On This Day: Saints beat Warrington in Challenge Cup – 2008!

Each day whilst we are all in Lockdown we will recall a famous Saints moment from the current day thanks to Saints Heritage Society.

10 MAY 2008

The Challenge Cup Round 5: St.Helens 40-34 Warrington at Knowsley Road.

Thirteen tries were scored on a muggy afternoon in Lancashire. Both defences dominated the early exchanges, before the Wolves took the lead with scrum-half Michael Monaghan feeding Adrian Morley – Warrington’s captain fending off the challenge of Paul Wellens before touching down by the posts.

Chris Hicks kicked the extras and, a 6-0 lead established, the visitors’ defence continued to absorb everything Saints had to throw at them.

A Chris Hicks penalty two minutes later placed the Wolves further ahead but Saints were right back in it after 21 minutes, the home side gaining a fresh set of six in Warrington territory after Louis Anderson knocked on.

The ball was fed from the right, with a dummy from Sean Long outwitting Warrington’s defence, Leon Pryce then feeding to Willie Talau, who cut through on an angled run to touch down.

Long converted and Saints were ahead thanks to their second moments later – Keiron Cunningham selling a dummy before releasing Paul Wellens, who in turn set up Chris Flannery to sprint through unopposed.

Saints’ scrum-half did the business once again and, although the momentum was briefly with the home side, Warrington soon responded.

Their second try owed much to replacement Paul Johnson, who drew three St Helens’ defenders into the right-hand corner – Meli neglecting the overlapping Hicks.

The same player converted to hand the lead back to the Wolves, but the pendulum once again swung Saints’ way after 35 minutes.

A sweeping right-to-left move which drew in the Wolves’ defence ended with Meli charging down the left flank and crashing through Lee Briers and Riley on his way over, with Long converting off the post.

The start of the second half saw the Johnson-Hicks combination working once again, the pair combining in almost identical fashion as they had in the opening period for the winger to touch down his second try and Warrington’s third.

However, Hicks could not convert, meaning the scores were now level. St Helens were then back in the lead after 50 minutes, the home side making the most of a penalty deep in Wolves territory and feeding the ball wide for overlapping winger Gardner to touch down.

Long failed to find the target but Saints continued to apply pressure.

At the other end Hicks broke from Warrington’s in-goal area before passing to Penny, the young winger then sprinting almost the length of the pitch – and side-stepping Long – before crossing.

Hicks converted and Warrington were 24-22 ahead. They could then have pulled away for the first time in the match but, with an overlap forming, Johnson fumbled the ball.

He went close again after 66 minutes, on this occasion turning his ankle as Wellens issued a last-gasp tackle.

As Warrington shuffled their line-up, Talau received an offload from Pryce to score his second on an angled run to put Saints ahead.

Long converted and then Saints, finally, placed some distance between themselves and their opponents. It was a case of ‘hero to villain’ for Penny, his attempt to track back seeing him instead spill the ball to Matt Gidley who, in turn, passed to Paul Clough.

Long again converted, as he did when Lee Gilmour gathered loose ball and ran from halfway for Saints’ seventh after 73 minutes [pictured].

Two tries to the good, it appeared the home side were headed towards the quarter-finals but Warrington never gave up, Ben Westwood then touching down what seemed at the time a consolation effort.

Simon Grix wriggled through for Warrington’s sixth. However, Hicks could not convert and although Penny went close at the end Saints held on after a pulsating game.

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