St Helens beat Wakefield to reach Challenge Cup semi-final

Danny Richardson takes on the Wakefield defence. Picture: SWPix
Danny Richardson takes on the Wakefield defence. Picture: SWPix
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St Helens are 80 minutes away from a first Wembley appearance for 11 years after turning on the style against Wakefield.


Full-back Lachlan Coote scored 20 points with a try and eight goals as Saints swept aside the Yorkshiremen 48-10 in their Coral Challenge Cup quarter-final at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

There were eight different tryscorers as Justin Holbrook's men comfortably secured a place in the semi-finals at Bolton on July 27 with an opportunity to make amends for their shock defeat by Catalans Dragons there last season.

Six points clear in Super League and buoyed by revelations before kick-off from chairman Eamonn McManus about the club's healthy financial position, these are good times for St Helens.

On the field, they were bolstered by the return from injury of Luke Thompson, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Mark Percival, the latter for the 150th appearance of his career which he marked with a try.

Wakefield were boosted by the return of veteran half-back Danny Brough but they were without blockbusting forward David Fifita while the withdrawal through illness of centre Mason Caton-Brown meant a debut for 19-year-old Jack Croft.

Any suggestion of an upset disappeared within three minutes when stand-off Jonny Lomax burst clean through the Wakefield defence to get Coote over for the opening try.

It is 40 years since Trinity's last Wembley appearance and young Croft briefly gave them hope of bridging that gap when he handed off Fiji international Kevin Naiqama to score a try converted by Brough to level the scores, but that was as good as it got for them.

Trinity lost experienced back rower Danny Kirmond with a head knock in the 17th minute and they were on the back foot throughout the second quarter.

England winger Tom Makinson showed his class with an acrobatic finish at the corner after tip-toeing down the touchline and was instrumental in the next score for loose forward Morgan Knowles.

Second rower Dom Peyroux turned defence into attack by swooping on a handling error by Ryan Hampshire and getting Naiqama racing upfield. Ben Jones-Bishop hauled him down short of the line but Wakefield were unable to regroup in time to prevent Knowles crossing at the corner.

Hampshire's afternoon got worse after 26 minutes when he was penalised for a ball steal after stopping Knowles' charge to the line and then sin-binned by referee Chris Kendall for dissent.

Unable to halt the Saints machine with a full complement, Wakefield's task became hopeless with 12 men and James Roby and Zeb Taia combined to give winger Regan Grace an unopposed run to the line for the home side's fourth try.

Coote added a third penalty just before the break to extend the lead to 26-6.

Back to 13, the Yorkshire side were more competitive in the second half and pulled a try back when hooker Tyler Randell touched down Brough's grubber kick but it proved to be only a minor hindrance to Saints.

The last quarter belonged to veteran second rower Taia, fresh from signing a new contract for 2020, who burst through for a solo try and created others for Percival and Lomax before Naiqama raced away for Saints' eighth try.