St Helens won a tight encounter against Castleford Tigers today, getting a 26-22 victory to give encouragement to Saints’ temporary coaching team of Sean Long and Jamahl Lolesi after their encouraging performance against Wigan on Friday.
The Tigers welcomed back their captain Michael Shenton into the centre, with Greg Minikin switching to the wing and Joel Monaghan dropping out of the matchday squad.
The Tigers opened the scoring after seven minutes when Makinson was unable to gather McShane’s kick into the in-goal and Greg Eden was on hand to touch down, with Luke Gale adding the goal.
Gale extended the Tigers’ lead when he kicked a penalty for offside but Saints replied when Matty Fleming did well to score in the corner in the face of a challenge from Shenton. Mark Percival’s goal made it 6-8, and Saints were in again two minutes later when Luke Douglas stretched out to score under the posts, with Percival’s goal giving Saints the lead for the first time.
And on 35 minutes Percival touched down Theo Fages grubber into the in-goal, converting the try and then adding a penalty to give Saints a half-time lead of 20-8.
That margin was reduced to six points early in the second half with a Ben Roberts try, converted by Gale.
Saints forced several goal-line drop-outs, but couldn’t convert them into points before Eden scored his second from a great passing movement on 59 minutes. Gale couldn’t convert and the score stood at 20-18.
Saints got some breathing space, however, when winger Regan Grace scored his second try in as many matches, with Percival again converting and, although the Tigers scored a try on the hooter with Roberts’ second, Saints had inflicted only their second defeat of the Super League season.
St Helens: 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 (C), 16 Luke Thompson; Subs: 14 Luke Douglas, 18 Adam Walker, Dominique Peyroux, 20 Morgan Knowles.
Tries: Fleming, Douglas, Percival, Grace; Goals: Percival 5
Castleford: 1 Zak Hardaker, 2 Greg Minikin, 3 Jake Webster, 4 Michael Shenton, 5 Greg Eden, 16 Ben Roberts, 7 Luke Gale (C), 8 Andy Lynch, 9 Paul McShane, 17 Junior Moors, 11 Oliver Holmes, 12 Mike McMeeken, 14 Nathan Massey; Subs: 11 Oliver Holmes, 13 Adam Milner, 15 Jesse Sene-Lefao, 16 Matt Cook.
Tries: Eden 2, Roberts 2; Goals: Gale 3
More details from this game will feature in next Monday’s League Express