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Saints 44 Castleford 12
SAINTS comfortably saw off Castleford after producing some sparkling second half rugby at Langtree Park.
After something of a drab first half, in which Saints played well within themselves, the game sparked into life in the second half when a torrential downpour seemed to provoke a response from the players and the crowd.
Ian Millward’s Cas started brightly and it took some keen home defence to keep ex-Saint Jacob Emmitt at bay.
It has to be said, Saints tackled magnificently early on – and that was the biggest improvement on recent weeks.
Saints hit the front after eight minutes when Anthony Laffranchi won the race to Jonny Lomax’s grubber – colliding with the advertising board in the process and playing no further part in the game.
Tommy Makinson goaled but the game hit a bit of a lull, although Cas did try and have a go to move the ball.
In one off the cuff move it took a fine cover tackle from Paul Wellens to bundle Steve Snitch into touch.
Saints doubled their advantage when a magnificent pass out of the tackle from Chris Flannery sent Paul Wellens over, with Makinson again goaling.
Cas pegged one back from a tap penalty with Paul Jackson going over, with Danny Orr goaling on 27 minutes.
However, Saints finished with a bit of a flourish with a floated long ball from man of the match Wellens seeing Makinson squeeze in at the corner.
And just before the break tapped the ball through the line for Flannery to touch down to make it 20-6 at the break.
A dazzling length of the field effort from Makinson brought the game to life on 51 minutes when he picked up a dab through on his own line and showed the Cas cover a clean pair of heels.
Gary Wheeler won the race to another Lance Hohaia grubber before a super half break from Wellens, followed by a chip to the line, was polished off by Adam Swift.
11 minutes from time Lomax slipped in after good work from Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Sia Soliola had made good charges.
Cas grabbed a consolation through Jordan Thompson but Saints had a great chance to make it 50 when they attacked in the last seconds from their own line.
Wellens combined with Makinson who exchanged passes with Swift before dashing to the corner. The young centre had Wellens and Makinson either side of him as the line approached, but kept hold and was bundled into touch inches short of the whitewash.
It was nonetheless a great ending to a game.
Saints: Wellens; Makinson, Swift, Wheeler, Meli; Hohaia, Lomax; Perry, Roby, Laffranchi, Soliola, Flannery, Puletua. Subs: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Flanagan, Clough, Dixon.
Castleford: Owen; Youngquest, Snitch, Thompson, Griffin; Orr, Johnston; Emmitt, Hudson, Huby, Millington, Jones, Mitchell. Subs: Milner, Jackson, Holmes, Massey.
Ref: G. Stokes