St Helens outplay Castleford to win six on the spin

Drew Darbyshire

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

St Helens ran in eight tries to ease past Castleford 40-18 and extend their lead at the top of the Super League table.

Daryl Powell made two changes to his Castleford team that thrashed Leeds Rhinos at St James’ Park last weekend. Ben Roberts and Matt Cook replaced Jake Webster and Joe Wardle.

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook also made two changes to his side that beat Widnes Vikings at Magic Weekend last time out. Adam Swift and Kyle Amor came in for Tommy Makinson and Matty Lees.

It took just over two minutes for the first try to be scored at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle and it was from St Helens. Amor went on a barnstorming run to score from close after winning Saints a penalty just moments earlier. Danny Richardson converted to put his side 6-0 up.

Castleford replied with a try of their own just five minutes later. Mike McMeeken stormed onto a flat ball from Liam Watts to score. On the replays, it looked like the England back-rower knocked on when going over the line. Jamie Ellis failed to convert.

If you had to guess a player who went length of the field for Saints, who would it be? Yeah, you guessed it, Ben Barba. Swift was unable to deal with a towering Castleford bomb in the sun, but the ball went backwards and it was picked up by Barba who went the distance. Richardson added the extras and Saints led 12-4 after 15 minutes.

Greg Minikin thought he had scored for the Tigers midway through the first half. It was ruled out by the video referee though for knocking on as he reached over the line.

Jonny Lomax took on the Tigers defence and skipped through a gap between Jake Trueman and Oliver Holmes to extend St Helens’ lead. Richardson’s boot made the score 18-4 in favour of Saints.

The visitors were playing some real silky stuff and were in again on the half hour mark. Lomax slipped Dom Peyroux through a gap who scored his third try of the season. It was poor defence from Castleford though.

Minikin was denied by the video referee for the second time in the 33rdminute due to his foot being in touch following some superb defence from Mark Percival.

Castleford prop front-rower Junior Moors left the field with a knock to the head and didn’t return, having failed a concussion assessment. Roberts also came off at the same time with a hamstring injury and didn’t come back on.

Richardson attempted to add a drop goal late on in the first half but it was charged down by Castleford. St Helens were 22-4 to the good at the break.

St Helens started the second half exactly like they did in the first, with a try in the first three minutes following the kick off thanks to Ryan Morgan.

In the 49thminute, St Helens were in for another as Lomax made a break and threw it out wide to Morgan, who grabbed his ninth try in his last six games.

Saints were playing some fantastic attacking rugby in the second half. Wales winger Regan Grace made a flying break down the left wing and assisted France captain Theo Fages who scored. Richardson couldn’t add the conversion, but they were 34-4 ahead after 57 minutes.

The Tigers hit back with a try as Jy Hitchcox latched onto a chip from Paul McShane to score.

Hitchcox’s try put some confidence back into Powell’s side. They got another when McShane took on the Saints line and passed the ball to Trueman who glided over. Ellis converted, but the Tigers were still 34-14 behind.

Holmes scored the third Castleford try in the space of 10 minutes when he burst through a gap in the St Helens defence to run 30 metres and touch down, Castleford 18-34 St Helens.

St Helens had the last say on the game though. Lomax made yet another made break and Fages who was in support to score his third of the season. Richardson’s conversion sealed an emphatic 40-18 victory to win their sixth game in a row and stay at the top of the Super League.

Castleford: Shenton; Minikin, Roberts, Foster, Hitchcox; Ellis, Trueman; Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, McMeeken, Milner. Subs: Moors, Millington, Massey, Cook.

St Helens: Barba; Swift, Morgan, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Richardson; Amor, Roby, Thompson, Peyroux, Taia, Wilkin. Subs: Fages, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles.

Starman: Jonny Lomax was magnificent for St Helens. He scored a try and came up with three assists.

Attendance: 6,969