WAKEFIELD TRINITY WILDCATS came out on the losing side in a 14-try feast to keep alive St Helens’ Super League top-four hopes.
Saints were never behind once prop Greg Richards scored his first try for the club on 18 minutes but they could never pull clear of a spirited Wakefield, for whom impressive stand-off Jacob Miller scored his second hat-trick of the season.
The home side trailed only 34-32 when Liam Finn and Ben Jones-Bishop went over for tries in the space of five minutes in the final quarter.
But Finn was wide with the conversion that would have levelled the scores and Saints pulled away to secure a 44-32 victory that takes them to within four points of fourth-placed Catalans Dragons.
The defeat leaves Wakefield, who are through to the last four of the Challenge Cup, with work still to do to secure a top-eight finish.
“We’re not worried,” said coach Chris Chester. “We can’t keep relying on teams below us to keep losing.
“We know we need at least another point and they’re not easy fixtures we’ve got left. We’ve just got to dust ourselves down and have crack on Friday night at Wigan.
“I was disappointed with the first 40 minutes today. We dropped off a lot of tackles and had to do far too much defending.
“I thought we showed some decent character to get ourselves back into the game but we didn’t show any patience.
“We got what we deserved.”
Wakefield will anxiously wait to discover the extent of the lower leg injury sustained by winger Tom Johnstone after he took his try tally for the season to 17.
“He’s on crutches,” Chester said.
“We don’t know what the injury is.
“He’ll go for an X-Ray tomorrow and, if need be, we’ll get it scanned. Fingers crossed it’s not too bad.”
Wakefield also lost prop Anthony England with a shoulder injury while St Helens winger Adam Swift was taken off with a head knock.
Full-back Jonny Lomax scored two of Saints tries with the others coming from Matty Fleming, Jordan Turner, Morgan Knowles and Mark Percival, who also kicked six goals.
Wakefield: Jowitt, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, B. Tupou, Johnstone, Miller, Finn, Fifita, Moore, England, Walton, Ashurst, Sio. Substitutes: Arona, Arundel, Annakin, Walker.
St Helens: Lomax, McDonnell, Fleming, Percival, Swift, Turner, Wilkin, Walmsley, Roby, Richards, Peyroux, Greenwood, McCarthy-Scarsbrook. Substitutes: Amor, Vea, Thompson, Knowles.
Referee: J Cobb (RFL).