Super League: St Helens 28-35 Widnes Vikings

Jack Owens

St Helens (12) 28

Tries:
Thompson, Laffranchi, Gardner, Puletua, Walmsley
Goals:
Makinson 4

Widnes (28) 35

Tries:
Owens 2, Pickersgill, Clarke, Marsh, Mellor
Goal:
Owens 5
Drop Goal:
Craven

Widnes teenager Jack Owens enjoyed an individual 14-point haul as the Vikings hung on for a local derby win against struggling St Helens at Langtree Park.

Widnes celebrated a first-ever Super League victory over their neighbours to hand out a fifth straight defeat for Nathan Brown's injury-hit Saints.

Apart from his two tries, 19-year-old full-back Owens also kicked five goals.

Steve Pickersgill, Jon Clarke, Stefan Marsh and Joe Mellor all crossed before a late drop goal from Danny Craven.

Saints scored five tries through Luke Thompson, Anthony Laffranchi, Ade Gardner, Tony Puletua and Alex Walmsley, Tommy Makinson kicking four of his conversion attempts.

Saints, whose last win was against Castleford on Easter Monday, had Ade Gardner, Willie Manu and Josh Perry back.

But they were still missing James Roby, Sol Soliola, Francis Meli, Jonny Lomax, Mark Flanagan, Paul Clough and the suspended Jon Wilkin.

Widnes, pipped 16-4 at home by Saints in February, were not helped by injuries suffered in last week's home defeat by Wakefield, with Rhys Hanbury, Patrick Ah Van, Willie Isa and Ben Cross all absent.

After conceding an early touchdown to rookie Thompson, Widnes ran in three tries in five minutes to go in leading 28-12 at the break and Saints could not find a way back.

It could actually have been more embarrassing, with Saints trailing 34-18 until snatching late tries from Puletua and Walmsley.

VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

St Helens coach Nathan Brown:

"We are low in confidence at the moment. It was disappointing to see our response after having a try disallowed when we led 12-6.

"We defended well for a long time but our resolve was not quite good enough to keep us in the contest.

"Kevin Brown came up with some nice kicks for tries but we had the best forward on the pitch in Luke Thompson.

"Some of our younger players are outshining more experienced ones and the big picture for the club looks good.

"We are missing our injured players and being without our number one, Jonny Lomax, and our number nine, James Roby, is very important."

Widnes coach Denis Betts:

"It feels like our best performance back in Super League. It's never easy to win at Saints and we got a real good thumping here last year.

"We showed plenty of desire but it was disappointing to concede two late tries. We wanted to keep them below 20 points.

"Jack Owens was fantastic at full-back. He has really matured over the last few weeks. It's a big stage here. He did a lot of work and that's why I took him off to give Danny Craven a run.

"When Rhys Hanbury is fit, we will have some real exciting ball runners at the back who can ignite our side.

"Jon Clarke was outstanding. He doesn't get the plaudits he deserves. He's a model professional and playing as well as ever."

FRIDAY'S LINE-UPS

St Helens: Makinson; Gardner, Turner, Greenwood, Percival; Jones, Ashe; Perry, Howarth, Puletua, Laffranchi, Thompson, Wellens.

Replacements: Hohaia, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Manu, Walmsley.

Widnes: Owen; Flynn, Marsh, Phelps, Dean; K Brown, Mellor; Pickersgill, Clarke, O'Carroll, Hock, Winterstein, Allen.

Replacements: Kavanagh, White, Craven, Joseph.

Attendance: 11,438.

Referee: Rob Hicks (Oldham).

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