By Neil Barraclough
PUBLISHED: 11:02 EST, 6 April 2012 | UPDATED: 14:21 EST, 6 April 2012
Sam Tomkins ruined St Helens’ first derby at Langtree Park with the decisive try in a frantic Super League clash.
The England ace had endured a difficult afternoon before his match-winning intervention, first losing the ball to gift Francis Meli his opening try and then arguing with referee Phil Bentham in the second half.
But he ended St Helens’s recent resurgence by dancing past two defenders after Gareth Hock produced a sensational flick pass.
Winning feeling: George Carmont celebrates his try for Wigan
Wigan were missing five first-choice forwards but Hock’s aggression, coupled with the guile of Brett Finch and Tomkins’s brilliance, ensured they trailed only briefly after Meli’s early strike.
Late on Hock enhanced his claims for an England spot by charging over from Finch’s sublimely disguised short ball.
But he tarnished his performance by throwing the ball at Saints fans as part of his try celebrations.
It earned him a rebuke from Bentham although his actions were defended by Wigan coach Shaun Wane. He said: ‘This win means everything to him,’ said Wane.
Breaking through: St Helens' Sia Soliola goes over the line for a try against Wigan as Harrison Hanson, Thomas Leuluai and Jack Hughes fail to stop him
‘He wouldn’t have done it intentionally. He would have been pumped to have scored that try.
‘It’s an outstanding feeling to come here in the first derby.’
Saints appeared well on top when Meli had enough power to finish following Tomkins’s early error.
But Tomkins created space for Darrell Goulding to claim a fourth try in as many games before Finch put George Carmont clear to give the visitors a half-time lead.
Sia Solioloa gave St Helens hope when he narrowed the gap to two points, but Tomkins and Hock came to the fore and Warriors prop Jeff Lima sealed a remarkable triumph.
Standing tall: Wigan's Gareth Hock is tackled by St Helens pair Jon Wilkin and James Roby