Saints cling on to a point after a late Hull barrage

Saints lost Paul Wellens to injury early in the second half

Saints lost Paul Wellens to injury early in the second half

First published in Latest News
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St Helens Star: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Sports Writer

Saints 22 Hull 22.

SAINTS were left hanging on to a point at the end of a game that they appeared well on top of for large parts.

In a match that saw a huge improvement on their previous two encounters, Saints looked well in the driving seat when Josh Jones powered in on the left to make it 22-12 on the 50 minute mark.

But then they conspired to put themselves under a huge amount of pressure through daft penalties and soft handling errors.

The last quarter of the game was played largely in the Saints half, with Hull half back Daniel Holdsworth orchestrating and putting in some punishing grubber kicks.

It was one such angled kick that saw Tom Briscoe touch down in the corner, with Holdsworth’s kick cutting the Saints lead to four points.

Saints could not escape their own half and put themselves under pressure. Although they somehow kept their line intact, the pressure finally took its toll when Richard Whiting crossed in space on the right.

Crucially Holdsworth missed the goal and then was way off with two late drop goal attempts.

Although Saints were the more relieved side to hear the hooter, given where the last quarter had been played, they will probably see it as a point dropped.

They started brightly with the pack more than holding its own in the middle and the team’s kicking game, most notably from Lee Gaskell, causing the visitors some problems Saints dominated large parts of an entertaining first half.` However it was Hull who scored first, with quick hands opening Saints up on their left with Jason Crookes crossing in the corner.

Holdsworth added the difficult conversion to make it 6-0 after five minutes.

Saints rallied, a a great high kick from Gaskell, and a determined chase from the Saints pack, saw Shannon McDonnell spill.

Jon Wilkin came up with the ball and after the ball had passed through a few pair of hands, Saints cashed in when James Roby turned the ball inside for Anthony Laffranchi to run a good angle to touch down.

Gaskell’s conversion levelled it and it was another one of his bombs that caused Hull more problems. After saints goot the ball back, big men Tony Puletua and Laffranchi took two drives apiece before the ball was flashed wide for Francis Meli to power over on 17 minutes.

Saints added to that lead on 29 minutes, when from a penalty, the ball was shifted from left to right where Jordan Turner was able to power past a Hull defender on the line for his first try in the red vee.

But Hull were not done and finished the half brightly with McDonnell cashing in on a static defence in chasing Holdsworth’s shrewd grubber.

The second half saw plenty more Hull pressure with Holdsworth pulling the strings..

Saints’ cause was not helped by the loss of skipper Paul Wellens with a calf injury with Tommy Makinson coming off the wing to replace him at full back with Sia Soliola shunted into the centre, with Turner going to wing.

Saints: Wellens; Makinson, Turner, Jones, Meli; Gaskell, Lomax; Puletua, Roby, Laffranchi, Soliola, Wilkin, Manu. Subs: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Flanagan, Greenwood, Walmsley.

Hull: McDonnell; Crookes, Crooks, Yeaman, Briscoe; Holdsworth, Horne; O’Meley, Houghton, Lynch, Galea, Westerman, Whiting, Pitts, Johnson, Heremaia.

Ref: Ben Thaler

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