St Helens 36-6 Widnes Vikings

St Helens 36-6 Widnes Vikings

6th July 2018

Super League table toppers St Helens proved too strong for Widnes Vikings on Friday night, as they ran out 36-6 winners at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Francis Cummins made just one change to the side who were unlucky to be beaten by Hull FC last week, as Stefan Marsh returned to the wing in place of Patrick Ah Van.

Chris Houston was set for a comeback following a two-match suspension, however his wife went into labour prior to kick-off, forcing the Vikings boss into a re-shuffle.

MacGraff Leulaui made his 150th appearance for the club, but he would have been hoping for a different outcome to celebrate his milestone.

The home side opened the scoring six minutes in, as James Roby raced through a gap in the defence, spun past Rhys Hanbury’s tackle and offloaded to the supporting Zeb Taia who finished the move. Danny Richardson added a simple conversion from in front.

Five minutes later, they had their second of the evening after Jonny Lomax ducked under a tackle to race into Vikings territory. He was hauled down by the retreating Joe Mellor, but his hard work was undone on the next tackle as Mark Percival beat the scrambling defence on the left edge. Richardson was off-target with the boot.

Widnes had their best chance of the half soon after, as a penalty for a high tackle on Mellor and some lazy defending at marker meant they could advance into a dangerous area. From that set some good footwork from Gil Dudson saw him break the line, however the supporting Aaron Heremaia came up just short.  

On 22 minutes, Saints benefitted from back-to-back penalties of their own to claw their way towards the Widnes line, before Adam Swift outmuscled Marsh in the corner to dive over the whitewash. Richardson failed to add the extras again, as the visitors fell 14-0 behind.

Some great goal-line defence was then needed as St Helens camped inside the Widnes 20 metre, but the visitors stood up tall to the task.

Then, a poor pass from Heremaia out of dummy half ended in a Mellor knock-on, inviting more pressure resulting in the Vikings’ resolve finally breaking two minutes from the break.

Soft hands at the line from Luke Douglas sent Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook through a gap in the tiring defence and over the try line untouched, with the away side heading for the sheds 20-0 down.

Half-time: St Helens 20-0 Widnes Vikings

The second half started perfectly for Cummins’ men, as Dudson’s footwork from the kick-off gave Widnes a platform to force their way into the Saints half. Then, Regan Grace was forced into touch by Owen Buckley and Krisnan Inu, which gave the Vikings a scrum 10 metres from the try line.

A breakthrough finally came from the resulting set, as Craven charged onto a flat pass from Mellor at dummy-half, forcing his way over in front of the travelling support. Inu had the simple task of converting from in front, to cut the deficit to 14 points.

On 51 minutes the home side responded, as Jonny Lomax raced into a hole on the right edge before finding Theo Fages in support on the inside, with the Frenchman finishing the move under the sticks. Richardson had no trouble adding the conversion, making it 26-6.

With an hour gone, a high tackle from Widnes deep inside their own half proved costly, as the resulting set saw Swift dive over in the corner for his second try of the game.

A combination of missed opportunities and desperate defence saw the score line stay at 30-6 for the majority of the final quarter, before Saints grabbed the final try of the game three minutes from time. It was Swift who rounded-off the scoring, as he crossed in space on the right edge to complete his hat-trick, with Richardson converting.  

Full-time: St Helens 36–6 Widnes Vikings

St Helens:  Jonny Lomax, Adam Swift, Matty Costello, Mark Percival, Regan Grace, Theo Fages, Danny Richardson, Kyle Amor, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Dominique Peyroux, Zeb Taia, Jon Wilkin. Subs: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Luke Douglas, Morgan Knowles, Matty Lees.

Tries: Taia (6), Percival (11), Swift (22, 60, 77), McCarthy-Scarsbrook (38), Fages (51) Goals: Richardson 4/7

Widnes Vikings: Rhys Hanbury, Stefan Marsh, Charly Runciman, Krisnan Inu, Owen Buckley, Joe Mellor, Danny Craven, Jay Chapelhow, Aaron Heremaia, Gil Dudson, Sam Wilde, Weller Hauraki, Alex Gerrard. Subs: Matt Whitley, Tom Olbison, MacGraff Leuluai, Danny Walker.

Tries: Craven (43) Goals: Inu 1/1

St Helens 36-6 Widnes Vikings