Saints v Castleford Tigers
Saints ended their Super 8s campaign with a comfortable 26-0 win over Castleford.
Ben Barba scored a brace whilst Morgan Knowles and Matty Lees also crossed as Justin Holbrook’s men warmed up for next week’s semi-final with Warrington.
A sterner test that will obviously be, but Saints will head into it full of confidence after ending the league season on a high.
Saints were in front after only eight minutes – and it was a lead they never looked like losing.
Matty Costello danced in from the left to set up the space for Matty Lees to charge on to a short ball for this first try in the Red V.
Saints then defended back to back sets before Barba caught a high ball and set Tommy Makinson away down the centre of the field.
The winger did well too; running through one before he was tackled by Joe Wardle. Saints were in a great position but the Cas man wouldn’t let him play the ball and was sinbinned.
A man to the good, Saints made their visitors pay – and it was Morgan Knowles who bagged his fifth of the season.
He took a pass in midfield, stepped his defender and then rounded the full back.
Saints were looking dangerous on every attack and it was no surprise when they got the better of Castleford once again before the half time hooter.
Regan Grace took Costello’s pass to go down the left – and duly turned it inside for Barba to clock has 30th of the season.
Richardson tagged on a penalty three minutes into the second half before Barba notched another try two minutes later – twisting and turning to put down with three defenders on him.
Saints went close through LMS and Fages on the hour mark before Justin Holbrook started to rest his big guns with one eye on next week’s big game.
Barba and James Roby both came off early, leaving the likes of Costello, James Bentley and Jack Ashworth to enjoy more game time – and backstop Saints to their 28th win of the season.
Tries: Lees, Knowles, Barba (2)
Goals: Richardson (5 from 5)
REF: Scott Mikalauskas
23. Ben Barba; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 30. Matty Costello, 19. Regan Grace; 6. Theo Fages, 18. Danny Richardson; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 20. Matty Lees, 11. Zeb Taia, 17. Dom Peyroux, 15. Morgan Knowles.
Subs: 14. Luke Douglas, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 21. Jack Ashworth, 24. James Bentley.
36. Peter Mataíutia; 2. Greg Minikin, 3. Jake Webster, 1. Ben Roberts, 26. James Clare; 21. Jake Trueman, 7. Luke Gale; 32. Liam Watts, 9. Paul McShane, 10. Grant Millington, 16. Joe Wardle, 15. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 14. Nathan Massey.
Subs: 13. Adam Milner, 23. Mitch Clark, 25. Will Maher, 34. Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e.
Holbrook Pleased To Come Through Cas Test
Barba Tags Brace As Saints Beat Cas
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Last updated 26 May 19 19:49:35
But Cas knock on!
Saints have to drop out.
Matty Lees taken high, Saints have a penalty
Chip from Richardson – Taia felled – Saints penalty.
Both sides trade knock ons – Saints have the ball in Cas 30.
Cas caught for a forward pass – Saints lead 26-0
Cas follow up with back to back penalties – but Saints put Webster in touch to keep their line intact.
Error from Saints – Cas ball, 35 out.
Danny makes it 26-0
Barba on the last, looks at the defence, steps off his left and right and then puts down under pressure.
Penalty in front of the sticks – Saints lead 20-0
Saints force a knock on from Cas – they will attack from 30 out,
Saints will get the second half underway – they lead 18-0
Richardson drop goal attempt goes wide.
Danny makes it 18-0
Saints get it left – Regan goes down the touchline and turns it back inside for Benny!
7 to go in the first half and Saints lead 12-0
Another good kick on the last from Barba – and Cas have to drop out again.
Barba forces Cas to drop out.
Great feet from Morgan, takes a pass, steps his man and then rounds the fullback to slide over.
Barba takes the high ball, sets Tommy off down the field – he fells one in his run and then Wardle holds on too long and is binned.
Enterprising play on the last from Saints but Cas gather Dom Peyroux’s kick.
Cas then called for a forward pass – Saints will have the scrum near their own line.
Cas kick on the last – it appears to hit the referee and go dead – Saints have to drop out.
Cas penalty in their own 40.
Richardson makes it 6-0
Short ball and Lees is over for his first in the Red V!
And another penalty. Saints on the front foot.
Barba up to a chip-through and Saints come away with it.
Cas on the attack, 20 out.
Castleford get this one underway