Saints 20 Catalans 30

11:09pm Sunday 11th July 2010

Catalans rocked a lethargic and slapdash Saints side - with three tries in a seven minute spell before the break proving too much for the Knowsley Roaders to handle.

Sloppy Saints were punished for a succession of handling errors, although in mitigation they were missing first choice half backs Kyle Eastmond and Leon Pryce, as well as skipper Keiron Cunningham.

Teenager Lee Gaskell made his debut at stand off, partnering back row-cum-scrum half Jon Wilkin, who was playing his first game for 13 weeks.

Saints took the lead when Wilkin’s flat pass sent Paul Wellens over on six minutes.

Wing Jonny Lomax, in ahead of the more experienced Ade Gardner on the right flank, converted .

However, some powerful running down the right by Dane Carlaw polished off slick handling by the Dragons. Thomas Bosc slotted the first of five from five conversions.

Francis Meli restored Saints’ lead when he caught Wilkin’s kick to the corner.

Seven minutes before the break the Dragons struck when a clever kick from Bosc bamboozled the Saints defence allowing Greenshields to race on to it and touch down. A Bosc grubber then saw McGuire dive over.

And then a slick handling movement ripped the Saints defence apart, with Carlaw and McGuire prominent, culminating in Greenshields going over for his second.

Bosc goaled all three to give the Dragons a 14-point cushion at the break.

A determined run from Gaskell gave Saints a toe-hold.

Lomax’s goal cut Catalans’ lead to eight points but Saints needed the next score.

They did not get it and the Dragons crossed four minutes later in their first attacking move of the half Carlaw sent Brent Sherwin over.

Although Meli went over with 20 minutes to play, they had left themselves with a mountain to climb.

Saints coach Mick Potter said: “They were better than us in most facets of the game. They slowed us down, we could not get a quick play the ball. They kicked better and executed their plays better than us – we were poor in some facets and need to get better really quickly.

“Their last play options were better but we are still not moving to the ball quickly enough. We needed to have more urgency. It is something we will keep working on and keep talking about but at some point the penny just has to drop.

“But, one positive was that Lee Gaskell had a good debut for us and did very well – he is a player for the future, on the positive side he got a try and kicked well, it is just a shame he couldn’t get a win on his debut.

“It was a tough ask for Jon Wilkin to come back in and play six and seven – he probably has not practised as much as he would have liked but he tried is heart out for the team.”

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