Yates’ verdict: Another epic, nerve-shredding encounter

Try scorer Jordan Turner in action against Widnes
Try scorer Jordan Turner in action against Widnes

It is one of the great Super League conundrums with fans of Saints and rivals Warrington Wolves having been scratching their heads for 20 years trying to find a logical answer.

In 27 visits to either Wilderpool or the Halliwell-Jones Stadium during the summer era, St Helens have now won a staggering and mind-boggling 23 times - and to this day no one can explain why!

The latest came on Thursday night and like so many past encounters the result could so easily have gone the other way.

The difference between success and failure in any sport is wafer thin and no one will deny this was the closest call of all in a series of epic, nerve-shredding and totally absorbing encounters down the years.

The outcome was decided literally by the width of a cat’s whisker as cup finalists Warrington launched one late do-or-die effort to overturn a 20-18 deficit.

They seemed to have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat when Rhys Evans plunged over in the right-hand corner as the clock ticked towards the 80 minute mark.

Even referee Phil Bentham thought it was a legitimate try and indicated so before sending it ‘upstairs’ for confirmation.

But modern technology ruled otherwise as the winger’s foot was marginally in touch before he grounded the ball.

Saints’ boss Keiron Cunningham, who had broken Warrington hearts a few years ago when scoring a last-gasp match-winning try at the same venue, said “I think we deserved our win but I’ve almost lost count of the number of games we have played against Warrington which left us biting our nails at the end.

“It was a real brave performance but in big games like this you have got to

find a way of winning and defensively I thought we were immense.

“We started with zero ball and were camped on our own line which was a common theme throughout the game but we showed great resilience to survive.”

He added: “There were several fine individual performance but in essence it was a team performance and also the perfect start to out Super 8s campaign.”