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Barba Magic Lights Up Saints

Ben Barba scored a hat-trick in a magical performance that saw Saints beat Castleford 36-18 in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

It came almost a year to the day that Saints were thumped by the Tigers at the same stage of the tournament.

But there was no chance of a repeat as Barba and his teammates ran in six tries to book their spot in Sunday’s draw.

Saints weathered long periods of Castleford pressure in the first half before turning defence into attack and catching their hosts twice with length of the field efforts.

In the 17th minute, Barba snaffled up a bouncing ball on his own line and offloaded to Regan Grace who duly went the distance.

And, on the half hour mark, the full back did the same, picking up a loose ball and racing away to fire Saints further ahead.

Saints were good value for their 12-0 half time lead and that gap was increased early in the second.

And it came as Cas misjudged the kick off to give Saints a repeat set.

The Tigers defended the first chance but once it came back and Dom Peyroux had sidestepped his way to the line, they were powerless to stop Barba notching his second.

The ball was swept left to the full back who then bamboozled two defenders and put down under pressure.

If Saints thought that was job done they then got a timely reminder in the 50th minute as Jake Trueman showed great feet to arc his way past the defence.

But just two minutes later Barba found Ryan Morgan on a great line and the advantage and momentum was restored.

Cas scored again on the hour mark as good hands saw Greg Minkin get over in the corner, but again, like last time, within a blink of an eye Saints were back on top.

Theo Fages had done the damage with a fantastic break before Richardson took on the line, threw an outrageous dummy, and ghosted over.

And Ben Barba then produced a magical mazy run to notch up his hat-trick.

A special try from a special talent.

Saints pressed for more in the closing stages but a stray pass was picked off by Mike McMeeken as the hooter sounded.

It did nothing to dampen Saints’ day though and they are in the hat for the next round.





Justin Holbrook declared himself a happy man as Saints progressed to the next round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup with a 36-18 win at Castleford.


“I think the first half was the fastest we have played in all year,” he said. “It was a really tough game and Cas game out firing which we knew they would do. It is a tough place to come and play so to go in 12-0 up was a real big effort from us.

“We kicked away a little in the second half too so I was really happy.

“The Cup is a high priority for us but that is no different from every other team that is still in it. We have a few more games to play in this competition though but I was definitely happy to get a good win here today.”

He continued: “Ben Barba was very good today. He has been playing fantastic and he did it again. It was great to watch.

“Great players lift those around them and he is having a great influence on our team. He is a very intelligent guy with his rugby league and is great to work with. I can’t rap him enough.”

Match Summary:

Tries: Trueman, Minkin, McMeeken
Goals: Ellis (3 from 3)

Tries: Grace, Barba (3), Morgan, Richardson,
Goals: Richardson (6 from 7)

Penalties Awarded:
Tigers: 6
Saints: 5

HT: 0-16
FT: 18-36

REF: James Child

ATT: 5,342


4. Michael Shenton; 2. Greg Minikin, 3. Jake Webster, 16. Joe Wardle, 24. Jy Hitchcox; 6. Jamie Ellis, 9. Paul McShane; 32. Liam Watts, 13. Adam Milner, 15. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 11. Oliver Holmes, 12. Mike McMeeken, 17. Alex Foster.
Subs: 8. Junior Moors, 10. Grant Millington, 18. Matt Cook, 21. Jake Trueman.

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.


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