St Helens guaranteed their place in the semi-finals with a 38-42 victory over Castleford Tigers at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle tonight in a match that was thrilling from beginning to end, but which saw defences taking a late summer holiday and with several video-refereeing decisions that caused controversy.
A total of 13 tries were scored, with Saints grabbing seven of them and winger Adam Swift registering a try hat-trick.
The game began badly for Castleford when Saints took an early 18-point lead after 15 minutes with the first two of Swift’s tries and one from centre Mark Percival, with Luke Walsh converting them all, as he would continue to do all night.
The Tigers hit back with two tries from Luke Dorn and one from Ben Roberts to equalise the scores at half-time, with Luke Gale also converting every try that his team scored.
The game was a topsy-turvy affair in the second half, with Roberts touching down for the Tigers after a brilliant offload from Mike McMeeken.
Saints equalised with Percival’s second try, before Gale gave the Tigers the lead again with a converted penalty.
But St Helens moved into a ten-point lead on 60 minutes with tries by Adam Quinlan and Tommy Makinson.
Denny Solomona pulled one back to take the score to 32-36 with 13 minutes remaining, but Saints pulled away again when Swift went in for his hat-trick.
The Tigers continues to fight back, however, and Junior Moors’ try on 78 minutes reduced the gap to four points again, but they ran out of time and can now finish no higher than fifth position.
A full report, photos and analysis will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.