FERN Davies marked her return to the Warrington Wolves women’s line-up with their only try of the game as St Helens ran out winners at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Strong running prop Davies, who has been teaching PE in Prague since September, led the way in a much-improved defensive effort from the Wolves after shipping 88 points to Leeds Rhinos last week.

But despite dominating for decent periods of the game, the home team were let down by a number of handling errors at vital times and an inability to break the Saints defence on their own line.

After an early penalty against Saints for a dangerous tackle that might have been viewed more harshly on another occasion, Warrington enjoyed a strong start but just couldn’t put any plays together to break the visitors’ defence.

And it was Saints who took the lead against the run of play on nine minutes after a handling error and a scrum saw winger Eboni Partington fed out wide to beat the cover defence and give Amy Taylor an easy conversion.

Saints consolidated their lead with two further quick tries for Tara Jones and Lucy McColm on the back of hard yards gained by Shona Hoyle and Chantelle Crowl, but this only seemed to galvanise Wire who enjoyed some good possession.

Powerful running by loose forward Abi Latchford, substitute Claire Mullaney and second rower Kacy Hayley had Saints on the back foot but each time the attacks fizzled out with poor play on the last tackle.

Warrington Guardian: Kacy Hayley in action against St HelensKacy Hayley in action against St Helens (Image: MKS Photography)

It was another mistake – this time by Grace Ramsden under a high ball – that led to Saints scoring again, Faye Gaskin showing neat footwork to finish from close range under the sticks. Taylor’s conversion made it 22-0 to the visitors.

As the half drew to a close, the brave defensive effort from The Wire began to take its toll and they conceded a further three tries in the final seven minutes to Vicky Whitfield, Emily Rudge and a second for Gaskin to stretch the lead at the break to 40-0.

Tactical changes at the start of the second half saw Michelle Davis move into the halves with Shannon Stephens drop to full back, with recent signings Chloe Kerrigan and Rebecca Nixon brought into the right-hand edge

And in a repeat of the first half, Warrington were much the better side in the first 10 minutes both in defence and attack.

Kerrigan was adjudged to have been held up over the line when it looked like she had grounded the ball just before she was turned in the tackle.

But it was another mistake – this time from a poor kick through – that led to another try for Saints as Hoyle broke down the middle and, despite great defence again from the Wire, the ball went through hands for Phoebe Hook to crash over in the corner.

From the restart, Kerrigan and Nixon forced Hook into touch to retain possession, leading to Davies crashing over for the try that even the most hardened of Saints fans would say the home team deserved for their efforts.

Warrington Guardian: Fern Davies crashes over the lineFern Davies crashes over the line (Image: MKS Photography)

Davis added the extras but from then on, Saints dashed any hopes of more success for The Wire and, helped by a combination of poor handling by Warrington and some expansive rugby, ran in a further three tries – Hook again, Erin Stott and a second for Jones – to give Saints a comfortable 60-6 victory.

Reflecting on the game, Fern Davies said: “Defensively we were much better than last week and a lot more cohesive.

“I was a little nervous before the start but pleased with my try. It was the errors that let us down so we need to work on those and move onto Wigan next time.”