12-Man Saints beaten in Challenge Cup rematch

Saints' unbeaten run came to an end on Thursday evening as Castleford avenged their loss in the Challenge Cup final with a 20-10 victory at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Despite Castleford having the better field position courtesy of two early penalties in the opening ten minutes, it was Saints who had the biggest chance of the game. Tommy Makinson tapped a quick penalty and earned  big yards downfield before getting tackled.  Saints were unable to take advantage of that break though, as Kevin Naiqama was tackled an inch away from the try-line. 0-0 it was after the opening 15  minutes.

Despite a number of errors, Saints did take a 20th minute lead though. After Alex Walmsley was held up by the Cas defence, we threw the ball from right to left from under the sticks, and it ended with Jack Welsby flying over in the left corner after collecting a cut-out pass from Lachlan Coote. Our number one was unable to add the extra two though, so we led 4-0 at the midpoint of the first half.

The visitors responded four minutes before the break. Greg Eden strolled in down the Saints right side after a succession of Saints errors and Castleford penalties on the Saints line. Former Saint Danny Richardson added the conversion to give the Tigers a 6-4 half-time lead at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Saints started the second half better. Joe Batchelor dragged Niall Evalds out of play ten metres out from the Castleford line, but Saints were held up and then unable to take advantage of the good field position after another error – which was beginning to be the story of the night.

Richardson grabbed the first points of the second half for the Tigers after the returning James Bentley was penalised for a late hit on Gareth O’Brien, 8-4 the visitors led. The visitors then extended that lead further as Oliver Holmes stepped his way through to score to the left of the sticks. Richardson added the extras to make it 14-4.

Bentley was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes for a tackle before Cas’ Peter Mata’utia followed him to the bin for his reaction as things began to heat up. Tommy Makinson was then sent off two minutes later for an apparent late shot on Niall Evalds.

But in typical never say die Saints attitude, it was the Saints who found the next try. Walmsley took a quick penalty close to the line and powered his way over to give Saints a lifeline. Coote added the extras, 14-10.

Kristian Woolf’s men continued to push for the winner, but it was the Tigers who sealed their first win at St Helens for 30 years with two minutes to go as Eden intercepted a Coote pass and ran the length of the field for his second. Richardson added the extras to make the final score 20-10 to the Castleford Tigers.

It was our first defeat since mid June in Round 10. Next up? Saints vs Wigan in the Derby on Friday 20th August.

Saints Team: Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Mark Percival, Jack Welsby, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Joel Thompson, Joe Batchelor, Sione Mata’utia.

Interchanges: James Bentley, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi.

Tries: Jack Welsby (20), Alex Walmsley (67)

Conversions: Lachlan Coote (1 from 2)

Sin Bin: James Bentley (63)

Send off: Tommy Makinson (64)

Castleford Tigers Team: Niall Evalds, Derrell Olpherts, Peter Mata’utia, Jordan Turner, Greg Eden, Danny Richardson, Gareth O’Brien, Suaia Matagi, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Oliver Holmes, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Daniel Smith.

Interchanges: Liam Watts, Cheyse Blair, George Griffin, Tyla Hepi.

Tries: Greg Eden (36, 79), Oliver Holmes (52)

Conversions: Danny Richardson (3 from 3)

Penalties: Danny Richardson (1 from 1)

Sin Bin: Peter Mata’utia (63)

HT: 4-6

FT: 10-20

ATT: 7050

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