Saints 42 Widnes 24.

FORMER Thatto Heath and Haresfinch winger Paddy Flynn earned the honour of scoring the first try at Langtree Park – but Saints finally ran away with it at the end to lift the Karalius Cup.

The Widnes flankman scored hat-trick in front of a sell out 11,924 crowd, but it was not enough to spoil Saints’ party.

Saints started slowly in their first game of the year and showed some defensive frailty. That was exploited on 11 minutes when Flynn rounded opposing wingman Jamie Foster in a tight space before cutting inside full back Tommy Makinson to score, showing his clear delight afterwards.

Patrick Ah Van missed the goal from the touchline, but Vikings doubled their lead when Wiganer Stefan Marsh sliced through some slack home defence to touch down. Ah Van goaledto make it 10-0.

Saints bucked their ideas up, led by a thundering tackle from Sia Soliola on Anthony Watts.

On 19 minutes Soliola ran a great angle to crash through from Lance Hohaia’s pass to open Saints’ account, with Foster goaling.

Saints edged in front when James Roby broke, backed up by Makinson for Francis Meli to storm over. Foster’s conversion put Saints in front for the first time on 24 minutes.

That lead lasted just two minutes when Rhys Hanbury stepped out of a poor tackle to romp in from 20 metres.

The tit for tat scoring continued, with Nathan Ashe touching down a Hohaia grubber with his first touch of the ball, Foster goaling.

But determined Vikings had the last word of the half when a wonderful passage of play from Watts, who regathered his own kick before sliding the ball wide, resulting in Flynn’s second.

Ah Van goaled to make it 20-18 to the visitors at the break.

It took 17 send half minutes before the scoreboard operator was troubled, with substitute Lee Gaskell striding through for a try goaled by Foster.

But back came Vikings – and once again it was that man Flynn, picking up a loose pass off the floor to race in at the corner to level matters, with Ah Van’s goal going wide.

However, three minutes later it was Saints’ turn to strike back with the ball shifted left where Andren Dixon showing a great turn of pace to race 35 metres to the whitewash. Foster made it five from five to make it a six point lead.

And with Vikings tiring it was Foster’s turn to show his pace, collecting Meli’s pass to dash down the flank and ground the ball close to the posts, converting it himself.

A powerful burst by Soliola, backed up by Roby, saw Makinson zip in for the seventh with Foster making it a perfect night with the boot.

Saints: Makinson; Gardner, Wheeler, Meli, Foster; Lomax, Hohaia; Laffranchi, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Wilkin, Soliola, Flanagan. Subs: Perry, Flannery, Clough, Magennis, Dixon, Gaskell, Ashe.

Widnes: Briscoe; Flynn, Marsh, Isa, Ah Van; Watts, Hanbury; Cross, Moore, Davies, Winterstein, Allen, Clarke. Subs: Dean, White, Kavanagh, Pickersgill, Leuluai, Haggerty, Craven, Mullally.