You can say that the derby is certainly a special occasion for Regan Grace, writes saintsrlfc.com
Last year he announced himself to the rugby league world with a sensational debut.
This time around he won the hearts of every Saints fan across the globe by scoring in the corner to secure our first Good Friday win for nine years.
It was a sensational end to a sensational game that ebbed and flowed throughout.
Tied 14-14, Ryan Morgan broke down the right hand and within a blink of an eye, Jonny Lomax threw a looping pass for the winger to put down.
Danny Richardson nailed the conversion and then added a drop goal to break the Warriors.
It also sent a sold out Totally Wicked Stadium into raptures as well as taking Saints four points clear at the top of the table… but the win was about much more than that.
Wigan took an early lead in a ferocious first half when Morgan Escare, in for the ill Sam Tomkins, slotted over a penalty from under the posts on four minutes.
Six minutes later, Joe Burgess had one chalked off as he couldn’t ground it before the dead ball line.
Saints followed up with a couple of sets on the Warriors’ line, but couldn’t find a way through, and then Burgess was unlucky not to take a kick across the field.
The home side then hit the front with a piece of class.
Jon Wilkin found a wonder ball to Thompson, who duly fed Ben Barba on the half way line.
The full back then rounded Escare and scored to the right of the posts.
WHAT A TRY! ?
Ben Barba from his own half! ?♂️?
Was this the try of the season?
— Sky Sports RL ? (@SkySportsRL) 30 March 2018
The try changed the momentum of the game – as did a flurry of penalties that followed as the visitors lost their discipline.
But Saints couldn’t turn the screw as Wigan’s defence held firm.
More chances followed before, after another penalty, Saints made their possession pay.
A strong run from Grace got them into great position before James Roby took off and fired a short pass to Zeb Taia.
Richardson making it 12-2 with the conversion.
Saints could have gone further ahead as the half time approached but Grace was held up a couple of inches short after a superb break from Barba and Mark Percival.
Wigan came out fired up in the second half and reduced the deficit within five minutes.
And it was a simple one too as Joel Tomkins took a short inside ball to make it game on.
Saints almost hit back when Grace and Richardson both went within inches – and then Tomkins was held up.
But on the hour mark, Wigan took the lead through Willie Isa – Williams kicking the conversion.
Saints needed to right the ship and they did just that when Morgan Knowles had the ball stripped.
Richardson tagged on the penalty to make it all square before Sam Powell’s drop goal effort went wide.
It was a case of who would blink first and it was Saints who won the game with another piece of brilliance.
Ryan Morgan made the break down the right, Makinson brought it inside and Lomax’ pass did the rest.
Danny Richardson’s drop goal making it ultimately safe with three minutes to go.
Joel Tomkins scored late on, but Saints had done the business.
The Game Winning Try
Regan Grace in the corner after awesome Saints build-up play
Jon Wilkin Gives his Thoughts On A Thrilling Derby Victory In His 400th Saints Game!!
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) 30 March 2018
Holbrook Proud Of Derby Win
“It was a fantastic game of rugby league,” he said. “I saw some highlights of the Grand Final clashes over the years in the build up and it delivered for us again.
“For us to come through and win, it was great. Some people pointed out we hadn’t won one in eight years so to win today was great for the players, club, the fans and town. I was very proud to watch the boys win today.
“Both teams were run off their feet and we just hung on in there. It is hard to single anyone out and there were lots of good performances. It was a cracking game.”
He continued: “Towards the back end of the game you could see both teams were out but I thought there was another try in the game. I was really happy with the play – Ryan Morgan made a break down the right to start it off and I think for their instinct to just say play was the right decision.
“We missed a couple of chances but to their credit Wigan scrambled well.
“I have been proud of the boys all season so for Wigan to get their noses in front and for us to stick to it and come through is great.”
Saints are next in action on Monday when they travel to Widnes (3:05pm) before they host Hull FC on April 6.
Tickets for that clash are now on sale from the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.
Tries: Barba, Taia, Grace
Goals: Richardson (4 from 4)
Tries: Tomkins (2), Isa,
Goals: Escare (2 from 2), Williams (1 from 2)
REF: R Hicks
23. Ben Barba; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 19. Regan Grace; 1. Jonny Lomax, 18. Danny Richardson; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Dom Peyroux, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 6. Theo Fages, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles.
20. Morgan Escare; 2. Tom Davies, 14. John Bateman, 4. Oliver Gildart, 5. Joe Burgess; 6. George Williams, 7. Sam Powell; 8. Tony Clubb, 9. Thomas Leuluai, 10. Ben Flower, 19. Willie Isa, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. Sean OíLoughlin.
Subs: 11. Joel Tomkins, 15. Ryan Sutton, 17. Taulima Tautai, 34. Josh Woods.