|22nd May 2009|| Super League||HOME||9359||HT:10-0|
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 25. - ** non-playing sub|
MATCH REPORT : SAINTS cemented their place at the top of Super League with a hard fought 22-12 win over Harlequins RL. Tries from Chris Flannery, Paul Wellens, James Roby and Keiron Cunningham secured a victory that was built on last gasp scrambling defence, particularly in the latter stages. The home side led 10-0 in a first half that could hardly be described as a classic. Sodden underfoot both sides struggled to make inroads, but Flannerys second of the season and a Wellens score gave the home side a much deserved lead. In the second half a piece of Sean Long genius handed James Roby a try before Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook pulled one back.Luke Dorn then intercepted and went 90 yards to bring the Quins right back into it. But Saints hung on - and Cunningham added a late score - to continue their push for silverware. Saints made a number of changes from the team that won in Catalan. Kyle Eastmond replaced the injured Ade Gardner on the wing, and Gary Wheeler joined him on the opposite side as Francis Meli missed out. That meant a move into the centres for Lee Gilmour, whilst Jake Emmitt was given his first start at prop in Saints colours. Jon Wilkin also returned from injury.
Both sides got off to a solid start, kicking keep and putting in some big hits. But on four minutes, Harlequins won a penalty in Saints half and forced a drop out after a cute kick through. Sean Long denied Luke Williamson with a crunching tackle, then Gary Wheeler and his defencemen quelled a kick to the corner. Moments later, Paul Wellens perfected a copybook tackle on Danny Orr who tried to go on his outside. Saints hit back when Long broke through the tackles, fed Leon Pryce who in turn had Matt Gidley on his right. The Australian chipped forward for Eastmond to chase, and the young winger bundled Will Sharpe into his in goal area. From the drop out, Saints worked into position, Keiron Cunningham was held up over at the line and on the next tackle, another drop out was forced. And from there, after regaining the ball fortuitously following their own knock on, Chris Flannery opened the scoring. The former Sydney Rooster simply showing his pace and power to get past the Quins’ cover tacklers. On 28 mins, Saints forced a drop out and after some good drives from James Graham and Eastmond, James Roby was just held up over the line. On the stroke of half time, a move that came down the right in the Quins own 20 was punished by Paul Wellens. Long making it a six pointer with a sweeping conversion off the touchline.
Half Time: Saints 10 Harlequins 0
Saints began the second half brightly with two Long kicks causing some concern in the Quins own 20. But neither side could keep hold of the slippery ball. But when Saints finally did control the ball, the result was breathtaking. Long broke through at pace on 50 mins and under a heavy tackle slipped out a superb offload at pace to James Roby. Long with his 998th goal in Saints colours.
McCarthy-Scarsbrook burrowed over from close range seven minutes later; converted by Rob Purdham.
Saints were not about to lie down though. A superb tackle on the last moments later stopped a certain Quins score and then a huge clearing kick from Long brought a drop out. But on that set, Luke Dorn intercepted and went 90 yards to make it game on. And with three minutes to go the Quins got into a great position, but couldn’t keep hold of the ball. Saints then did what every good team should do,force a drop out in the last couple of moments to secure possession. And from there Keiron Cunningham secured the win with a burrowing run.
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