SAINTS kept up the pressure at the top of the Super League table with a 28-12 victory over Crusaders.
Breath-taking and irresistible in parts, they were skilful in attack – Jonny Lomax’ solo effort a real class above – and keen in defence when it mattered.
They led 10-0 at the break thanks to the clinical finishing of Jamie Foster.
He bagged all his side’s ten points; scoring in the first 32 seconds after a contortionist like twist in the corner and adding another right on the stroke of half time.
In the second, Jon Wilkin increased the lead further before Jonny Lomax stole the show with a wonder try.
Coming back from an ankle injury, he stepped off both feet to turn Clinton Schifcofske inside out and bring the crowd to its feet.
Jarod Sammut pulled one back for the Crusaders but led superbly by Sia Soliola, Saints were in no mood to let them begin a comeback.
Lee Gaskell signalled his return to the side with a nice dummy that had the Crusaders all at sea, before Lloyd White finished off the scoring to give the the visitors a deserved consolation.
Welcoming back five players from injury, Saints ripped into the Crusaders and scored on their very first play.
After just 32 seconds in fact.
From the kick off, they won the ball back, sent it left and Jamie Foster twisted over in the corner as he was falling down. Superb – and his 200th point of the season.
Twelve minutes later they were nearly in again after a strong defensive set.
Jon Wilkin broke down the field following a fine sidestep and fed Foster – but the winger delayed his pass just a second too long and that meant James Roby’s scamper to the line was closed down.
Ade Gardner left the field with a serious looking ankle injury – replaced by Kyle Eastmond – and moments later Ben Flower and Josh Perry explained blows in the centre of the field.
The referee opting to penalise Perry and let the game run.
Saints continued to throw away a couple of half decent chances and when Meli forced Stuart Reardon to bang the ball in touch, they looked like they would score again.
A strong Kyle Eastmond kick gave Saints a drop out, then a penalty gave them yet another set. But Crusaders held firm once again – denying the homester’s four sets on their own line.
With five minutes to go, Crusaders had a great set right on Saints’ line but the scrambling defence was just too good; a last gasp tackle on Sammut the highlight.
But Saints were always on top and a fast passing move that involved Eastmond, Lomax and Meli saw Foster fly in from 20 metres.
Foster converting his own try from the touchline.
Half Time: Saints 10 Crusaders 0
Saints begun the second half like the first – with a strong set resulting in points.
This time a drop out was forced by some tenacious tackling and two drives later, Wilkin was adding to the scoreline. Foster making it 16-0.
And it got better moments later as Jonny Lomax went on a amazing run to increase the lead further.
The youngster stepped off both feet to totally bamboozle the defence… and his own teammates… bringing the crowd to its feet.
Jarod Sammut pulled one back for the Crusaders but Saints continued to be mean in defence – withstanding three sets on line as the game headed into the final quarter.
Lee Gaskell brought up Saints’ fifth of the night with a cheeky dummy as the ball flowed right, before Lloyd White pulled back a late consolation.
Tries: Foster (2), Wilkin, Lomax, Gaskell
Goals: Foster (4 from 5)
Tries: Sammut, White
Goals: Schifcofske (2 from 2)
REF: Ben Thaler
1. Paul Wellens; 2. Ade Gardner, 3. Michael Shenton, 5. Francis Meli, 22. Jamie Foster; 25. Lee Gaskell, 20. Jonny Lomax; 10. James Graham; 9. James Roby, 15. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 4. Sia Soliola, 12. Jon Wilkin, 21. Shaun Magennis.
Subs: 7. Kyle Eastmond, 8. Josh Perry, 18. Matty Ashurst, 19. Andrew Dixon.
1. Clinton Schifcofske; 5. Stuart Reardon, 12. Jason Chan, 4. Vince Mellars, 18. Elliot Kear; 6. Michael Witt, 17. Rhys Hanbury; 8. Ryan O’Hara, 19. Lloyd White, 22. Richard Moore, 11. Hohepa (Hep) Cahill, 13. Frank Winterstein, 23. Peter Lupton.
Subs: 7. Jarrod Sammut, 10. Mark Bryant, 16. Ben Flower, 27. Jordan Tansey.