Super League: Castleford Tigers 18-40 St Helens

St Helens full-back Ben Barba has scored six tries in three appearances against Castleford
St Helens full-back Ben Barba has scored six tries in three appearances against Castleford
Betfred Super League
Castleford (4) 18
Tries: McMeeken, Hitchcox, Trueman, Holmes Goals: Ellis
St Helens (22) 40
Tries: Amor, Barba, Lomax, Peyroux, Morgan 2, Fages 2 Goals: Richardson 4

St Helens extended their lead at the top of Super League as they overcame Castleford Tigers at the Jungle.

Kyle Amor touched down inside three minutes for Saints but Cas responded immediately through Mike McMeeken.

Ben Barba ran 90 metres to run-in an incredible try while Jonny Lomax and Dominique Peyroux extended their lead.

Ryan Morgan and Theo Fages crossed twice for Saints but Jy Hitchcox, Jake Trueman and Oliver Holmes helped the hosts finish the match with a flourish.

The victory puts Saints four points clear of second-placed Wigan Warriors, however the Cherry and Whites have two games in hand. Meanwhile Castleford remain fifth.

There was controversy when Barba ran in Saints' second try as his incredible end-to-end run began with what some inside the Jungle thought was a knock-on.

However, television replays showed that Chris Kendall was correct to allow play to continue as the ball bounced slightly behind Barba, after Adam Swift struggled to deal with a high Castleford kick, before he started his stunning solo try.

It was the second time in 12 days that Barba had run the length of the field to score at the Jungle, having done the same in Saints' 36-18 Challenge Cup win, where the Australian had scored a hat-trick.

Despite Hitchcox, Trueman and Holmes cutting the deficit for the Tigers late in the second half, Saints held on to seal a second win in two matches against Castleford at the Jungle since Cas' dramatic golden point win in the 2017 Super League semi-finals.

Castleford coach Daryl Powell: "We started with a real verve about us with the ball and put them under pressure but we just couldn't defend.

"Players have got to be able to do their jobs better. Too many of our players have to change if we are to have a chance of doing anything.

"We cared about defence last year and I don't think we cared as much tonight. We need to work harder and we need to be tougher.

"We're getting some tough things happening to us, we lost Benny Roberts and had to completely reshuffle and we can't get a decision going our way. I thought the officiating was as bad as us tonight."

Saints coach Justin Holbrook: "We're a good side but there are plenty of good sides in the competition.

"I said earlier in the year all the teams will get better as the year goes on and we're no different. We want to keep getting better."

Castleford: Shenton, Minikin, Roberts, Foster, Hitchcox, Ellis, Trueman, Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, McMeeken, Milner.

Replacements: Moors, Millington, Massey, Cook.

St Helens: Barba, Swift, Morgan, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Richardson, Amor, Roby, Thompson, Peyroux, Taia, Wilkin.

Replacements: Fages, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles.

Referee: Chris Kendall.

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