball steal on seventy-two made it an eight minute game with the scores tied at 14-14.

On seventy-four, Sam Powell missed what looked like a simple drop goal for the Warriors and on the next set of six Saints moved the ball the length of the field, with fast play the balls, which saw Regan Grace with space wide left to fly over in the corner and ground one-handed for the match winning try. Richardson added the extras from the  touchline for a six point Saints lead.

Richardson kicked a drop goal from in front of the sticks with two minutes left on the clock.

One minute from time Joel Tomkins got his second try of the afternoon as he went over by the right corner flag on the overlap. Williams was unable to add the extras and taking the conversion attempt meant that the crowd were robbed of a restart and a nervy last few seconds as Saints ran out at 21-18 winners.

Despite a number of errors this was a thoroughly entertaining game which was battled out between two committed sides, neither of which could bear the humiliation of a loss to their arch rivals. At the end of the day it was the Saints who were the smartest with the ball in hand and they picked up a valiable two points to open up a four point lead at the top of the table.

Saints: Barba (T), Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Grace (T), Lomax, Richardson (4G, DG), Amor, Roby, Thompson, Taia (T), Peyroux, Wilkin.  Subs: Fages, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles.

Warriors: Escare (2G), Davies, Bateman, Gildart, Burgess, Williams (G), Powell, Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, Isa (T), Farrell, O’Loughlin.  Subs: Tomkins J (2T), Sutton, Tautai, Woods.

Referee: Robert Hicks.

Half-Time: 12-2.

Full-Time: 21-18.

Attendance:17,980 .



Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 30th Mar 2018 5:12 PM | Views : 3288 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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