Friday 17th August 2012, 20:00 - Round:25
|Anthony Laffranchi, Paul Wellens, Tom Makinson 2, Chris Flannery, Gary Wheeler, Adam Swift, Jonny Lomax,||T||Paul Jackson, Steve Snitch,|
Tom Makinson 2, Gary Wheeler 4,
Danny Orr 2,
Attendance: 12,224 Official: G Stokes Venue: Langtree Park
St Helens ran in eight tries to maintain their four-year unbeaten record against Castleford Tigers.
Saints, who had lost their last two matches, led 20-6 at the break and eventually dashed Castleford boss Ian Millward’s hopes of making a winning return to his old club.
Tommy Makinson grabbed two of the Saints’ touchdowns, including a length-of-the-field effort, with fine showings coming from skipper Paul Wellens, Jonny Lomax and man of the match Iosia Soliola.
Saints were missing Michael Shenton - who returns to his old club Castleford at the end of the season - with an ankle injury and teenage co-centre Josh Jones was sidelined through a dead leg.
Jon Wilkin had a thigh problem but Soliola was back after missing the last two defeats by Warrington Wolves and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Winger Ade Gardner was expected to return after being out since April 9 with an eye injury but was omitted, while Adam Swift and Gary Wheeler formed a new centre partnership.
Cas, who had lost their last eight meetings against Saints, were without the suspended Jamie Ellis, with Ben Johnston playing only his second match after his debut in last week’s heavy defeat by London Broncos.
The unfancied Tigers made an encouraging start with prop Jacob Emmitt held up over the line against his old club.
However, it was Saints who took the lead after seven minutes when Anthony Laffranchi bravely dived on a kick from Lomax before crashing into the hoardings.
Laffranchi needed treatment before being helped off the pitch as Makinson struck the conversion.
Josh Perry would have scored his first try for Saints if he had held onto a pass before Lance Hohaia lost possession to squander another chance.
Ceas refused to be overawed and a neat reverse pass from Craig Huby was almost rewarded with a try.
But Saints made it 12-0 midway through the first half when Wellens took a smart return pass from Chris Flannery to cross.
Saints were unlucky to concede a penalty for obstruction and Cas took advantage of their good fortune as Paul Jackson crashed through a posse of defenders with Danny Orr landing the conversion.
Wellens was again the key man for Saints’ third try with his long pass missing out two men to allow Makinson to squeeze over in the corner and take their advantage to 16-6.
Flannery latched on to Lomax’s kick to extend the Saints’ lead to 20-6 just before the break and leave Cas facing a near-impossible task.
The Tigers could not be faulted for their effort and sterling defence kept out Makinson early in the second half.
But a fine try from Makinson after collecting a Richard Owen kick near his own line stretched the lead to 26-6 with Wheeler booting the conversion.
Wheeler grabbed Saints’ sixth try from Hohaia’s kick and landed his second goal to make it 32-6, with the Tigers’ problems being compounded when Swift went over.
Lomax scored a deserved try to extend the lead before Steve Snitch crossed for the Tigers’ second touchdown with eight minutes left.
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals