Saints Lose Thriller

SAINTS lost a dramatic Thursday night thriller at Castleford as Ben Roberts kicked a drop goal as the hooter went.

Just 20 seconds earlier a scrum had the Champions in great position to do the same but an error left the space for the late drama.

Saints had led 18-10 at half time although they hadn’t hit their straps.

Luke Walsh and Joe Greenwood capped their returns with tries and Alex Walmsley put them in a good spot.

The second half was a different story as Jake Webster and Matt Cook both scored before Shannon McDonnell polished off Jordan Turner’s kick.

But Luke Gale’s penalty and Roberts’ late intervention handed Cas their first win over Saints since 2008.

Keiron Cunningham’s side had come through a crucial month of fixtures with a 100 per cent record and the opportunity to bring back two key players.

But by the end of the match they’d lost that record and another two integral parts of the squad.

Castleford started the brightest forcing an error from Saints on their first set and then gaining back to back penalties moments later.

That pressure told too as on five minutes Justin Carney took full advantage of his strength to go over in the corner.

But Saints levelled matters almost immediately.

They got the ball back from the restart – won a penalty of their own – and then Walsh went in following a beautiful kick from Travis Burns.

Percival adding the extras.

And on 14 minutes Saints increased the lead – with Walsh once again instrumental.

His ball caught Alex Walmsley on a great angle and the big man made no mistake.

Both sides exchanged chances but found their execution lacking until one such moment handed Castleford the advantage.

Saints were right on Cas’ line, the ball was flying left but the final pass was lost and Denny Solomona went the full length.

From being the dominant team Saints were rocked on their heels – but only for a few seconds as they scored once again from the restart.

Carney made a mess of his carry, Saints gained the scrum and Joe Greenwood capped a great return with a bullocking run.

Percival making it 18-10 with the boot.

Adam Swift went close as the half entered the final seconds – but couldn’t find a way past Ben Roberts.

With an eight point lead Saints had a buffer to play with but had to be careful of Cas’ strike on the outside.

But in the 45th minute is was the Tigers’ offloads down the middle that caused the damage.

Saints allowed a number of players to slip their grasp and Ben Roberts laid it on a plate for Jake Webster.

It was hardly the second half start Cunningham would have been looking for but a penalty on 53 minutes did halt Castleford’s continuous drives down the field.

Saints couldn’t make anything of it though and chip through from Walsh was returned with interest to force them on the back foot once more.

Something needed to give – and it came on the back of a kick that Saints failed to defend.

Gale kicked high, it took a nice bounce off the retreating rearguard and Matt Cook scooped up.

Saints levelled on 65 minutes thanks to the accuracy of Jordan Turner.

The visitors forced it left on the last, the centre kicked inside and Shannon McDonnell was a very welcome recipient of a nice bounce.

Percival with the all important extras.

But then came a crucial double blow.

Adam Swift was carried off on 71 minutes after taking a serious head knock – and then Mark Percival hauled down Jake Webster after he’d been tackled.

He was sinbinned and Saints spent the remainder of the match defending.

And it got worse as Shannon McDonnell hit the deck clutching his Achilles. 

They were penalised after winning the ball back from a drop out – which seemed harsh – but then forced a knock on with 60 seconds left in prime Luke Walsh drop goal territory.

Sadly, the ball never came out of the scrum correctly, Cas won one of their own and then as the hooter sounded Roberts kicked the sweetest one-pointer you will ever see.

Match Summary:

Tigers:

Tries: Carney, Solomona, Webster, Cook

Goals: Gale (4 from 5)

Drop: Roberts

Saints: 

Tries: Walsh, Walmsley, Greenwood, McDonnell

Goals: Percival (4 from 4)

Penalties: 

Tigers: 7

Saints: 7

HT: 18-10

FT: 24-25

REF: Richard Silverwood

ATT: 6086

Teams:

Saints: 

34. Shannon McDonnell; 22. Matty Dawson, 17. Mark Percival, 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Adam Swift; 6. Travis Burns, 7. Luke Walsh; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 14. Alex Walmsley, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 12. Jon Wilkin, 4. Josh Jones.

Subs: 8. Mose Masoe, 15. Mark Flanagan, 19. Greg Richards, 21. Joe Greenwood.

Tigers:

6. Ben Roberts, 20. Denny Solomona, 3. Jake Webster, 4. Michael Shenton, 5. Justin Carney; 7. Luke Gale, 21. Liam Finn; 8. Andy Lynch, 17. Scott Moore, 10. Grant Millington, 11. Oliver Holmes, 24. Mike McMeeken, 13. Nathan Massey.

Subs: 9. Adam Milner, 12. Matt Cook, 16. Junior Moors, 33. Ryan Bailey.

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