YOUTHFUL Saints turned on the style lift the League Leaders' Shield with two games to spare after a 38-12 win over an equally depleted Hull FC.

It was Saints' first piece of silverware since winning at Old Trafford in 2014, and after a few wobbles since the Challenge Cup semi final this performance is timely as they build towards the semi-final.

Much had been made of the numerous Black and White absentees, but Saints, too, were down to their last 17 fit eligible players.

It meant as well as debutants James Bentley and 17-year-old Jack Welsby, Saints made a call to Barrow-bound Jake Spedding for his first game of the season.

The most pleasing aspect for Saints was the manner in which they got the ball into the hands of their strike players with centre Mark Percival and flank-flier Regan Grace both scoring two apiece.

Significantly all of Saints' points came from players nurtured through the club's junior ranks.

After the teams traded set-for-set in the opening 10 minutes, Saints took a grip of the game when Jonny Lomax shot through a gap before drawing the full back and presenting England centre Percival with a straight run to the line.

Last week's match-winner in Perpignan Morgan Knowles added a second two minutes later, when he charged on to the ball from close range, fending off two would-be tacklers for a soft score.

And that looked as though Hull's resistance would wane, but instead that produced a response from an Hull FC side playing to restore pride after some dismal performances in the Super 8s.

Jordan Lane jinked his way around Ben Barba for Hull's first try and substitute Brad Fash crashed through by the sticks to bring the visitors level.

After a couple of inept displays in the previous two homes, there was a momentary concern that this one too would go off the boil.

But a timely charge from Luke Thompson tipped the balance Saints' way a minute before the interval - and there was no stopping him over from bashing the ball down.

Danny Richardson's third conversion made it 18-12 at the break and after a slow start to the second half he extended the lead to two scores with a penalty 10 minutes in.

Psychologically that appeared to do the trick.

A surging run from the up-and-at-em Thompson should have yielded something, but his pass to the supporting Barba went forward.

But Saints scented blood and Percival continued his resurgence in form when he pierced the line, dummying as he went, before opening up to race over.

Suddenly Saints had a chance to win in style - and give the 9,000 fans plenty to cheer after the doubts of recent weeks.

Welsh wing Grace, twice inter-passed with Barba to touch down in the tightest of corners and then he showed the pacy side to his game when he raced 60 metres, before giving full-back Hakim Miloudi the slip on his way to the line.

Richardson added his seventh goal to wrap up the scoring and seal an emphatic win and the top spot that goes with it.

Saints were right to mark this landmark as a reward for their consistency over the course of the season, but this is simply a staging post to attack the main prize in October.

And hopefully this fillip, combined with the imminent return of the handful of absentees, will help Saints build momentum for that.

Saints: Barba; Makinson, Costello, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Richardson; Amor, Knowles, Thompson, Bentley, Ashworth, Wilkin. Subs: Douglas, Lees, Spedding, Welsby.

Hull FC: Miloudi; Faraimo, Scott, Griffin, Talanoa; Harris, Connor; Matongo, Washbrook, Taylor, Hadley, Lane, Manu. Subs: Abdul, Fash, Litten, Bienek.