FOR all those Saints fans that went to Langtree Park before travelling to Warrington for the main course, this was about as good ‘an hors d’oeuvre’ as you could get, writes Graham Henthorne.
Ten tries, five in each half, all converted by the 100% boot of Lee Gaskell and a doughnut posted by the opposition.
But prior to kick off the Saints dressing room was far from a sea of calm as both Adam Swift and Nathan Ashe were forced to pull out during the warm up forcing Coach Ian Talbot into a five man reshuffle of the team and allowing winger Ben Parry to make his debut at this level.
However, you wouldn’t have known as the Saints turned in their most clinical performance of the season.
It was the debutant who scored the opening try sliding over in the corner after quick hands from Gaskell and Mark Percival.
Joe Greenwood had been held over the line for the first try and it was the big second row who set up the second. The visitors had knocked on at the half way mark, Greenwood picked up strode 30 metres then saw Gaskell’s pinpoint grubber pounced on by Percival over the line.
The Wildcats had been managing to hold the Saints up to this point but the reintroduction of Jordan Hand further bolstered the pack and the Saints steamrollered the Wildcats into submission scoring three times in the final 10 minutes.
Danny Jones profited from his own great inside ball to Gaskell by charging onto Danny Yates’ pass.
Then four penalties on the run from an increasingly beleaguered Wakefield side saw Hand wriggle his way over for the first of his brace.
Greenwood had the last say of the half on the whistle as he took Yates’ inside pass to walk in untouched for the Saints fifth.
Coach Talbot reminded his charges of earlier indiscretions from this position during the break but they weren’t about to let things slip this time.
Hand scored his second rolling over after Greenwood and Marcus Baines had created space.
James Tilley picked up a loose ball but was caught after a 60 metre gallop. The try was lost but the writing was on the wall for the visitors.
Their discipline continued to slide and the Saints continued to profit.
Jordan Case scored his first as he stretched out at the posts then straight from the kick off Percival caught the short restart superbly, went 30 metres before feeding it inside to Gaskell who strode away to the sticks.
Ant Walker capped yet another superb display leading from the front with a try reaching down seemingly from too high in the air to score.
The only blemish of a wonderful second half display came as Greg Wilde somehow knocked on over the line but the 60 was reached as Gaskell put Case through for his second.
This was the Saints’ best display of the season in both attack and defence by far. No-one shirked the work and everyone supported their teammate in attack.
Walker, late call-up Adam Hesketh, Tilley and Case laid the platform for Gaskell to again give a virtuoso performance but just edging Man of the Match today was the human wrecking ball himself Jordan Hand who showed the kind of commitment and effort needed to lift the trophy.
Tries: Ben Parry, Mark Percival, Lee Gaskell, Jordan Hand 2, Anthony Walker, Joe Greenwood, Danny Jones, Jordan Case 2.
Goals: Lee Gaskell 10.
Half Time: 30-0
Full Time: 60-0
2. Lewis Charnock; 6. Ben Parry, 3. Mark Percival, 16. Alex Trumper, 5. Greg Wilde; 1. Lee Gaskell, 7. Danny Yates; 8. Jordan Hand, 9. Dom Speakman, 10. Anthony Walker, 11. Scott Hale, 12. Joe Greenwood, 13. Danny Jones.
Subs: 14. Marcus Baines, 15. James Tilley, 17. Jordan Case, 18. Adam Hesketh.
1. Jordan Grayston; 2. Sam Parkin, 3. Liam Kay, 4. Josh Hardcastle, 5. Sam Fletcher; 6. Isaac John, 7. Matty Wildie; 8. Tom Lillycrop, 14. Danny Ansell, 10. Adam Gledhill, 11. Dec Storey, 12. Andy Tate, 13. Adam Slater.
Subs: 9. Ryan Wright, 15. Jake Joynt, 16. James Healy, 17. Ben Shulver.