Saints returned to winning ways with an impressive 34-16 win over Hull FC at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday evening as we laid a marker ahead of the Challenge Cup semi-final next week.
Lachlan Coote got the game underway and forced an error from the visitors. From the resulting drop-out, we pushed towards the Hull line and Jonny Lomax threw a ball to the left wing where Jack Welsby strolled in. Lachlan Coote added a tricky conversion from the left touchline to make it 6-0 to Saints after two minutes.
Coote himself grabbed our second try five minutes later. After a good attack from the hosts was ended by a Jake Connor knock on, we got another set. Coote got the ball close to the Hull FC line, before throwing a dummy and stretching his way over. He narrowly missed the conversion, as Saints led 10-0.
The black and whites did respond though. Former Saint, Adam Swift, got on the end of a Jake Connor kick in the left corner. Marc Sneyd’s conversion attempt went across the sticks, 10-4 Saints led after the opening ten minutes.
Another try followed a few minutes later for Saints. We opted to run the ball on the last tackle, Theo Fages found Morgan Knowles, and he forced his way over for his first try of the season. Coote added the conversion, 16-4.
Saints looked to have further extended their lead midway through the first half. A fumbled pass backwards from Coote found Jonny Lomax’s boot, he kicked it through for Mark Percival and he grounded the ball. After a lengthy video referee look though, the try was ruled out for an apparent Sione Mata’utia offside.
Theo Fages then looked like he had increased our lead after Swift lost the ball close to the Hull line, the Frenchman reacted quickest to touch the ball down. However, referee Chris Kendall said that the tackle had been completed. Coote did increase our lead with a penalty though, 18-4.
Saints grabbed their fourth, and final, try with another flowing move before the break. We moved the ball from right to left and Lomax threw a great cut-out pass to find Welsby on the left wing, he strolled in again for his second try of the game. Coote’s conversion attempt went wide, as Saints deservedly led 22-4 at half-time.
Saints almost had their fifth try of the game two minutes into the second half. We managed to keep the ball alive after some great offloads, Fages kicked towards Welsby and he looked destined to grab his hat-trick, but a last ditch Mahe Fonua tackle made the ball come loose. Welsby wasn’t to be denied for long though. A high kick from Fages wasn’t dealt with by Connor and Welsby collected the ball and planted it down to complete his first Saints hat-trick. Coote added the extras, 28-4.
The video referee was called upon again in the 52nd minute. Kevin Naiqama with a Tommy Makinson-esque finish, but a good tackle from Marc Sneyd saw the Fijian’s knee go into touch.
The visitors got their second try of the game a minute before the hour mark. Connor found Fonua on the right wing and he dragged his way over, despite multiple Saints defenders trying their best to prevent him. Sneyd added the extra two, 28-10.
Saints made sure that it was nothing more than a consolation try though. Morgan Knowles made a big break downfield, he found Lomax on his outside and our number six unselfishly found Joe Batchlelor on his inside, and he scored his first try of the campaign. Coote added the extras, 34-10 Saints led.
Naiqama was again denied late on, Connor with a crucial tackle to stop our Fijian and force him into touch, and the video referee couldn’t find any evidence to overturn the ‘no try’ decision on-field.
Hull added another late consolation on the hooter, Sneyd’s kicked was collected by Fonua for his second try of the game. Sneyd added the extras, but it was Saints who returned to winning ways with a dominant 34-16 win at the Totally Wicked Stadium and it sets up next Saturday’s Challenge Cup semi-final as a real spectacle.
Saints Team: Lachlan Coote, Kevin Naiqama, Josh Simm, Mark Percival, Jack Welsby, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Joel Thompson, Sione Mata’utia, Morgan Knowles.
Interchanges: Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi, Joe Batchelor, Lewis Dodd.
Tries: Jack Welsby (2, 36, 47), Lachlan Coote (7). Morgan Knowles (18), Joe Batchelor (68)
Conversions: Lachlan Coote (4 from 6)
Penalties: Lachlan Coote (1 from 1)
Hull FC Team: Jake Connor, Mahe Fonua, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Adam Swift, Josh Reynolds. Marc Sneyd, Ligi Sao, Danny Houghton, Chris Satae, Jordan Lane, Manu Ma’u, Joe Cator.
Interchanges: Josh Bowden, Jack Brown, Brad Fash, Jordan Johnstone.
Tries: Adam Swift (10), Mahe Fonua (59, 80)
Conversions: Marc Sneyd (2 from 3)