St. Helens continued their fine form as they made it two wins from two over the Easter period, beating Widnes Vikings 28-6 to retain the Karalius Cup at the Halton Stadium.
Mark Percival and Tommy Makinson grabbed doubles, Makinson bringing up his ton in Super League, whilst Ben Barba was at his majestic best chiming in with a try and two assists.
The away side come out of the sheds firing, racing out to a 10-0 lead in as many minutes, on Both occasions Barba produced the goods first with elusive footwork before slipping Ryan Morgan over, then a delicate kick for Percival.
As the rain poured down the expansive style of St. Helens was reduced, and Widnes started to get a foothold in the game. Wellington Albert crashed over with his first touch just after the mid-way point of the first half.
Yet Saints would hit back before the half, a short-side kick from Danny Richardson giving Percival just an inch to put down. Richardson converted to give his side a comfortable 16-6 half-time lead.
In the second-half Widnes’ resolute defence was whittled down bit by bit before Saints showed the champagne rugby league they’re known for.
Ben Barba’s controversial try was followed by some razzle-dazzle play towards the right edge, Makinson showing his great finishing ability on both occasions.
St. Helens showing their champion credentials in difficult conditions, making it three wins in a row for Justin Holbrook’s side the final score 28-6.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Danny Walker a shining light for Widnes
Many people have questioned the Vikings playing roster this season, especially since performances on the field haven’t shown much to deflect the questions.
As the club relies on youngsters, especially during a busy schedule, it gives an opportunity for the lesser-known players to make their mark. One player doing such is Danny Walker.
While the live-wire hooker couldn’t do much to turn the game his sides way today, the 19-year old shown glimpses of his quality as he looked to create out of dummy-half. If they can keep hold, Widnes have a star of the future.
The Joy is back for St. Helens
On the field, the joy is clear to see and that joy has fully spread to the terraces. Banished are the memories of a dull saints side and the beaming smiles can be seen throughout the stand.
As the Karalius cup was presented, James Roby and Jon Wilkin toyed with the cheers of supporters before lifting the cup, the players and fans laughing in unison.
Justin Holbrook continued to impress with his character, running out in the rain to thank the travelling support, a simple gesture showing his passion, it’s clear to see the joy is back at the club.
Man Of The Match- Ben Barba (St. Helens)
Yet another try and two brilliant assists for the amazing Aussie, he simply looks a class above everyone on the pitch.
However impressive his attacking skills are, the one thing that stood out in this match-up was his control. His ability under the high ball can be questioned, yet in today’s conditions, he performed superbly dealing with everything coming his way.
Whatever length of time he decides to stay for, we simply need to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Widnes Vikings- 6
Drop Goals: n/a
St Helens- 28
Tries: Morgan, Percival (2), Makinson (2), Barba
Goals: Richardson 2/6
Drop Goals: n/a
Widnes: 2. Stefan Marsh, 4. Charly Runciman, 6. Joseph Mellor, 7. Thomas Gilmore, 10. Alex Gerrard, 14. Christopher Dean, 15. Danny Craven, 16. Thomas Olbison, 17. Samuel Wilde, 19. Greg Burke, 20. Macgraff Leuluai, 21. Jordan Johnstone, 22. Ryan Ince, 23. Danny Walker, 24. Edward Chamberlain, 26. Edward Chapelhow, 28. Bradley Walker, 30. Keanan Brand, 36. Wellington Albert.
St. Helens: 1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Dom Peyroux, 18. Danny Richardson, 19. Regan Grace, 20. Matty Lees, 23. Ben Barba.
Referee Name: Chris Kendall