A battling performance from Saints saw the Red Vee bounce back from disappointment at Wembley to extend our lead at the top of the table to 18 points with a tight 4-0 win over the Castleford Tigers on a night when we were presented with the League Leaders' Shield.
The visitors started the match on the front foot, but were unable to turn that pressure into points thanks to great defence from Saints with Tommy Makinson and Matty Costello stopping Castleford winger Greg Minkin from opening the scoring on two separate occasions.
Saints went close themselves with a move down Saints’ left hand side with Jonny Lomax finding Mark Percival but the centre was unable to find Grace.
Saints opened the scoring in the final minutes of the first half through Regan Grace. Captain James Roby threw the dummy confusing the Castleford defence. He then fed Percival who put Grace away down the line and the winger reached out to touchdown. Danny Richardson was unable to add the extras.
A low scoring first half with both defences on top saw Saints go into the break with a four point lead.
Castleford came out for the second half putting pressure on Saints immediately forcing repeat sets. Like it has all season though, Saints defence stood firm denying the Tigers.
The second half followed the flow of the first with both sides exchanging sets, but neither side were able to get over the try line. Handling errors and penalties impacting the flow of the game with only a late first half try from Grace the difference after an hour.
The visitors continued to put the pressure on the League Leaders with a knock on from Alex Walmsley giving Castleford excellent field position, but yet again Saints denied Castleford with an interception from Makinson on the last tackle pivotal.
In the final stages Saints thought they had extended their lead on two occasions, but referee James Child blew penalising Saints for obstruction. First, Walmsley went close in the final minute crashing onto a short pass from Roby which resulted in Jack Welsby being penalised before Lomax went over minutes later, but yet again the try was ruled out.
But it didn’t matter in the end as Grace’s first half try proved the difference and the Saints extended our lead to 18 points at the top of the Betfred Super League before we were presented with our deserved League Leaders’ Shield.
Saints: Welsby, Makinson, Costello, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Richardson, Thompson, Roby, Amor, Taia, Ashworth, Knowles.
Interchanges: Walmsley, LMS, Paulo, Bentley.
Tries: Grace (32)
Goals: Richardson ( 0 from 1).
Casleford Tigers: Rankin, Clare, Mata’utia, Blair, Minikin, Trueman, Ellis, Watts, McShanem, Millington, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey.
Interchanges: Milner, Sene-Lefao, O’Neil, Smith.