Saturday, 26 February 2011

Woo Hoo - Finally :)

from the Warrington Guardian ..........

St Helens 18 Warrington Wolves 25

WHAT a beautiful night for Warrington Wolves.

Twenty-nine meetings without a win, 17 years without an away success against Saints – any way you look at it the gap between celebrations has been far too long.
But all the ribbing from the neighbouring fans on one of the most amazing records in British sport is over for the loyal and faithful primrose and blue army.
And how Tony Smith’s men deserved it.
They were dominant in all areas – more bullish down the middle, more creative at half back, more dangerous on attack and more precise with their fantastic kicking game.
Lee Briers bagged two tries in the opening 40 minutes as Wolves laid the platform.
Then it was all about maintaining their high standards for the full 80 minutes, something that has previously let them down.
But not this time. The powerhouses in the pack were relentless and backed with a superb kicking game from Briers and Michael Monaghan, last year’s Grand Final runners up rarely had a sniff.
Briers has suffered more defeats to Saints than most, particularly tough for him against the hometown club that let him go when he was only 17 years old.
So it was fitting that his drop goal in the 71st minute pushed Wolves 19 points ahead just after Saints had managed their first try of the game. Their second came with three minutes to go and another followed as consolation efforts.
Briers’ half back partner Richie Myler was in sensational form too, backing up a strong display in the win against Hull KR last week.
In fact, there was not a bad performer in the 17 and that is the only way to beat a team as classy as Saints.
To keep Saints to ‘nil’ in the first half was a magnificent effort.
Wolves’ goal-line defence was awesome, holding out for seven successive sets three quarters into the half and the supporters repaid their heroes with a standing ovation.
Just as good was Wolves’ ability to take the chances that came their way.
Tony Smith’s men were guilty of failing to find the final execution against Hull KR last week, but his men put that right against their fiercest of rivals.
Wolves opened the scoring in only the second minute.
A penalty given away by James Graham for holding down put Wolves in position and as Saints prepared for a wide attack Lee Briers dummied and shot over from 10 metres in front of the 2,700 primrose and blue army. Brett Hodgson added the conversion.
Wolves’ goal-line defence was given a severe test for the next few minutes and Saints were superbly held at bay.
Sia Soliola got over the line but Richie Myler was one of three to hold the back rower up.
Michael Monaghan relieved the pressure with a dazzling 40-20 and his teammates made the most of it to pin Saints on their own line.
Myler pointed for Hodgson to stick a little grubber behind the defence and the scrum half was on his own to pounced for try number two in the 16th minute. Again Hodgson converted for 12-0 and it sparked chants of ‘Are you Widnes in disguise?’ from the vibrant Wolves following.
Four minutes later Wolves were over the whitewash again.
Briers dabbed a kick towards the posts but it deflected off Paul Clough and fell nicely for Briers to pick up and scoot over. Hodgson kept up his 100 per cent record with the boot for 18-0.
Then it was all about backs to the wall and shutting up shop.
James Roby did manage to get over the line but he was prevented from touching down by three determined defenders and Wolves seemed to have an answer to everything that was thrown at them.
Wolves were first to pile on the pressure in the second half as the rain started to fall.
They forced successive drop outs and then when young stand off Lee Gaskell knocked on it was time to strike.
Myler’s short ball was good enough for Louis Anderson to angle his way over with one defender hanging off his shoulder. Hodgson’s conversion made it 24-0 with 53 minutes gone.
Saints finally got over the line themselves in the 67th minute, Michael Shenton forcing his way through Chris Riley from Kyle Eastmond’s short pass. Jonny Lomax goaled.
Briers knew what was needed, just in case Saints started one of their famous comebacks. He popped over a drop goal for 25-6.
When Chris Flannery crossed in the 78th minute and Lee Gaskell three minutes later, Saints had cut the gap to seven points but they ran out of time to bag any more.
The Wolves fans counted down the clock for the final 10 seconds and then erupted to marvel at Wolves’ first victory over Saints since 2001.
The pubs will run dry in Warrington tonight.

Saints: Paul Wellens; Ade Gardner, Michael Shenton, Jonny Lomax, Francis Meli; Lee Gaskell, Kyle Eastmond; James Graham, James Roby, Loui McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Chris Flannery, Sia Soliola, Jon Wilkin. Subs: Tony Puletua, Scott Moore, Paul Clough, Jamie Foster.

Wolves: Brett Hodgson; Joel Monaghan, Matty Blythe, Ryan Atkins, Chris Riley; Lee Briers, Richie Myler; Adrian Morley, Michael Monaghan, Garreth Carvell, Louis Anderson, Ben Westwood, David Solomona. Subs: Ben Harrison, Mickey Higham, Paul Wood, Rhys Evans.

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