Warrington 24-26 St Helens

Ben Westwood‘s late conversion miss proved costly as St Helens moved level on points with Warrington in the Super League table.

In a pulsating game, it looked like Westwood’s try had at least rescued a point for the Wolves, but he missed a kickable conversion and they were to lose out 26-24.

Tony Smith’s side got off to a lightning start and should have scored when Ryan Atkins broke away down the left, but neglected to pass to winger Chris Riley who was set for a walk-in try.

But despite their early dominance, Warrington fell behind when James Graham‘s reverse pass sent Matty Ashurst charging over the line for the game’s first try.

And Saints began to hit their straps, and some great handling play from Paul Wellens led to Jamie Foster scoring the first of his two tries and put the visitors 10-0 to the good.

Cheered on by a full-house, Warrington set about reducing arrears as they looked for their first win over St Helens in 27 outings, and Tony Smith made a treble switch which paid almost immediate dividends.

David Solomona took the ball to the Saints defence, and he got the ball free to give Paul Wood enough room to find the line, with Westwood’s conversion making it 10-6.

It gave Warrington confidence and they started to play more expansively, and it was from another smart offload that Jon Clarke scored their second try, with Westwood’s subsequent conversion edging the home side in front for the first time.

But their lead didn’t last long. St Helens forced a scrum near to the Warrington line, and poor organisation in the Wolves back line left them short down the blind side and Francis Meli took full advantage, going outside of Matt King to cross and Foster’s superb touchline conversion put Saints 16-12 up.

The home side closed the half on the up, and they were awarded for some enterprising play with a penalty, when Chris Riley was tackled off the ball by Chris Flannery, setting up a 40 metre penalty for Westwood, which he superbly converted to make it 16-14 at the break.

The former Wakefield back-rower was one of Warrington’s star performers and it was his try that put them back in front early in the second half, to 20-16.

But Saints were unphased, and some superb play by Leon Pryce and Paul Wellens set the platform for James Roby to level things up, before Foster nudged the visitors back ahead at 22-20.

Warrington chanced their arm to get back in the match and Richie Myler‘s brave last tackle play looked to have created space down the left, but Michael Monaghan‘s loose pass went straight to Jon Wilkin, who himself chanced a risky offload, but it paid off, with Foster racing away for a try in the corner to give him the chance to put Saints out of reach.

However, Foster missed the conversion and Warrington continued to probe and they finally got their reward when Lee Briers finally got a kick to find its target and it was Westwood who was the recipient, bravely collecting the bouncing ball and grounding.

But, despite his stellar performance, Westwood’s match will ultimately be remembered by the missed conversion that was to follow, which ultimately resulted in the Wolves falling two points short.

They finished the game the stronger, but two half-chances for Matt King didn’t fall the Wolves’ way, as they fell to their second consecutive defeat.

Elsewhere in Super League, Hull moved in to fourth place with a comfortable 42-18 win over Harlequins in London.

About James Gordon 7158 Articles
Love Rugby League editor. Founded the website back in 2005. Worked with a range of clubs and sponsors during that time. Also commentates for BBC.

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