Saints win in inaugural Steve Prescott Cup match

James Roby scored twice as St Helens overturned a half-time deficit to beat Hull 34-22 in the inaugural Steve Prescott Cup match.

Roby scored in both halves, and it was his try on the hour mark that left Hull needing three scores to overturn their deficit, and it proved too much.

The Airlie Birds had been good value for their 10-6 lead at the break, scoring early through Mickey Paea and then through Richard Whiting after a smart offload by Joe Westerman after Roby had given Saints the lead.

The game had been preceded by a poignant tribute to rugby league champion Prescott, who played for both clubs during his career, in front of 13,488 fans at Langtree Park, including a sizeable away following from Hull. The Steve Prescott Cup will be awarded to the team with the highest aggregate score in the two Super League meetings between the sides this season.

After a slightly under par first half, Saints started the second with intent, scoring within two minutes as Sia Soliola took James Roby‘s pass and drove low to the line for a try, with Luke Walsh‘s goal edging Saints in front at 12-10.

Walsh, a star against Warrington last week, was perhaps less prominent in this one, although he helped the home side wrestle control of the game in the decisive 20 minutes after the break.

Their third try came when Jon Wilkin took on the line and then put in a neat reverse right footed grubber kick, and Jonny Lomax won the foot race to touch down from close range.

Wilkin had a hand in the fourth try too, his big shot on Ben Crooks forcing the error, and from the resulting set of six, Soliola spinned out of a tackle to offload to Roby who scored under the posts.

That left Hull with too much to do, although they did briefly threaten, Joe Westerman and Aaron Heremaia linking up to put Gareth Ellis over and reduce arrears to 24-16.

But Tommy Makinson ended hopes of a comeback with an acrobatic score in the far corner, prompting Walsh to miss his first conversion of the season.

Hull perhaps should have made more of an opportunity presented by a lengthy penalty to touch from Richard Horne, Danny Houghton putting the ball down on the first tackle with 10 minutes left, and that virtually ended the game as a contest.

Houghton did manage to get his name on the scoresheet shortly before the hooter, but not before Mark Percival had scored for Saints in the left corner.

St Helens: Lomax, Makinson, Turner, Percival, Swift, Wheeler, Walsh, Amor, Roby, Walmsley, Wilkin, Manu, McCarthy-Scarsbrook. Interchanges: Jones, Soliola, Laffranchi, Wellens.

Hull: Shaul, Lineham, Crooks, Arundel, Talanoa, Rankin, Horne, Paea, Houghton, Carvell, Ellis, Whiting, Westerman. Interchanges: Thompson, Bowden, Palea’aesina, Heremaia.

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