St Helens 44 Castleford 12: Saints keep four-year run going over Tigers
23:08 GMT, 17 August 2012
St Helens ran in eight tries to maintain their four-year unbeaten record against Castleford.
Saints, who had lost their last two matches, led 20-6 at the break to dash Castleford boss Ian Millward's hopes of making a winning return to his old club.
Tommy Makinson grabbed two of the Saints touchdowns, including a length-of-the-field effort, with top shows from skipper Paul Wellens, Jonny Lomax and man of the match Sol Soliola.
Strong victory: St Helens kept their run against the Tigers going
Saints were missing Michael Shenton – who returns to his old club Castleford at the end of the season – with an ankle injury and teenage co-centre Josh Jones was sidelined with a dead leg.
Jon Wilkin was also unfit with a thigh problem but Soliola was back after missing the last two defeats by Warrington and Wakefield.
Winger Ade Gardner was expected to return after being out since April 9 with an eye injury but was omitted and Adam Swift and Gary Wheeler formed a new centre partnership.
Cas, who had lost their last eight meetings against Saints, were without suspended Jamie Ellis with Ben Johnston playing only his second match after his debut in last week's heavy defeat by London Broncos.
Saints were favourites to repeat their 18-12 victory at the Probiz Coliseum but by a bigger margin, with Cas having lost four in a row to leave themselves in danger of the wooden spoon.
But the Tigers made an encouraging start with prop Jacob Emmitt held up over the line against his old club.
However it was Saints who took the lead after seven minutes when Anthony Laffranchi bravely dived on a kick from Jonny Lomax before crashing into the hoardings.
Laffranchi needed treatment before being helped off the pitch as Tommy Makinson struck the conversion.
Josh Perry would have scored his first try for Saints if he had held onto a pass before Lance Hohaia lost possession to squander another chance.
Cas refused to be overawed and a neat reverse pass from Craig Huby was almost rewarded with a try.
But Saints made it 12-0 midway through the first half with Wellens taking a smart return pass from Chris Flannery to cross with Lomax also involved in the move.
Saints were unlucky to concede a penalty for obstruction and Cas took advantage of their good fortune for Paul Jackson to crash through a posse of defenders with Danny Orr landing the conversion.
Wellens was again the key man for Saints' third try with his long pass missing out two men to allow Makinson to squeeze over in the corner and take their advantage to 16-6.
Flannery latched onto Lomax's kick to extend the Saints lead to 20-6 just before the break and leave Cas facing a near-impossible task.
The Tigers could not be faulted for their effort and sterling defence kept out Makinson early in the second half.
But a full length of the field try from Makinson after collecting a Richard Owen kick near his own line stretched the lead to 26-6 with Wheeler booting the conversion.
Wheeler grabbed Saints sixth try from Hohaia's kick and landed his second goal to make it 32-6.
The Tigers problems piled up when Swift went over with Wheeler again on target.
Lomax scored a deserved try to extend the lead before Steve Snitch crossed for the Tigers' second touchdown with eight minutes left.