It would be lucky round thirteen for either the Warrington Wolves or St Helens, but the smart money was on St Helens extending their lead at the top of the table against a Warrington side who are struggling for any kind of consistency as new coach Daryl Powell continues to find his feet.
The visitors were unchanged from the side which beat Hull FC last time out while the Wolves welcomed back Gareth Widdop to the side who were thrashed by the Catalans Dragons in the south of France in the last round.
The home side had an eight-point start on the handicap coupon, but many pundits thought that the margin would be somewhat higher than that.
It took thirteen blockbusting minutes for the first points of the game, and they came at the hands of the returning Gareth Widdop as he finished off a fantastic Connor Wrench break down the right wing by taking the inside pass and going over from ten metres out. Widdop was unable to add the conversion from the wing but the Wolves fans were wearing broad smiles, but there was already the feeling that Saints were biding their time and waiting for the Wolves to blow themselves out.
Saints scored from a scrum, astonishingly against the head, as the ball came free through a forest of legs and Alex Walmsley reacted first to dribble the ball over the line to pick up and dot down for a ridiculously easy four pointer. Tommy Makinson added the conversion to put Saints into the lead.
A far smarter try from Saints on thirty-seven saw Makinson take a fast pass and dive in from Konrad Hurrell after an Agnatius Paasi wonder long pass. Makinson added the conversion from wide for 12-4. Saints now taking command of the game as the sides went onto the interval.
Wrench stopped a certain try from Welsby on forty-five as he chased back and hauled the Saints full-back down ten from the line after a blistering break.
Ashton managed a similar feat on fifty-four, this time chasing back to haul down a sprinting Hurrell close to the line and when Roby dropped the ball two plays later the Wolves could breathe again.
On fifty-seven George Williams was the beneficiary of strong Widdop break as he took the pass and stretched for the line, against the run of play, to get Warrington right back in the game. Stefan Ratchford added the conversion, the deficit down to just two points.
The game was now being played at breakneck speed as Warrington pushed for the lead and Saints tried to take the score line beyond their hosts.
Wrench put in a sensational break down the right wing in the last minute but the pass, under the tackle was forward and Saints held on for the win.
There was no doubting the passion from both sides in a game more noted for some breath-taking defence that stunning attacking play. Warrington were on the back foot for long periods but managed to keep themselves in the game and came close to pinching the points. But despite losing the second half it was Saints who picked up the points and who go four points clear at the top of the table, Warrington anchored in the bottom half of the table.
Warrington Wolves: Widdop (T), Wrench, Mata´utia, King, Ashton, Ratchford (G), Williams (T), Philbin, Clark D, Cooper, Currie, Holmes, Magoulais. Subs: Clark J, Bullock, Davis, Mulhern.
Saints: Welsby, Makinson (T, 2G), Hurrell, Mata´utia, Percival, Davies, Lomax, Walmsley (T), Roby, Lees, Sironen, Batchelor, Knowles. Subs: Lussick, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paasi, Bell.
Score Progression: 4-0, 4-4, 4-6, 4-10, 4-12 : HT : 8-12, 10-12 : FT.
Referee: James Child.