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Dragons deny Saints final dream

Saints bowed out of the Challenge Cup at the semi final stage following a 35-16 defeat to Catalans in Bolton.

The Dragons raced to a 27-0 lead at the break and even though Mark Percival grabbed a brace Saints couldn’t drag themselves back in it.

It left them waiting yet another year to return to the Cup Final and Wembley.

Catalans were tenacious from the off and led after just seven minutes.

Josh Drinkwater added the first of what would turn out to be seven two-pointers and his side never looked back.

Lewis Tierney and Ben Garcia sandwiched a James Roby effort that was chalked off and then Tony Gigot added a drop goal for 13-0.

Worse was to follow as Morgan Knowles saw yellow for a high shot and by the time he returned, Catalans led 29-0.

Gigot took an inside pass to go under the sticks before Garcia added his second as the hooter warmed up.

Drinkwater then added a penalty four minutes into the second half.

Saints fought their way back onto the scoreboard with two tries in five minutes.

Firstly, Mark Percival finished off a great move before Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook did what he’s done all season and sparked Saints to life with a try 15 minutes in.

Saints were on the front foot but the comeback was ultimately over when Sam Moa plunged over from short range.

Mark Percival then grabbed his second with around 10 minutes to go but the damage had already been done.

Justin Holbrook offered no excuses as Saints went down 35-16 in the Challenge Cup Semi Final to Catalans.

“We made a poor start with too many errors and tried to outplay them from the beginning,” he said. “That played into their hands – they are a big, strong powerful team but if you give them that much ball they are going to hurt you and they did just that.

“They ran hard, got through their sets and we did the opposite. They dominated us completely in that first half and all credit to them.

“I was happy with the fightback as we put a bit of a dint in them but we were too far behind in the end.

“There’s no excuse for that first half, we were poor and got what we deserved.

“If we would have kept them to 18 or 19 then we would have had a chance but we needed half time to come.

“In the end we couldn’t get there, the sin bin came and I thought we were in big trouble. We leaked two more and it made it really hard – and in the end too hard.”

He continued: “I’m bitterly disappointed and everything you can say about it. It will hurt more tomorrow when I wake up and realise we are out.

“We are a good side, but we were poor today and it hurts for sure.”

Match Summary:

Dragons:
Tries: Tierney, Garcia (2), Gigot, Moa
Goals: Drinkwater (7 from 8)
Drop: Gigot

Saints:
Tries: Percival (2), LMS
Goals: Richardson (2 from 3)

Penalties Awarded:
Dragons: 8
Saints: 9

HT: 27-0
FT: 35-16

REF: Robert Hicks

ATT: TBC

Teams:

Dragons:
31. Tony Gigot; 20. Lewis Tierney, 1. David Mead, 4. Brayden Wiliame, 5. Fouad Yaha; 6. Samisoni Langi, 33. Josh Drinkwater; 15. Mikael Simon, 19. Michael McIlorum, 10. Sam Moa, 21. Benjamin Jullien, 12. Benjamin Garcia, 8. Remi Casty.
Subs: 11. Louis Anderson, 14. Julian Bousquet, 17. Jason Baitieri, 34. Kenny Edwards.

Saints:
23. Ben Barba; 5. Adam Swift, 2. Tommy Makinson, 4. Mark Percival, 19. Regan Grace; 1. Jonny Lomax, 18. Danny Richardson; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 16. Luke Thompson, 15. Morgan Knowles, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 6. Theo Fages, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 20. Matty Lees.

Saints will aim to get their Super 8s campaign off to a winning start when they host Huddersfield this Friday August 10.

Tickets are now on sale from the Ticket Office, by calling 01744 455 050 0r online here.

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