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Page last updated at 21:47 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010

St Helens 28-18 Warrington Wolves

St Helens (12) 28
Tries: Eastmond, Wilkin, Gardner 2 Goals: Eastmond 6

Warrington Wolves (4) 18
Tries: Grix, King, Harrison, Hicks Goal: Bridge

Kyle Eastmond has now run up 86 points in just seven games this season
Kyle Eastmond has now run up 86 points in just seven games this season

St Helens survived Warrington's brave second-half comeback to win a pulsating derby at rain-lashed Knowsley Road.

Having trailed 20-4 after 12 minutes of the second half, Wolves responded with three tries in eight minutes.

But, despite Matt King, Ben Harrison and Chris Hicks all crossing, Wolves landed only one of four goal attempts.

And, although Ade Gardner's second try of the night turned the tide Saints' way, Kyle Eastmond's six kicks were the difference between the two sides.

With both sides scoring four tries, the outcome hinged on the goalkicking of Eastmond, who landed six goals from six attempts, including two touchline conversions, and also scored a delightful solo try to underline his growing importance.

Mick Potter's men, at full strength for the first time this year, battled through the pouring rain which fell throughout the entire 80 minutes.

But victory came at a cost with the loss of Paul Wellens, who went off early in the second half still struggling from the effects of a crunching two-man tackle early on.

Young scrum-half Eastmond had started the night off well for Saints with his sixth try of the season, demonstrating his electrifying footwork to leave a trail of defenders in the wake of his mazy run to the line for a sparkling try.


And, although Simon Grix responded, that was one of four Warrington tries which crucially went unconverted.

Jon Wilkin put Saints 12-4 up at the break when Chris Riley could not control the slippery ball following the loose forward's grubber kick and Wilkin crashed over.

Gardner then ran in the first of his two tries, converted by Eastmond, who earned a 16-point cushion with a penalty.

Then came the Warrington response as centre King finished off a smart handling move to claim his seventh try of the season (all of which have come in the last four matches), loose forward Harrison pounced after Michael Monaghan's high kicked eluded Gardner and smart work from substitute Chris Bridge worked winger Hicks over.

But, despite Warrington's stunning fightback, Gardner's second try was followed by Eastmond's conversion, the nerveless 20-year-old icing the cake with a late penalty.

That took Saints out of sight - and up to third in Super League, level on points with leaders Wigan and second-placed Warrington, who suffered only their second defeat of the season.

Warrington, who missed out on the chance to go two points clear, at least played their part in a tremendous derby in front of a sell-out 17,500 crowd. But they have still never won in 16 Super League attempts at Knowsley Road. And, with Saints off to a new home next year, now they never will.

St Helens coach Mick Potter said:

"It was very satisfying. They were down on our line quite a bit and we produced a massive effort in defence.

"I thought we handled the conditions really well. It came down to the best kicking game and our last play options were pretty good."

Warrington Wolves boss Tony Smith said:

"I thought we dominated many facets of the game but I was very pleased with the efforts of my players.

"They're all pretty disappointed but, if we put that sort of effort in every week, we'll be at the pointy end of the competition."

St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Dean, Meli, Pryce, Eastmond, Graham, Cunningham, Puletua, Flannery, Soliola, Wilkin.
Replacements: Roby, Hargreaves, Clough, Fa'asavalu.

Warrington Wolves: Mathers, Hicks, King, Atkins, Riley, Grix, Myler, Morley, Monaghan, Carvell, L Anderson, Westwood, Harrison.
Replacements: Bridge, Higham, Wood, Solomona.

Referee: Richard Silverwood (Dewsbury).

Attendance: 17,500.

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see also
Warrington 33-8 Bradford
13 Mar 10 |  My Club
St Helens 37-30 Crusaders
12 Mar 10 |  My Club
The BBC's Super League Show
15 Mar 10 |  My Club

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