Official Match Report
Friday 12th June 2009 - KO.2000
St Helens (20) 50
Castleford (6) 10
Venue: GPW Recruitment Stadium
St Helens squad
Wellens, Lomax, Gidley, Dean, Meli, Pryce, Long, Puletua, Cunningham, Hargreaves, Wilkin, Flannery, Gilmour.
Replacements: Clough, Eastmond, Fa'asavalu, Ashurst.
Owen, Wainwright, Ferres, Dixon, Ford, Chase, McGoldrick, Higgins, Netherton, Huby, Widders, Jones, Faumuina.
Replacements: Sargent, Clayton, Feather, Thompson.
St Helens scorers
J Lomax 1, C Dean 1, L Pryce 1, S Long 1, K Cunningham 1, J Wilkin 1, P Clough 1, K Eastmond 2,
S Long 3, K Eastmond 4,
Drop Goals Scorers:
B Ferres 1, K Dixon 1,
K Dixon 1,
Drop Goals Scorers:
Sean Long produced another masterclass to guide St Helens to a comprehensive double over Castleford Tigers which takes them five points clear at the top of the engage Super League.
In his first home game since announcing his end-of-season move to Hull, Long sparkled as Saints overcame the shock of conceding an early try to cruise to a 50-10 success.
Castleford, who were hammered 68-22 at home in April, had no answer to Saints’ experienced international trio of Long, Leon Pryce and Keiron Cunningham.
There were also outstanding displays from teenagers Kyle Eastmond, the heir-apparent to Long, and winger Jonny Lomax as the Saints youngsters continue to impress in the absence of current England stars James Graham and James Roby.
With Michael Shenton and Joe Westerman on England duty and James Evans joining Ryan Hudson and Brent Sherwin on the injured list, Cas coach Terry Matterson was foreced to give a debut to 17-year-old utility player Jordan Thompson.
Yet the Tigers looked the more lively side in the opening stages and took a fifth-minute lead when the dangerous Rangi Chase got Brett Ferres striding through a gap in the Saints defence for the opening try.
Kirk Dixon’s conversion made it 6-0 but Saints were stung into action and they hit a purple patch to run in four tries in 15 minutes.
Pryce dummied his way over for his 16th try of the season to spark the scoring spree and Long’s jinking run paved the way for centre Chris Dean to cross.
Chris Flannery and Francis Meli both then had tries disallowed as Saints maintained the pressure and it paid off when Cunningham forced his way over from close range for a trademark try and when the irrepressible Long carved out an opening for Jon Wilkin.
Long helped his side maintain their grip on the game with a 40-20 kick but his place kicking was not as accurate for two of his four conversion attempts rebounded off the upright.
Castleford suffered a blow when full-back Richard Owen damaged a shoulder early in the second half in the act of bravely halting Saints’ England forward Maurie Fa’asavalu in full flight.
The visitors quickly overcame the setback, with Dixon leaping above Meli to regather the ball from Chase’s high kick and score a second try.
The score lifted the Tigers’ spirits and they defended stoutly until Long pounced on a loose pass 30 metres from the line and scooted away for an opportunist try on 52 minutes and that re-opened the floodgates.
Long added a third goal before taking a breather and allowing the hugely-promising Eastmond to switch from hooker to scrum half and further illustrate his versatility.
Eastmond also demonstrated expert marksmanship by landing a touchline conversion after Pryce had re-gathered his own grubber kick to set up the position for Lomax to touch down.
Lomax then turned provider, sprinting down the touchline and sending Eastmond over for Saints’ eighth try to extend their lead to 38-10 by the hour mark.
Castleford simply could not get their hands on the ball and their defence cracked again in the last seven minutes, with substitute Paul Clough forcing his way over and Lee Gilmour bursting clear to send Eastmond over for his second try.
Eastmond took his goal tally to four from four attempts and finish the game with 16 points.
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