DERBIES are eagerly anticipated wherever they are played - but occasionally the hype exceeds the performance, but not Saturday's at Moss Lane where Liverpool St Helens triumphed 32-27.

Both sides served up a cracking game, played in good spirit and at pace, full of incident and excellence together with a touch of misfortune.

A disastrous opening for the home side saw them contrive to lose the ball five times in the opening 15 minutes resulting in two converted tries from distance from an eager and a pacy set of West Park backs.

St Helens Star:

LSH, now managing to keep possession, responded in the best way possible just four minutes later through Number 8 Chris Hull, wide out on the left after the ball had been moved swiftly from a ruck on the right. Alex McBride landed the conversion.

A productive ten minute spell followed for the Moss Laners as they took the game to West Park. Good work from Dan Webster was continued by Alex McBride sprinting in over 25 yards to score the second try after 26 minutes, followed by strong pressure on the West Park line.

St Helens Star:

This eventually brought a score from influential stand-off Rob Sexton, nipping through a gap to score from close range, converted by McBride.

West Park reasserted in the closing stages of the first half and landed a penalty on the half time whistle to make it 19-17, before going ahead after 52 minutes with another penalty. As the game went past the hour mark the stage was set for a grandstand finish and both sides didn’t disappoint.

LSH, their start now well behind them, were just about dominating possession, particularly in the set piece, with Chris Hall, one of the season’s greatest improvers, having another excellent game in the lineout.

St Helens Star:

Aided by the astute addition on to the field of three experienced campaigners, Jan Lourens, Mario Bonati and Dave Cunliffe, LSH forged ahead. McBride, busy all afternoon, raced in again after a good break from Alex McClurg after 62 minutes, and five minutes later young winger Ruari Hennigan collected a long pinpoint pass from Sexton to squeeze in at the left hand corner, McBride converted to put LSH nine points clear.

West Park fought back strongly and reduced the arrears to two with a converted try in the 74th minute and in a frantic finale, McBride added a penalty for LSH with three minutes to go, with enough time for the visitors to launch a couple of attacks.

St Helens Star:

The ball was spilled on both occasions just yards from the line. It was that sort of game.

On Saturday LSH travel to Fleetwood.

West Park entertain Heaton Moor both games kick off at 3pm.