WHAT an afternoon. What a game. What a win.

Liverpool St Helens, fielding a perfect blend of youth and experience, produced an outstanding display to bring the ADM Lancashire Cup to Moss Lane with a 29-26 win.

St Helens Star:

Together with their arch-rivals Widnes, both sides delivered a tremendous and exciting game of rugby, fit for a final and a fitting end to the season to reward the exceptional work of those running the League.

In front of a huge travelling support LSH, against a strongish wind, immediately took the game to Widnes, keeping the ball tight and were rewarded after five minutes when Matt Cunliffe burst through the defensive line to score from 30 yards out, converted by Matt Wood, 7-0.

Five minutes later, setting a pattern of things to come, Widnes hit back through their right winger speeding past everyone to run round and score under the posts, converted 7-7.

St Helens Star:

The game settled down with both sides ultimately enjoying equal success in the line-out and scrums, with LSH adopting a direct approach, driving forward with some success whilst Widnes preferred to run the ball at every opportunity.

Matt Wood broke the deadlock on the half hour mark scoring on the burst after a delightful inside switch pass from Matt Cunliffe 12-7 and remained in control until Widnes went ahead on the stroke of half time with a converted try 12-14.

St Helens Star:

Worse was to come after just two minutes of the second half when two Widnes speed merchants combined to deliver another score under the posts. 12-21.

Now was the time to find out what the men from Moss Lane were made of.

St Helens Star:

With club Captain Jan Lourens, playing his first competitive game for over a year leading the way, backed up front by a non-stop display from Sean Richardson, the flawless Alex McClurg at scrum half, and a typically strong performance from the Cunliffe brothers, together with the addition of Mario Bonati and Phil Kearns off the bench, LSH’s less experienced players responded magnificently.

St Helens Star:

A strong drive after 52 minutes saw Bonati scoring from close range, converted by Wood, 19-21 before LSH’s own speedster John Romano, took full advantage of a rare touch of the ball to edge LSH in front 24-21, five minutes later.

Widnes have not been the most consistently successful team since the inception of the ADM league for nothing, and hit back again in the 64th minute to edge ahead 24-26, leaving the Moss Laners with another mountain to climb.

St Helens Star:

They did so with a touch of good luck and a perfectly executed play.

As the game went past the 70 minute mark, both sides were sharing possession, until a Widnes attack broke down in the LSH 22.

By now Andy Northey had emptied the bench and Alex McBride, using the wind, let fly with a kick which looked for all the world that it was heading for the dead ball line.

But no. it bounced just yards from the try line and took a violent left turn, landing in touch just before the corner flag.

The roar from the LSH support could be heard back on Merseyside. Job half done.

St Helens Star:

A successful catch and drive was swung left to McBride who made no mistake in touching down to put LSH back in the lead 29-26.

This left a frantic eight minutes or so for LSH to hold out or Widnes to score. LSH did so and on the performance they produced it was nothing less than they deserved on the day.

Both sides produced a fine game but it was skipper Paddy Royle, a credit to the club and his team all season, who held the Cup aloft a few minutes later.

St Helens Star:

LSH:Sexton, Dickinson, Cunliffe M, Cunliffe D, Romano, Wood, McClurg, Lourens, Jackson J, Richardson, Royle ©, Hall, Webster, Thompson, Hull. ReplacementsBonati, Glynn, Gates, Kearns McBride.