12th January 1997: St Helens 44 Wigan 12
Posted by cherryandwhite on October 20 2013 - 22:45

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St Helens 44 Wigan 12 (Aggregate: St Helens 66 Wigan 44) - Sunday 12th January 1997
Venue: Knowsley Road, St Helens
Competition: Norweb Challenge Second Leg (Friendly)
Kick Off: 3:00pm

WiganlBacks:l 1. Doc Murray, 2. Danny Ellison, 3. Kris Radlinski, 4. Andy Johnson, 5. Daryl Cardiss, 6. Sean Long, 7. Craig Murdock
WiganlForwards:l 8. Neil Cowie, 9. Martin Hall, 10. Ian Sherratt, 11. Steve Barrow, 12. Stephen Holgate, 13. Gael Tallec
WiganlInterchanges:l

14. Paul Johnson, 15. Neil Baynes, 16. Matthew Knowles, 17. Nigel Wright


WiganlTries:l

Danny Ellison, Paul Johnson

WiganlGoals:l Sean Long 2

StlHelenslBacks:l 1. Steve Prescott, 2. Danny Arnold, 3. Alan Hunte, 4. Paul Newlove, 5. Anthony Sullivan, 6. Tommy Martyn, 7. Bobbie Goulding
StlHelenslForwards:l 8. Apollo Perelini, 9. Kerion Cunningham, 10. Julian O'Neill, 11. Derek McVey, 12. Ian Pickavance, 13. Karle Hammond
StlHelenslInterchanges:l

14. Paul Anderson, 15. Vila Matautia, 16. Andy Northey, 17. Chris Morley


StlHelenslTries:l

Apollo Perelini 2, Karle Hammond 2, Vila Matautia, Alan Hunte, Anthony Sullivan, Bobbie Goulding

StlHelenslGoals:l Bobbie Goulding 6
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Half Time:l

Unknown

Attendance:l

10,147

Referee:l

Dave Campbell (Widnes)

Note:l

Match had been previously postponed on New Years Day Wednesday 1st January 1997 (3:00pm) due to Frozen Pitch

Report:l

St Helens did what Wigan's team sheet always suggested they would do at Knowsley Road yesterday by becoming the game's unofficial winter champions.

Wigan were still without the players who missed the first leg of the Norweb Winter Challenge on Boxing Day and, most damagingly, without their captain, Andy Farrell, as well.

It was to the credit of a young and relatively inexperienced side that they clung on to the remnants of their 10-point lead from that first game for as long as they did and only went behind on aggregate for the first time 13 minutes into the second half.

St Helens, close to full strength as well as relishing home advantage, scored the only try of a lacklustre first quarter, Apollo Perelini going over for the first of his two tries after Bobbie Goulding's kick had put Wigan under pressure.

The contest came alive with a brilliant try by each side within a couple of minutes. First Wigan's outstanding player, the mercurial Sean Long, started a move that ended with Danny Ellison scoring.

Saints responded with one even better, Chris Morley and Paul Newlove making the running for Anthony Sullivan to go over.

When Steve Prescott's tackle knocked the ball out of the hand of his opposite number, Doc Murray, to claim the try, the running totals were neatly level at half-time.

Wigan, despite losing Steve Barrow and Ellison with injuries that further stacked the odds against them, were not ready to bow to the inevitable yet, Long and Kris Radlinski linking superbly for Paul Johnson to claim their second try.

The rest, however, was all St Helens. Goulding, whose resoration to the side proved as crucial as Farrell's absence, fooled Wigan by running and scoring on the sixth tackle and Perelini then took a reverse pass from Hammond for his second try.

A delayed pass from Tommy Martyn sent Vila Matautia powering over, Alan Hunte scored after Goulding had kicked straight from a scrum and Hammond rounded off the try-scoring from close range.

As Martyn said, "It's good even to beat Wigan at dominoes," so to deprive them of this pounds 15,000 purse as well as last year's Challenge Cup and Championship made the whole exercise more than worthwhile for Saints.

The only sobering point was that one of their best performers, Prescott, is on the transfer list after failing to agree new terms and that the club could be heading for similar problems with Goulding.

It has been a good winter; the test will be how well St Helens hold the whole thing together in the summer.