Saints savour taste of success after barren run

Halifax 18 St Helens 26

May was the cruellest month for St Helens, but they started June with a victory that was as uplifting as it was unexpected.

A team largely composed of reserves, with an 18-year-old debutant in Jason Johnson at stand-off, performed magnificently to build up a 26-point lead against all the odds at Thrum Hall. They then showed limitless reserves of enthusiasm to hold off the inevitable Halifax backlash and record the club's first win since Wembley.

The vibrant spirit that Saints displayed will do much to wipe out the unhappy memories of what has happened since, but they also needed a little good fortune to start them on their way. Their first try, scored by Anthony Sullivan after six minutes, seemed to include a forward pass, but any further luck that Saints enjoyed they thoroughly earned.

On 14 minutes, Bobbie Goulding, marshalling the young players around him with great authority, spotted a gap behind Halifax's rearguard and the race to his kick was won by Danny Arnold.

Halifax were not helping themselves, Martin Pearson's wild pass being scooped up by Vila Matautia, who found Sullivan supporting him on his shoulder to claim his second try. Then, right on the stroke of half-time, Alan Hunte, one potent attacker returning to Saints' ranks last night, cashed in on some brilliant running by Chris Morley and Arnold to go over for their fourth try.

They carried on the second half, Goulding dribbling the ball past the Halifax defence before side-footing it into the corner for Arnold to emulate Sullivan by grabbing his second.

Halifax tend to play to their potential for only part of the game and this was where they started in earnest. Chris Chester's dummy began the fightback and David Bouveng took an inside pass from Pearson for a second try.

When Martin Moana got through to make it three in 10 minutes, it seemed Saints' lead would not be sufficient to save them, but, with loose forward Dean Busby outstanding, theyhung on.

Halifax: Umaga; Amone, Moana, Bouveng, Tuilagi; Pearson, Dean; Harrison, Rowley, Slicker, Highton, Gillespie, Chester. Substitutes used: Powell, Munro, Jackson. Substitute not used: Bastian.

St Helens: Haigh; Arnold, Hunte, Matautia, Ivan; Johnson, Goulding; Leatham, Anderson, O'Neill, Booth, Morley, Busby. Substitutes used: Barrow, Shiel, Cross, O'Loughlin.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).

Bradford, the Super League leaders, go into the World Club Championship on the back of a 40-24 win at Salford. Graeme Bradley was superb, including two tries in a fine performance.

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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue