Saints lost out in the Coral Challenge Cup quarter final after a tight, end-to-end cup tie ended with Warrington Wolves coming out 20-18 victors at the AJ Bell Stadium as Kristian Woolf's men tasted defeat for the first time since the restart.
Saints got off to a perfect start through Jonny Lomax in the sixth minute, after a great offload by the returning Mark Percival found the play-maker, who was on hand to score under the posts. Lachlan Coote added the conversion to give Woolf’s men a 6-0 lead.
Warrington then had a try turned down after Jake Mamo went over in the corner, but the touch judge called a forward pass.
Saints then defended our line brilliantly against four consecutive Warrington sets, before Coote kicked a penalty after the Wire were caught offside in the 19th minute to extend our lead to 8.
Woolf’s men were then dealt a blow as Percival limped off with another muscle injury which saw James Bentley come into the centres.
Warrington took advantage in the 30th minute, a kick into the corner by Blake Austin was well caught by Anthony Gelling ahead of Regan Grace. Stefan Ratchford hit the post from his conversion attempt, leaving the score 8-4.
Warrington levelled in the 36th minute after Gelling drew three Saints defenders before offloading to Josh Charnley who darted infield to score. Ratchford completed the conversion to give Warrington a 10-8 lead.
Saints lost concentration again just two minutes later as Matty Ashton raced 80 metres after he latched onto a Jake Mamo offload. Ratchford added the extras giving Warrington a 16-8 lead going into half time.
Woolf’s men came out for the second half with a sense of urgency and were denied a try as Grace lost the ball in a tackle when flying for the line.
Minutes later he didn’t disappoint this time around as he took a Fages short ball and finished brilliantly in the far left corner. Coote kicked the touchline conversion to bring Saints to within two points of Warrington.
But against the run of play, a forward looking pass hit the head of Gelling and fell into the fortunate hands of Charnley who strolled in for his second. The conversion was missed, leaving the score at 20-14 in favour of Warrington.
Saints capitalised on a penalty decision, as Coote found Kevin Naiqama on the wing and he touched down, but Coote missed the touchline conversion meaning the Wolves still led by two with 8 minutes to go.
Woolf’s men pushed for that elusive winner, but it was Warrington who held on to book a semi final spot.
Warrington 13: Matty Ashton, Jake Mamo, Toby King, Anthony Gelling, Josh Charnley, Blake Austin, Stefan Ratchford, Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Jack Hughes, Jason Clark.
Interchanges: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Joe Philbin, Matt Davis, Danny Walker.
Tries: Gelling (30), Charnley (36, 63), Ashton (40)
Goals: Ratchford (2)
Saints 13: Lachlan Coote, Jack Welsby, Kevin Naiqama, Mark Percival, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, James Graham, James Bentley, Zeb Taia, Morgan Knowles.
Interchanges: Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Matty Lees, Kyle Amor, Aaron Smith.
Tries: Lomax (6), Grace (56), Naiqama (71).
Goals: Coote (2)
Penalties: Coote (19)
Half time: 16-8
Full Time: 20-18