|Betfred Super League|
|St Helens (4) 4|
|Castleford Tigers 0 (0)|
Beaten Challenge Cup finalists St Helens battled back from last weekend’s Wembley slip-up to earn their hardest-fought Super League win of the season and dent Castleford’s top-five hopes.
Welsh winger Regan Grace went over in the left corner for the only score of the game in the 33rd minute.
Saints then somehow kept out the fired-up Tigers’ second-half onslaught.
Victory for Cas would have lifted them up into fifth following Hull’s shock home defeat by Huddersfield.
As it is, they stay sixth and now host fifth-placed Hull next weekend at Wheldon Road in a contest which may well sort out who gets the final top-five place – and make the play-offs.
Grace’s try, to maintain his record of scoring in all Saints’ meetings with Cas this season, at least ensured some happy faces on the night when Saints picked up the League Leaders Shield.
Saints are now 18 points clear at the top, having won 24 of their 27 games this season as they kept up their 100 per cent home record.
Cas, who have not won at Helens since 1992 – and never since their hosts moved to Langtree Park – had a succession of second-half openings.
But Saints’ defence, so surprisingly breached by Warrington at Wembley six days ago, this time held firm.
And, after Danny Richardson’s missed conversion of Grace’s try, the closest either side came to another score was when Saints’ Jonny Lomax had a late try unfairly chalked off for obstruction.
But referee James Child’s decision ensured that Saints equalled their own record for Super League’s lowest-scoring game, a 4-0 away win over Celtic Crusaders in March 2009, at the Brewery Field, Bridgend.
St Helens: Welsby; Makinson, Costello, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Richardson; Amor, Roby, Thompson, Ashworth, Z Taia, Knowles.
Interchanges: Walmsley, Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Bentley.
Castleford: Rankin; Clare, Mata’utia, Blair, Minikin; Trueman, Ellis; Watts, McShane, Millington, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey.
Interchanges: Milner, Sene-Lefao, O’Neill, Smith.
Referee: James Child (RFL).
Sat 31 Aug: Catalans v Hull KR
Sun 1 Sept: London Broncos v Leeds, Wakefield v Wigan
Fri 6 Sept: Leeds v Salford, St Helens v Huddersfield, Warrington v Wakefield, Wigan v Catalans
Sun 8 Sept: Hull KR v London Broncos, Castleford v Hull
Fri 13 Sept: Huddersfield v Catalans, Leeds v Warrington, Hull v St Helens, Wigan v Castleford
Sun 15 Sept: Wakefield v London Broncos, Salford v Hull KR