Cunningham injury takes shine off for Saints

Crusaders 10 St Helens 36

St Helens moved into second place in Superleague for the first time this season but at a heavy price.

Keiron Cunningham's distinguished career could be over if he has suffered the broken jaw that is feared. "That would be tragic," said his coach, Mick Potter. He added that there had been a suspicion of a raised arm in the tackle that did the damage to the 33-year-old hooker, who is to retire at the end of the season.

Saints also face losing the services of Kyle Eastmond with a hip injury and Matty Ashurst with knee damage on a night when, as Potter said, most of the shine was taken off their victory.

Crusaders have a habit of starting matches slowly, but not this one. Within the first two minutes, they had capitalised on Bryn Hargreaves' fumble in the tackle, keeping the ball alive cleverly for their leading try-scorer, Vince Mellars, to show his worth by forcing his way over.

That was the cue for Eastmond to show his value to St Helens. First he latched on to a pass, admittedly a suspiciously forward-looking one, from Chris Flannery for the equalising try. Then his kick created a try for Paul Wellens, scored at the cost of a shuddering collision that left the goal-posts vibrating like a tuning fork. The home side tied up the scores again thanks to exceptional work from one of their small colony of English players, Peter Lupton drawing in two tacklers to give Frank Winterstein a clear run in.

Luke Dyer was denied what would have been a spectacular third Crusaders' try by an offside ruling and that looked a particularly pivotal moment when Saints went straight to the other end and scored, Jon Wilkin lobbing his pass into the waiting arms of the unmarked Ade Gardner. It was enough to give them the half-time advantage in what had otherwise been a finely balance first 40 minutes.

Rocky Trimarchi was brought back for a forward pass and Rhys Hanbury almost intercepted from Eastmond as Crusaders tried to wrest back the initiative after the break.

A bigger worry for Saints and potentially for England was the sight of Eastmond limping off. Hargreaves almost got over for Saints, but Crusaders then looked dangerous on the counterattack and Gardner had to make a saving tackle on Nick Youngquest. Saints consolidated their lead, however, when Matt Gidley showed the craft they will be losing next season with an overhead pass to put Jamie Foster in.

Jonny Lomax just managed to deny Mellars a second from a kick as the home side showed no sign of conceding defeat. James Roby's clinching try looked short of the line to every Welshman in the crowd, but it counted.

Crusaders: Schifkofske; Dyer, Martin, Mellars, Youngquest; Lupton, Hanbury; O'Hara, Withers, Bryant, Winterstein, Chan, Hauraki. Substitutes used: Lee, James, Thackray, Timarchi.

St Helens: Wellens; Foster, Gidley, Meli, Gardner; Lomax, Eastmond; Graham, Roby, Hargreaves, Flannery, Wilkin, Moore.

Substitutes used: Cunningham, Puletua, Ashurst, Emmitt.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).

Suggested Topics
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little