SAINTS are up to third in the First Utility Super League following a 40-16 win over Castleford.
After surviving an early scare they overcame the Tigers with two tries in three first half minutes – and then put it to bed with solid defence in the second.
The returning cool hand Lukes – Thompson and Walsh – played crucial roles in the victory, giving Saints much needed direction and energy.
Kyle Amor also led a strong pack performance that never looked back once it got on top of its Tigers’ counterparts.
“Start well” has been Keiron Cunningham’s battle cry over recent weeks, following some indifferent openings, so he wouldn’t have been happy with the first two minutes of the match.
Not only were two penalties given away but Luke Gale found Luke Dorn in acres of space for the first try.
But Saints hit back two minutes later through Matty Fleming who took Adam Swift’s pass.
The try coming off the back of some great skill.
On the last and under pressure, Walsh offloaded to Jon Wilkin who put up a fine kick close to the try line.
Swifty then outjumped Ryan Hampshire and found his centre in close attendance for his fourth of the season.
Jonny Lomax produced a try saving tackle on Dorn 12 minutes in and then quick defence stopped another Tigers’ attack.
But another error handed the impetus to the visitors and Rangi Chase hit Hampshire for a walk in.
It was a blow but Saints didn’t hang around in turning Cas around.
Sustained pressure thanks to good runs from Wilkin and Thompson put them in good field position before Morgan Knowles was caught on a superb line.
Walsh’s second conversion putting the hosts ahead.
Saints were in the driving seat and on their very next attack stretched the lead.
Dorn knocked on Turners’ towering bomb and Kyle Amor wasted no time in putting his body on the line and stretching over.
After a great start, the Tigers were at sixes and sevens and their job was made worse when Chase was sent to the bin for tripping Jonny Lomax on a kick through with five minutes remaining.
The excellent Luke Thompson then increased the pain as he took Walsh’s pass at pace.
Saints begun the second half on the back foot to the 12-men Tigers – defending two sets before coming away with a penalty.
Swift went close on 50 minutes and five minutes later Castleford had one chalked off for a knock on.
Handling errors were the tale of the tape until Wilkin forced a drop out with a cute chip.
LMS was mightily close to pouncing on the loose ball, but made no mistake on 61 minutes with a physical effort.
Saints produced their best try of the night ten minutes later.
Lomax took a high ball and went 60 metres before feeding Adam Swift. He was hauled down but Amor took it up and offloaded for Owens to find LMS.
The ball was then sent left for Swift to fly over in the corner.
Will Maher crossed in the final stages – off a blatant forward pass – to give the lively Castleford fans something to cheer, but it was always Saints’ night.
And that was underlined when Walmsley powered over as the hooter rang out.
Tries: Fleming, Knowles, Amor, Thompson, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Swift, Walmsley
Goals: Walsh (5 from 6), Owens (1 from 1)
Tries: Dorn, Hampshire, Maher
Goals: Gale (2 from 3)
REF: J Smith
1. Jonny Lomax; 22. Jack Owens, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 24. Matty Fleming, 5. Adam Swift; 3. Jordan Turner, 7. Luke Walsh; 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 15. Greg Richards, 12. Jon Wilkin, 20. Joe Greenwood, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
Subs: 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Atelea Vea, 17. Luke Thompson, 28. Morgan Knowles.
1. Luke Dorn; 18. Ryan Hampshire, 19. Ben Crooks, 24. Greg Minikin, 5. Denny Solomona; 35. Rangi Chase, 7. Luke Gale; 16. Matt Cook, 15. Paul McShane, 32. Larne Patrick, 3. Jake Webster, 17. Junior Moors, 9. Adam Milner.
Subs: 23. Will Maher, 31. Conor Fitzsimmons, 34. Paddy Flynn, 37. Brandon Douglas.