Rugby League: Saints tripped up

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The Independent Online
St Helens. . .8

Warrington. .16

RUGBY LEAGUE'S First Division leaders made progress on a second front with a Regal Trophy third-round victory that was stamped with inevitability from the moment the home scrum-half, Tommy Martyn, was sent off mid-way through the first half.

Martyn was dismissed without hesitation by the referee, Russell Smith, after he had tripped Jonathan Davies on one of the Welshman's numerous dangerous runs.

When Davies slotted over the resulting penalty to make the score 10-0, it seemed that Warrington would dominate the rest of the match. The one consolation that Saints can draw from their third match without a win is that they did not fold.

Another Davies penalty made it 12-0 before half-time, but Saints had more than their share of play afterwards. Their impressive young winger, Andy Haigh, went close before a late breakthrough set up the game's most compelling segment.

There were 16 minutes left when Shane Cooper scooped up a pass from Andy Dannatt to score. If Anthony Sullivan had raced clear on the wing, as he twice threatened to do, or if George Mann had charged over by the posts, there could have been a sudden transformation.

But Sullivan failed to to break free and Mann was stopped on the line by a bone- shaking Paul Cullen tackle and having survived, Warrington ensured a ninth successive victory and passage into the quarter-finals.

Davies twice kicked ahead when Jonathan Griffiths' pass went to ground and Rob Myler arrived to finish off. Sonny Nickle's late try was merely a footnote.

If Warrington had continued as they started, the issue would have been beyond doubt long before that. Two Davies goals and a try from Kelly Shelford after an incisive break by Greg Mackey put them firmly in control, but, as sometimes happens, they found it easier to play against 13 men than 12.

St Helens: Tries Cooper, Nickle. Warrington: Tries Shelford, Myler; Goal Davies; Penalties Davies 3.

St Helens: D Lyon; A Haigh, P Veivers, P Loughlin (J Griffiths, 58 min), A Sullivan; T Ropati, T Martyn; A Dannatt (A Fogerty, 66 min), B Dwyer, G Mann (Dannatt, 77 min), C Joynt, S Nickle, S Cooper.

Warrington: L Penny; M Forster, C Rudd, J Davies, R Myler; K Ellis, G Mackey (C Hodkinson, 49 min); G Tees (R Phillips, 19 min), P Darbyshire, C Teitzel, P Cullen, D Elliott, K Shelford.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).