Grace Secures Dramatic Derby Victory

You can say that the derby is certainly a special occasion for Regan Grace.

Last year he announced himself to the rugby league world with a sensational debut.

This time around he won the hearts of every Saints fan across the globe by scoring in the corner to secure our first Good Friday win for nine years.

It was a sensational end to a sensational game that ebbed and flowed throughout.

Tied 14-14, Ryan Morgan broke down the right hand and within a blink of an eye, Jonny Lomax threw a looping pass for the winger to put down.

Danny Richardson nailed the conversion and then added a drop goal to break the Warriors.

It also sent a sold out Totally Wicked Stadium into raptures as well as taking Saints four points clear at the top of the table… but the win was about much more than that.

Wigan took an early lead in a ferocious first half when Morgan Escare, in for the ill Sam Tomkins, slotted over a penalty from under the posts on four minutes.

Six minutes later, Joe Burgess had one chalked off as he couldn’t ground it before the dead ball line.

Saints followed up with a couple of sets on the Warriors’ line, but couldn’t find a way through, and then Burgess was unlucky not to take a kick across the field.

The home side then hit the front with a piece of class.

Jon Wilkin found a wonder ball to Thompson, who duly fed Ben Barba on the half way line.

The full back then rounded Escare and scored to the right of the posts.

The try changed the momentum of the game – as did a flurry of penalties that followed as the visitors lost their discipline.

But Saints couldn’t turn the screw as Wigan’s defence held firm.

More chances followed before, after another penalty, Saints made their possession pay.

A strong run from Grace got them into great position before James Roby took off and fired a short pass to Zeb Taia.

Richardson making it 12-2 with the conversion.

Saints could have gone further ahead as the half time approached but Grace was held up a couple of inches short after a superb break from Barba and Mark Percival.

Wigan came out fired up in the second half and reduced the deficit within five minutes.

And it was a simple one too as Joel Tomkins took a short inside ball to make it game on.

Saints almost hit back when Grace and Richardson both went within inches – and then Tomkins was held up.

But on the hour mark, Wigan took the lead through Willie Isa – Williams kicking the conversion.

Saints needed to right the ship and they did just that when Morgan Knowles had the ball stripped.

Richardson tagged on the penalty to make it all square before Sam Powell’s drop goal effort went wide.

It was a case of who would blink first and it was Saints who won the game with another piece of brilliance.

Ryan Morgan made the break down the right, Makinson brought it inside and Lomax’ pass did the rest.

Danny Richardson’s drop goal making it ultimately safe with three minutes to go.

Joel Tomkins scored late on, but Saints had done the business.

Match Summary:

Tries: Barba, Taia, Grace
Goals: Richardson (4 from 4)
Drop: Richardson

Tries: Tomkins (2), Isa,
Goals: Escare (2 from 2), Williams (1 from 2)

Penalties Awarded:
Saints: 11
Warriors: 6

HT: 12-2
FT: 21-18

REF: R Hicks

ATT: 17,980


23. Ben Barba; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 19. Regan Grace; 1. Jonny Lomax, 18. Danny Richardson; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Dom Peyroux, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 6. Theo Fages, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles.

20. Morgan Escare; 2. Tom Davies, 14. John Bateman, 4. Oliver Gildart, 5. Joe Burgess; 6. George Williams, 7. Sam Powell; 8. Tony Clubb, 9. Thomas Leuluai, 10. Ben Flower, 19. Willie Isa, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. Sean OíLoughlin.
Subs: 11. Joel Tomkins, 15. Ryan Sutton, 17. Taulima Tautai, 34. Josh Woods.

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