Saints beat Leopards to make it seven consecutive wins

Saints avenged their defeat in the Semi-Finals of the Challenge Cup with a 22-12 victory over Leigh on Friday evening!

Despite Saints dominating the early stages, it was the visitors who went ahead. The ball went through the hands quick from right to left and Gareth O’Brien put Oliver Gildart over in the far corner. Ben Reynolds converted, 0-6 the visitors led.

Saints responded in style. Mark Percival’s pass set Tommy Makinson away down the wing, he found the supporting Jonny Lomax on his inside who found Joe Batchelor, he then found Makinson again alone on the wing, to stroll over for our first score of the game. Percival levelled the scores, 6-6.

The hosts thought they had got the ball back in the Leigh ten after Matty Lees pushed O’Brien into touch after collecting a kick, but the referee awarded a penalty to Leigh as he ruled the tackle had already been completed.

Another chance soon followed. Lomax put a great kick in which bounced into the Leigh in-goal area, but the visitors won the race to the loose ball and got trapped in-goal. The following set resulted in another Lomax grubber into the Leigh in-goal, but O’Brien pushed the ball out before George Delaney could get to it. The Leopards were forced to dropout again.

Despite the Red V dominating most of the opening 40 minutes, the sides went into half-time level at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Leigh started the second half much better. An attack down their right edge saw Zak Hardaker throw a dummy before heading towards the line, but he was pushed into touch by a scrambling Saints defence as he attempted to get the ball down.

Saints thought they had re-taken the lead soon the following set. Lewis Dodd’s high kick was fumbled by O’Brien under pressure, James Roby got the ball and headed for the line before offloading right to Makinson on the wing, he then dove through a tackle to ground the ball. The video referee agreed with the on-field decision of try, Makinson had his second try of the evening. Percival converted, 12-6.

Shortly after the try, it was announced Delaney had failed his HIA, and would not be returning to the game. It will also rule him out of next Friday’s trip to Warrington.

Third third Red V try soon followed. A move from right to left ended with Dodd finding Lomax, who threw a dummy below diving over the line unopposed. Percival missed the conversion, 16-6 we led.

The deficit was then reduced. Edwin Ipape broke through the middle before being grabbed back, he was able to offload to Rob Mulhern who went over under the posts. Reynolds converted from in front of the sticks, 16-12.

Saints had a chance to increase the lead just after the restart. Leigh moved the ball right and Hardaker knocked on deep inside his own half. Saints switched right and Welsby tried to find Percival, but the ball was juggled forward and Leigh survived.

With just under ten minutes to go, the video referee was called into action again. Ben Davies cut inside and kicked ahead for himself, but was taken out in the process. Despite that, they ruled 20 metre restart for the Leopards, as the ball went out following Davies’ kick.

With six minutes to go, the video referee was once again called into action. Saints went left but the ball went to ground and Tom Briscoe picked it up before racing the other way to score in the corner. However, the decision went in Saints’ favour, as the Leopards had dropped the ball earlier on in the move.

Saints then went close again. Dodd’s high kick was claimed by Welsby, who span towards the line but was held up just short.

With three minutes to go, another trip upstairs. James Bell drove from the line and was able to offload to ball to Batchelor who dove over from close range. The referee agreed with the on-field decision of try, Saints had a two-score lead as we entered the final two minutes. Percival added an extra two points, 22-12.

That was the final score of the game, as Saints made it seven wins in a row with a victory over the Leopards at the Totally Wicked Stadium!

Match Summary

Saints Team: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Mark Percival, Ben Davies, Jon Bennison, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Matty Lees, James Roby, Morgan Knowles, Joe Batchelor, Sione Mata’utia, James Bell.

Interchanges: Sam Royle, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, George Delaney, Moses Mbye.

18th Man: Tee Ritson.

Tries: Tommy Makinson (18, 51), Jonny Lomax (58), Joe Batchelor (77)

Conversions: Mark Percival (3 from 4)

Leigh Leopards Team: Gareth O’Brien, Tom Briscoe, Ed Chamberlain, Zak Hardaker, Oliver Gildart, Ben Reynolds, Lachlan Lam, Tom Amone, Edwin Ipape, Rob Mulhern, Kai O’Donnell, Jack Hughes, Matt Davis.

Interchanges: Joe Mellor, Joe Wardle, Ben Nakubuwai, Frankie Halton.

18th Man: Oliver Holmes.

Tries: Oliver Gildart (10), Rob Mulhern (64)

Conversions: Ben Reynolds (2 from 2)

HT: 6-6

FT: 22-12

Attendance: 13,428

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