St Helens 34-16 Hull FC
Hull FC headed to St Helens on the back of an excellent defensive performance which earned them an 18-12 win away at Leeds. Saints on the other hand had suffered their first defeat of the season last time out against the Catalans Dragons. This game had importance in its own right but could also have been seen as a precursor to the Challenge Cup semi-final next Saturday.
Welsby and Coote scored a try a piece in the opening six minutes as St Helens pulled ahead 10-0. A perfectly weighted grubber kick to the corner by Jake Connor found the in-form, former Saint, Adam Swift to touchdown in the corner. Some uncharacteristically loose defending from Brett Hodgson’s side saw Knowles bump his way to the line from short range. Jack Welsby got his second try of the game as the hosts once again attacked the Hull right edge, three of the four first-half tries came down that wing. Half time saw the defending champions 22-4 up.
The Black and Whites needed a quick start to the half, however, this never came after Connor misjudged a high bomb. The ball fell into the arms of the grateful Welsby who completed his hat-trick. Some good defensive efforts prevented the Saints from extending their lead. At the other end, FC struck back through some powerful wing play by Mahe Fonua. A St Helens break 13 minutes from time from Knowles and Lomax made sure of the win, as Batchelor scored on the end of the move. The Airlie Birds had the last score a deft kick under pressure from Sneyd found Fonua for his second as the final hooter sounded.
Even without winger Regan Grace St Helens managed to win convincingly in the end. Hull will need to improve at both ends of the field if they are to stand a chance of progressing to another Challenge Cup final next week.
Reported by: Simon Bromwich
St Helens (22) 34
Tries: Welsby 3, Coote, Knowles, Batchelor Goals: Coote 5
Hull FC (4) 16
Tries: Swift, Fonua 2 Goals: Sneyd 2
Published: 31st May 2021