Wakefield 18-42 St Helens

A hat-trick from man of the match Leon Pryce helped St Helens defeat Wakefield Wildcats 42-18 on an emotional night at Belle Vue.nnThe match marked the end of a hugely difficult week for the Wakefield club and a minutes silence in memory of Leon Walker was impeccably observed by the crowd and both sets of players.nnThe home side opened the scoring inside the second minute when an intelligent kick by Brough rebounded off the posts and into the arms of Steve Snitch, who grounded the ball. Brough added the extras to put Wakefield into a six point lead.nnSt Helens forced their way back into the game and the outstanding James Graham collected a Jon Wilkin pass to score under the posts. Youngster Gary Wheeler converted to level the scores.nnWheeler added a try of his own just two minutes later as he stepped through the Wildcats defence to score an excellent individual try. The teenager converted his own try to put the visitors 12-6 in front.nnThe Wildcats hit back just before the half hour mark courtesy of a try from winger Aaron Murphy. Brough landed s superb touchline conversion to restore parity. However, St Helens ran in two tries in quick succession to regain control of the match.nnMatt Gidley touched down a clever Wilkin kick to put the Saints back in front and Pryce took advantage of a powerful run by Maurie Fa’asavalu to claim his first try of the evening. Wakefield appeared to have pulled a try back on the stroke of half time but Scott Grix‘s effort was correctly ruled out for a knock on, leaving St Helens holding a 22-12 advantage at the break.nnThe visitors emerged for the second half minus Chris Flannery, the Australian leaving the ground to be with his wife who had gone into labour earlier in the evening. However, his absence did not disrupt his teammates as the Saints extended their lead.nnA magical offload by Tony Puletua enabled young forward Matty Ashurst to set-up Pryce for his second try of the match. Puletua, who caused problems for the Wakefield defence throughout, added a try of his own in the 63rd minute, although the assist from Cunningham appeared to be forward.nnAde Gardner wrapped up the win for Mick Potter’s men in the 67th minute as he finished well in the corner. Wakefield showed plenty of heart by restoring some pride courtesy of a powerful charge from Ryan Atkins that resulted in the centre touching down for a try.nnHowever, Pryce, who put his personal problems to one side, clinched his hat-trick with a splendid solo effort in the 75th minute to secure an impressive 42-18 win for St Helens.nnThroughout the week Wakefield coach John Kear had said that the result of this evenings game was not important and his charges, still missing a host of first team players, battled well against a powerful Saints outfit. The Wildcats club deserve a significant amount of credit for the way in which they dealt with the tragic passing of Leon Walker.

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