Warrington Wolves 12 St Helens 30
(Half time 6-8)
By Alan Domville
League leaders St Helens gained yet another success at the Halliwell Jones Stadium but the sides were evenly matched in a game which was played in pouring rain throughout.
Mark Percival completed his hat-trick of tries just before Wire lost Mike Cooper and then Ryan Atkins after sustaining knocks. Youngster Danny Richardson crowned a fine performance with an opportunist try to settle matters.
For Warrington, Declan Patton and Sitaleki Akauola were unavailable due to suspension while Bryson Goodwin also missed out with a dead leg. Toby King deputised and Kevin Brown was back after recovering from concussion.
Saints were without Jon Wilkin who was injured playing against Salford last weekend.
Warrington: Stefan Ratchford; Tom Lineham, Toby King, Ryan Atkins, Mitch Brown; Kevin Brown, Tyrone Roberts; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Jack Hughes, Ben Westwood
Substitutes: Dominic Crosby, Joe Philbin, Harvey Livett, George King
Tries: Toby King, Livett
Goals: Ratchford 2
St Helens: Ben Barba; Adam Swift, Tommy Makinson, Mark Percival, Regan Grace; Jonny Lomax, Danny Richardson; Kyle Amor, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Zeb Taia, Dominic Peyroux, Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook
Substitutes: Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, Luke Douglas, Matty Lees
Tries: Percival 3, Roby, Richardson
Goal: Richardson 5
Referee: James Child
Stefan Ratchford got things under way with a kick towards the West Stand and Saints made the first mistake of the night when they kicked out on the full after the fifth tackle.
It was clear from the early exchanges that both sides would have difficulty in keeping hold of the ball but it didn’t prevent them from attempting to keep it alive.
And it was Saints who drew first blood when Tommy Makinson dashed from one side of the field to the other to create Percival’s first touchdown of the night.
Richardson added the extras.
Warrington hit back immediately after Kyle Amor had knocked on but Tom Lineham was held up over the line.
Tyrone Roberts kicked to the right hand corner to force the first of three goal line drop outs within 10 minutes by the visitors.
The second came after Kevin Brown had kicked to the same corner and Mitch Brown and Ryan Atkins were just unable to reach the ball.
Ben Barba was then smothered close to his own sticks, the attentions andb the follow-up prompting referee James Child to have words with Ben Westwood and Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
Saints then lost Zeb Taia and were on the defensive again when Toby King made a fine break down the left. His speculative pass was fumbled low down and the scoring chance was lost.
Soon after Kevin Brown had forced the third drop out from under the sticks Toby King did get on the score sheet.
Roberts kicked to the left, Lineham palmed the ball back to the centre and he touched down in the corner.
Ratchford’s conversion from the touchline levelled the scores.
Another challenging kick from Roberts kept Saints on the back foot and Barba only just managed to stay in play after collecting, averting yet another drop out.
Over exuberance in a tackle on Alex Walmsley gave Saints a penalty and Richardson slotted home the goal that gave his side a two point interval lead.
Saints struck immediately after the restart when the outstanding James Roby pounced on a lost ball and touched down near the posts to give Richardson an easy kick to convert.
Warrington then conceded a goal line drop out when Ratchford had to push the ball dead after Theo Fages had grubber kicked to the line.
Soon afterwards another Roberts kick forced a fourth Saints drop out.
Warrington stuck to the task and Harvey Livett, just on for Jack Hughes, scored with his first touch of the ball.
Kevin Brown had kicked to the left, Toby King got a hand to the ball and served Livett who squeezed his way over, video referee Robert Hicks confirming the score.
Yet another fine kick from the touchline by Ratchford close the gap to two points.
In the next Warrington set Walmsley took a knock and had to leave the field.
Saints then forced another drop out from the home sticks and then improved their lead when Barba sent Percival racing over.
Richardson was unable to add two points but the visitors were ahead 18-12 with 21 minutes left.
And the game looked safe for Saints when Percival went over for his third try after Richardson had made a fine run in and youngster Danny Richardson crowned a fine performance with an opportunist try to settle matters after Wire had midfield. The latter made no mistake with his kick this time and now it was 24-12.
Warrington then lost Cooper with a head injury and soon afterwards Atkins had to limp off.
The visitors then added to their score three minutes from time when Richardson raced on to a kick from Percival and touched down, his conversion taking Saints’ winning margin to 18.