Yates’ verdict: A mixed bag over Easter

Keiron Cunningham
Keiron Cunningham

Saints went from the depths of despair to the dizzy heights of success - all in the space of just three days.

Still smarting over their 24-12 home defeat against arch-rivals Wigan Warriors at Langtree Park on Good Friday, they had a massive point to prove when making the short journey to Widnes on Easter Monday and delivered the goods in emphatic style.

A 20-12 scoreline doesn’t truly reflect Saints’ almost total domination and superiority over their near neighbours who went into the showdown second in the Super League table and having suffered only two loses this season.

It become three shortly after 4.30 pm on yet another day of unpredictable results in which Keiron Cunningham’s boys, despite their fifth win of the campaign, dropped to sixth place in the league ladder on points difference behind the Catalans Dragons and Hull FC.

They won’t, however, be too worried after picking up two points following successive defeats against Leeds Rhinos and Wigan and it will put them in the right frame of mind ahead of Friday’s home game against Hull FC who will also be brimming with self-confidence on the back of ending table-toppers Warrington’s seven match winning streak with a 26-24 victory at the KC Stadium.

Saints were hardly recognisable from the team which surrendered meekly against the Cherry and Whites a few days earlier - none more so than their set of forwards who were outstanding for the full 80 minutes.

They pummeled the Vikings into submission with 20-year-old Luke Thompson emerging from the substitutes’ bench to produce arguably his best display in a Saints shirt and leaving a few battered and bruised rivals in his wake.

It will have pleased boss Cunningham who was no shrinking violet in his playing days when it came to physical confrontation and so too will the contribution of other pack members.

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook continued to lead from the front - Andre Savelio, who hadn’t featured since the victory at Hull KR towards the end of February, made his mark - Joe Greenwood took his try tally to four from five games - and ‘elder statesmen’ Jon Wilkin and Kyle

Amor proved just as effective.

At the same time scrum half Luke Walsh was able to capitalise on the impact of the pack, pulling the strings in the middle of the park and also produced one try-saving tackle which could have been the starting point of a late Widnes revival.

Saints certainly found themselves under the cosh in the final few minutes when Widnes had two tries disallowed by the video referee but in all honesty it would have been a travesty of justice had they stolen the spoils.

As Cunningham said at the post-match press conference: “We put the horse before the cart today and earned a well-earned win.”

Trotting out as few more victories in the next few weeks will be top of his agenda.