Super League leaders St Helens thrash Castleford

St Helens thrash Castleford
St Helens thrash Castleford

Super League leaders St Helens produced an eight-try masterclass to inflict a third comprehensive defeat of the season on Castleford.

Hammered 46-6 in the opening game in February and knocked out of the Challenge Cup just a fortnight ago, the Tigers succumbed 40-18 in their latest meeting and have conceded 122 points to Saints so far this year.

Australian full-back Ben Barba, Super League's top tryscorer, was inevitably among the scorers but he was overshadowed by the man wearing number one, Jonny Lomax - playing stand-off - who scored one try and created three others in a man-of-the-match performance.

Castleford trailed 34-4 after an hour before adding a touch of respectability to the scoreline with three tries in an 11-minute purple patch.

St Helens prop Kyle Amor, back from suspension, demonstrated the vulnerability in Castleford's defence when he went over for a solo try after only two minutes and Danny Richardson kicked the first of his four goals.

Castleford hit back immediately when neat passing from front row duo Paul McShane and Liam Watts got second rower Mike McMeeken over but Jamie Ellis missed the relatively easy conversion and Saints did not take long to extend their lead.

Saints winger Adam Swift, drafted in for an injured Tom Makinson, perhaps understandably looked rusty on his first appearance for two months and he looked to have put his side under pressure when he spilled the ball 10 metres from his own line.

However, referee Chris Kendall ruled the ball went backwards and Barba seized his opportunity in devastating fashion, racing into space and evading two defenders on an 80-metre sprint down the touchline to claim his 17th Super League try of the season.

Unnerved by the breakaway score, the Tigers still managed to cause Saints problems with their right-sided attack but winger Greg Minikin was twice denied tries after slow-motion replays indicated a knock-on and a foot in touch.

Saints were far more clinical as Lomax went between Jake Trueman and Oliver Holmes for a try before putting second rower Dominique Peyroux through another gap in the home defence for their fourth try of the first half.

Castleford lost Ben Roberts, back playing in the centre, and substitute forward Junior Moors through injury just before half-time, when they trailed 22-4 and it quickly got worse for them as centre Ryan Morgan took a return pass from Swift to score Saints' fifth try three minutes into the second half.

Lomax showed his class with a jinking run through the heart of the Castleford defence to get Morgan over for his second try and even the loss of Barba, who hobbled off on 56 minutes, failed to derail the smooth-running pacesetters.

Substitute Theo Fages took Regan Grace's pass to finish off another glorious long-range move and Saints' margin of victory would have been greater but for Richardson failing with his last four conversion attempts.

The Tigers finished a well-beaten side but grabbed consolation tries in the last quarter through winger Jy Hitchcox, who caught the ball from McShane's kick on a free play, teenage half-back Trueman and second rower Holmes.

Ellis managed just one conversion before Richardson had the final say, converting Fages' second try four minutes from the end.

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