Rugby League: Hammond fires Saints

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ST HELENS head into the play-offs in fine shape after disposing of one of their main rivals at Knowsley Road yesterday. The home side extended their winning run to five games with a comfortable 36-6 defeat of third-placed Halifax.

Karle Hammond, making only his second start of the season in his favoured stand-off position, set up five of his side's six tries and also landed two drop goals.

Out of contract at the end of the season, he looks set to join his coach, Shaun McRae, and Brett Goldspink in leaving the club shortly - London are favourites to clinch his signature for 1999.

Wigan, the Super League leaders, were given a fright by the bottom club Huddersfield before securing a victory that takes them two points clear of Leeds. The Warriors trailed 8-0 and were only 20-10 ahead with a little more than a quarter of the match to go, but class finally told as they ran in 18 points in 10 minutes against a brave but tired side.

Warrington completed a League double over Hull Sharks with a 24-10 win at Wilderspool to bring to an end their five-match losing run.

The Wolves were never behind and led 18-0 at half-time. They failed to score a try in the second half but Lee Briers made sure of victory with two penalties and two drop goals.