Send us news by text, start your message Star News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Frantic defence helps Saints retain a point
3:05pm Wednesday 20th February 2013 in Latest News
IT took some frantic defence and a couple of keen chases on two long-range drop goal attempts for Saints to cling on to a point in a match they had controlled for the early parts.
In the first 50 minutes in particular Saints showed a huge improvement on the opening day defeat by Huddersfield and last week’s win over Widnes, and they looked well in the driving seat when Josh Jones slid in to make it 22-12 on the 50 minute mark.
But hindered by the loss off skipper Paul Wellens, Saints conspired to put themselves under a huge amount of pressure through a succession of daft penalties and soft handling errors.
As a result Hull, with playmaker Daniel Holdsworth moving his pieces around like a chess grand master, camped out in the Saints 30 metre zone for the best part of the last quarter of the game.
It was one of those games in which Saints suddenly could not buy a bounce of the ball and yet every kick Holdsworth dabbed through appear to hit the jackpot.
But there were a couple of howlers in there too, and no doubt Makinson in particular watched the review of the match through his fingers when it came to the point where he coughed up the precious ball after not playing to the whistle.
Failure to notice that the referee had given the makeshift full back the benefit of the doubt after a fumbled kick saw him promptly toss the ball away in to touch in frustration.
But that was just one of several reasons why Saints, despite the keenness of their defence, found themselves incapable of effectively relieving that late pressure.
When Tom Briscoe touched down Holdsworth’s slide rule kick, with the latter cutting the Saints lead to four points the writing was on the wall.
Saints could not escape their own half and put themselves under pressure with knock ons from energetic debutant Alex Walmsley and penalties from teen prop Joe Greenwood all contributing to Hull’s dominant field position.
Although Saints 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 and Jon Wilkin, causing the visitors full back Shannon McDonnell some problems.
Saints dominated large parts of an entertaining first half but it was Hull who scored first, with quick hands and clever use of foils 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 great high kick from Gaskell, and a determined chase from the Saints pack, saw McDonnell spill and Wilkin come up with the ball. From a glorious position James Roby turned the ball inside for Anthony Laffranchi to run his trademark 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 got 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 in the corner 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 collected a beautifully weighted Gaskell pass 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 Holdsworth’s grubber.
The second half saw plenty more Hull pressure with Holdsworth pulling the strings and Saints’ desperate defence doing well to avoid a second home defeat on the spin.
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, Green, Westerman. Subs: Whiting, Pitts, Johnson, Heremaia.