ST Helens 34 Hull FC 22: Second-half blitz puts paid to Hull’s enterprising start

Hull's 'Danny Houghton
Hull's 'Danny Houghton
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St Helens scored five second-half tries as they came from behind to see off Hull and maintain their winning start in the First Utility Super League.

The hosts trailed 10-6 at the break at Langtree Park, but tries from Sia Soliola, Jonny Lomax and James Roby – his second of the night – put them in command.

Gareth Ellis threatened a comeback by adding to the first-half touchdowns of Mickey Paea and Richard Whiting, but Tommy Makinson and Mark Percival made the game safe before a Danny Houghton consolation.

Saints’ influential new scrum-half Luke Walsh also had another fine night and landed five goals.

Kick-off was preceded by a number of tributes to the late Steve Prescott, the former England and Ireland full-back who played for both clubs and lost his battle with cancer last year.

The match was also the first to be played for the new cup set up in Prescott’s name, with the aggregate winner from the two league games between the clubs to be awarded the trophy annually.

Hull were the first to make their mark as Paea started and, after a powerful charge by Joe Westerman, finished a quick break for the first try after three minutes.

It was quickly cancelled out as Roby side-stepped his way past Hull full-back Jamie Shaul to score. Westerman was again instrumental, first stealing possession and then coming up with a brilliant offload to send the ever-reliable Whiting over.

Ben Crooks’s conversion, after missing his first attempt and six fluffed efforts by his team last week, was celebrated with exaggerated jubilation by their fans. That score in the 15th minute proved the last of the first half. Saints went ahead as Soliola, who thrilled the crowd with some big hits in the first half, powered his way over from close range.

Momentum then shifted firmly in the hosts’ favour as Jon Wilkin set up Lomax with a superb reverse kick to the left corner.

Another Saints try almost followed as Adam Swift was bundled into touch on the right.

It proved a brief respite for Hull as Soliola showed good awareness to set up Roby for his second under the posts.

Hull responded with Aaron Heremaia putting Ellis over, but Makinson showed great dexterity to touch down on the right and maintain Saints’ stranglehold.

Saints broke through some weary tackles to set up Percival but Hull had the final word as Houghton slid over in the last minute and Crooks converted.

St Helens: Lomax, Makinson, Turner, Percival, Swift, Wheeler, Walsh, Amor, Roby, Walmsley, Wilkin, Manu, McCarthy-Scarsbrook. Substitutes: Jones, Soliola, Laffranchi, Wellens.

Hull: Shaul, Lineham, Crooks, Arundel, Talanoa, Rankin, Horne, Paea, Houghton, Carvell, Ellis, Whiting, Westerman. Substitutes: Thompson, Bowden, Paleaaesina, Heremaia.

Referee: R Silverwood (RFL).