Potter urges Saints on as their 'buffer' is wiped out

Hull KR 26 St Helens 10

A week after surrendering the Challenge Cup with their semi-final defeat by Huddersfield, Saints' grip on top spot in Super League was loosened by Hull Kingston Rovers.

The Robins gave a concise seminar in the second half on how to use the conditions at a blustery Craven Park. Whereas Saints had squandered the advantage of the strong wind at their backs by persistently kicking too deep, Rovers exploited it cleverly to sustain pressure and score three tries in the 15 minutes after the break.

Saints had their excuses for the fourth defeat in their last seven games. They were down to their fourth-choice scrum-half, the 19-year-old Jamie Ellis, whose contribution included putting James Graham over for the game's first try.

Rovers initially looked off-colour, with their best chance going to waste when Kris Welham took Ben Galea's long pass and failed to move it on to his wingman. Welham did much better on the stroke of half-time, swooping on a loose ball and going 40 metres for the converted try that put his side ahead.

After the break, they were a team transformed. Michael Dobson's kick forced a drop-out, from which they attacked down the right for Jake Webster to score from Ben Cockayne's pass. Cockayne was involved again when Rovers continued the attack direct from the kick-off, supplying the final pass from which Daniel Fitzhenry surged over.

His second came when Chev Walker was halted on the line and Fitzhenry, who has been told that there is probably no contract for him when the overseas quota tightens next season, spotted a gap from dummy half.

The rampaging Rovers also had a couple of efforts disallowed. Had they stood, Saints' advantage over Leeds in points difference could have disappeared. As it was, they held out until a minute from time, when they got into a tangle on their left flank and Peter Fox touched down the loose ball.

Saints got one back from the last play, Ade Gardner catching a neat kick from the promising Ellis. It was a weekend, however, during which the balance of power had shifted.

"We've no buffer anymore," admitted Saints coach, Mick Potter. "We'll just have to keep on winning."

For Rovers, a first double over Saints since 1981 is exactly the sort of confidence-booster you want to carry into the play-offs.

Hull KR: Briscoe; Fox, Webster, Welham, Colbon; Cooke,Dobson; Fozzard, Fitzhenry, Vella, Newton, Galea, Cockayne. Substitutes used: Walker, Wheeldon, Netherton, I'anson.

St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Gidley, Gilmour, Meli; Pryce, Ellis; Graham, Roby, Puletua, Wilkin, Flannery, Dixon.

Substitutes used: Hargreaves, Clough, Ashurst, Wheeler.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory