Saints v Castleford Tigers
Saints bounced back from their Good Friday disappointment with a superb 26-22 win over Castleford.
Mark Percival scored one try and made two more in a sensational ten minute first half burst that overturned an eight point deficit against the full strength league leaders.
Matty Fleming and Luke Douglas crossed for four pointers whilst Regan Grace bagged what proved to be crucial score in the second half.
It was Saints’ fourth win of the season – and probably their most important – in front of close to 12,500 at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
After dominating in terms of possession early doors, Cas’ Greg Eden took advantage of a bouncing ball in the in-goal area to put his side ahead.
Saints hit back with repeat sets but after great runs from Alex Walmsley and Luke Thompson, Fleming’s pass flew over Adam Swift’s head.
Tommy Makinson stopped a certain Greg Minikin try on 17 minutes but Luke Gale extended the lead with a penalty three minutes later.
Saints hit back when Zeb Taia showed great awareness to snaffle the ball from the restart.
His side won a repeat set and then Percival ran from one side of the field to the other to set up Fleming.
And the centre showed great strength to go through to tacklers to plunge over.
Percival added the extras and then set Saints on their way to another try.
He broke down the middle to get his side on a roll before Jon Wilkin fed Douglas for his first in the red vee.
Two tries in three breathtaking minutes.
Saints continued to build and it was no surprise when they made the momentum pay once again.
On the last, five metres out, Fages put in a delicate kick for Percival to beat his man and put down.
Saints had erased an eight point deficit in ten minutes – and it got even better when Percival added a penalty two minutes before the half time hooter.
Castleford pulled it back to a one score game when Ben Roberts plunged over on a fine line early in the second.
Saints forced a couple of drop outs – but lost the ball twice – before Fages went close.
Cas then went up the other end of the field and scored.
The ball was kept alive and Roberts found Michael Shenton who made no mistake in putting Eden in for his second.
Saints built pressure as Taia, Alex Walmsley and Kyle Amor went close in the same set – but then Regan Grace stamped his mark on the game once more.
His mazy run in broken play saw him hauled down half a foot from the line.
Cas lay all over him and were lucky to remain at 13 men, but from there Saints moved the ball through hands for Percival to find Grace in the corner.
Castleford became more desperate in the final stages but Roberts’ second try was a mere footnote on a superb Saints display.
Tries: Fleming, Douglas, Percival, Grace
Goals: Percival (5 from 5)
Tries: Eden (2), Roberts (2)
Goals: Gale (3 from 4)
REF: Chris Campbell
2. Tommy Makinson; 5. Adam Swift, 22. Matty Fleming, 4. Mark Percival, 28. Regan Grace; 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith; 10. Kyle Amor, 17. Tommy Lee, 8. Alex Walmsley, 36. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin, 16. Luke Thompson.
Subs: 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Adam Walker, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 20. Morgan Knowles.
1. Zak Hardaker; 2. Greg Minikin, 3. Jake Webster, 4. Michael Shenton, 5. Greg Eden; 16. Ben Roberts, 7. Luke Gale; 8. Andy Lynch, 9. Paul McShane, 17. Junior Moors, 10. Grant Millington, 12. Mike McMeeken, 14. Nathan Massey.
Subs: 11. Oliver Holmes, 13. Adam Milner, 15. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 18. Matt Cook.
Saints Line up
Castleford Tigers Line up
Last updated 17 May 17 16:57:46
Cas get a penalty then Roberts scores
Cas get a penalty
Cas have the ball.
Saints force another error.
Lee puts it straight into touch
Cas coming forward
Saints kick it into touch
Saints keep it alive, Smith to Taia, Percival and he finds Grace with another nice finish.
Amor held up
grace goes close, is lay all over – and that should be a sin bin.
Taia, Walmsley and Amor go close.
Wonderful play from Cas, keeping the ball alive and Roberts finds Shenton to put Eden in.
Close from Fages but he loses the ball.
Penalty for Saints
Taia tries too hard to play the ball fast and loses the ball.
Grace gets Saints another drop out.
Saints force an error – great chance for them in Cas territory
Ball to ground from Wilkin – chance lost.
Saints force a drop out
Matty Fleming grabs a drop out when he follows up his own kick to put Zak Hardaker in his own in goal.
big d from Saints – Swift puts in a great hit on Shenton to force him to put his pass into touch.
Penalty to Cas
Big run on a fine line.
Error from Saints – Cas have the ball in Saints 40
Good high take from Makinson
Sides trading sets at the moment.
Saints get us back underway
Penalty to Saints
Saints in again! Mark Percival gets on to Fages’ kick
Saints win a drop out – Smith’s kick and Peyroux’s chase winning it.
Penalty to Saints.
Massive D from Saints after an error from Matty Smith.
Run down the middle from Percy – Saints back up well and Douglas goes over.
Percival sets it up with a run across the line and Fleming is over! Great awareness from centre to centre.
Saints will get another set.
Taia collects the ball from the kick off. Saints with a chance.
Percival runs across the line looking for a runner – Wilkin can’t haul it in.
Makinson stops a certain try after Roberts’ fine piece of skill almost sets Minikin away.
Saints lively down the left hand side – asking a lot of the Cas defence.
Chance on the right hand side but Fleming’s pass is too high and finds touch.
Penalty to Saints
Makinson wins Saints a drop out with a kick early in the tackle count.
Mistake from Cas. Saints on the attack – Taia almost pokes his head through.
Bouncing ball on the last – in the ingoal area – and Eden pounces.
Swift loses the ball – on Saints 35. Some big D coming up.
Nice take from Tommy Makinson. Fairly even opening stags – Cas with the territorial advantage.
Good kick from Smith on the last.
Good D from the Saints stops Cas on the line.
Chance on the left hand side – but Taia puts the ball down. On the last that one.
Castleford will get this one underway