A HAT-TRICK from Great Britain hooker Aaron Smith put paid to the Tigers 36-20 in what is now a customary see-saw game with the visitors from the Jungle.
As was the case two weeks ago and last season for that matter the Saints never seem to be able to get more than one score ahead and this was the case today.
In fact it was the visitors who took the lead scoring a long range try. They took advantage of the compressed Saints defensive line going around the right wing of Lewis Galbraith and then returning to that side after full back Ricky Bailey had halted the initial break.
The Saints responded with some fierce defence forcing the error in the Tigers own half. From the scrum some superb training ground execution of a play saw centres Matty Fleming and Jake Spedding commit their opposite numbers before Fleming’s around the man pass put Galbraith in just enough space for the winger to score.
Again good line running five minutes later gave the Saints the lead for the first time. Lewis Charnock and Olly Davies both ran the perfect line allowing the stand-off to put his second row in to a big hole for the score.
Back came the Tigers punishing the Saints as they were penalised for a high tackle. The stand-off, the Tigers best player, stepped through a static Saints defence to reach out for the equalising try.
Then came the first of hat-trick hero Smith’s tries giving the Saints the lead at the break. The Tigers knocked on from the kick off and the Saints piled on the pressure from the scrum with Spedding, Fozard and Charnock all held inches short. From the last play the ball Smith spotted his chance darting over from dummy half.
The call for the second half was no silly mistakes and piggy backing penalties both of which were present in the lead up the Tigers score five minutes into the second period. The impressive full back took full advantage jinking his way under the posts to draw level again.
Minutes later the Saints retook the lead as Jake Spedding got reward for some great recent displays reacting quickest to pounce on a loose ball over the line.
Then came a turning point as Fozard made a break from his own 30 but as he got free passé inside to the supporting Morgan Knowles but the ball was just forward. Had he held on there was a try begging.
But the Tigers needed no second invitation as from the scrum the right centre handed off some weak tackling to level matters again in the corner.
The Saints didn’t let the setback kill them, however, as the young pack started to exert pressure and take control.
Dave Hewitt’s show and go near the line ended with him held short but a quick play the ball and overhead pass from Olly Davies to Ricky Bailey put the full back in from close range.
This time the Saints pressed home the advantage in the last ten minutes with Smith’s last two tries.
Ross McCauley found himself inches short of the line but from the play the ball Smith darted over. From the restart McCauley burst free finding Charnock in support but his pass to put Hewitt away for the try went marginally forward.
The Tigers were still plugging away and two dangerous situations were diffused firstly by a great high bomb catch from Dave Eccleston and secondly a big hit from Smith and Liam Cooper forcing the knock on. The latter gave possession to the Saints and four tackles later Smith dummied his way over for his third.
On an extremely hot day the Saints young pack set about their business in a controlled and efficient way led by new prop Matty Fozard and ably backed up by McCauley, Olly Davies, Morgan Knowles and off the bench by Chris Worrall.
As the Saints travel over Billinge lump next Saturday the same steely concentration will be required if they are to come away with the points.
Tries: Ricky Bailey, Lewis Galbraith, Jake Spedding, Aaron Smith 3, Olly Davies.
Goals: Lewis Charnock 4.
Tries: Ash Robson, Liam Blockley, Connor Hughes, Jordan Howden.
Goals: Jordan Howden 2.
Half Time: 16-10
Full Time: 36-20
1. Ricky Bailey; 5. Lewis Galbraith, 4. Matty Fleming, 3. Jake Spedding, 2. David Eccleston; 6. Lewis Charnock, 7. Dave Hewitt; 8. Phil Atherton, 9. Aaron Smith, 15. Matty Fozard, 11. Liam Cooper, 12. Olly Davies, 13. Morgan Knowles.
Subs: 14. Jonah Cunningham, 18. Dan Abram. 16. Chris Worrall, 17. Ross McCauley,
1. Ash Robson; 2. James Brown, 3. Liam Blockley, 4. Brad Hey, 5. Connor Hughes; 6. Jordan Howden, 7. Tom Holmes; 8. Connor Wick, 9. Brandon Moore, 10. Will Maher, 11. Brad Foster, 12. Brad Day, 13. Scott Ellerington.
Subs: 14. Brandon Westerman, 15. Naz Currie-Clark, 16. Danny Sowerby, 17. Matty Burman.