Saints, missing a number of regular starters, began the game on the front foot and took an early sixth minute lead as we were awarded a penalty following a high shot on Jonny Lomax. Saints opted for two and Jon Bennision who was on kicking duties, slotted over the goal to make it 2-0.
Saints were then camped in the Warriors half for the opening 20 minutes of the game as we built pressure, but were unable to add anymore points.
The Red Vee were made to pay for that as Wigan then grabbed the first try of the game in the 31st minute. After Saints knocked the ball on it gave Wigan the ball in Saints territory, Jai Field then threw a cut out pass to Bevan French down the Warriors’ right edge and he slid over to score. Harry Smith converted, 6-2 Wigan led.
Wigan went over again just seconds before the hooter. A kick downfield wasn’t dealt with by the Saints and it ended with Sam Powell grounding the ball, however after a video referee review the try was ruled out as Powell was offside from the second Warriors kick. That was to be the final action of the first period, as Saints perhaps unfortunately, trailed 6-2 at the break in Newcastle.
Wigan grabbed the next try just three minutes into the second half. The ball was once again worked down their right edge as French broke down the wing and kicked inside for John Bateman to collect and score. Smith converted again, 12-2.
Saints were able to respond this time around. We opted to go back down the short side and Jack Welsby found Man of the Match Joe Batchelor who cleverly kicked the ball past Field before grounding to score. Bennison was unable to convert, 12-6 Saints trailed.
Saints had the momentum and another try quickly followed. Bateman made a mistake and Welsby picked the ball up and threw a dummy before outpacing French to ground the ball. After a video referee review the try was awarded. Bennison was unable to convert, so Saints still trailed 12-10.
The Warriors were then reduced to 12 men as Brad Singleton was sent off for a late and high shot on a falling Curtis Sironen. From the penalty Bennison kicked it so the scores were tied at 12-12.
Against the run of play, the Warriors then once again took the lead with nine minutes to go. Field broke downfield and kicked out wide to French who collected the ball and skipped inside a Saints tackle to score. The try was given by the video referee, Smith converted to make it 18-12.
But in typical Saints style, we hit back again as the impressive Will Hopoate threw a cut out pass to the left wing for Regan Grace to score. Bennison’s conversion went wide so Saints trailed 18-16 with just under five minutes to go.
And as the old saying goes ‘Never Write off the Saints’ was specifically true in this instance as we won it in the final minute! Batchelor made a break dow the right wing after a ball from Hopoate and threw a dummy to further that break, he then found the supporting Jonny Lomax on his inside who scored to win it for Saints!
Bennison was unable to convert but that wasn’t to matter, as Saints claimed a dramatic derby day victory with a 20-18 victory over Wigan at Magic Weekend!
Saints Team: Will Hopoate, Jonathan Bennison, Konrad Hurrell, Sione Mata’utia, Regan Grace, Jack Welsby, Jonny Lomax, Agnatius Paasi, James Roby, Matty Lees, Joe Batchelor, Curtis Sironen, Morgan Knowles.
Interchanges: Joey Lussick, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Jake Wingfield, Dan Norman.
Tries: Joe Batchelor (52), Jack Welsby (59), Regan Grace (74), Jonny Lomax (79)
Conversions: Jonathan Bennision (0 from 4)
Penalties: Jonathan Bennison (2 from 2)
Wigan Warriors Team: Jai Field, Bevan French, Willie Isa, Jake Bibby, Liam Marshall, Cade Cust, Harry Smith, Brad Singleton, Sam Powell, Liam Byrne, Liam Farrell, John Bateman, Joe Shorrocks.
Interchanges: Morgan Smithies, Patrick Mago, Oliver Partington, Ethan Havard.
Tries: Bevan French (31, 71), John Bateman (43)
Conversions: Harry Smith (3 from 3)
Red Card: Brad Singleton (65)