Howard Packman helped himself to four tries as the Wanderers took maximum points from their Aviva 'A' League clash with Wasps on Monday evening.
The wing scored twice in either half at Franklin's Gardens but while Charlie Clare and James Wilson also crossed, it was certainly harder work than the scoreboard suggested come full-time.
Wasps dominated large chunks of the second half as they looked to overturn a 24-10 deficit, but their inability to turn pressure into points instead left the hosts to increase their winning margin with a fantastic final 10.
The visitors had the first attacking platform of the evening, a lineout on the Saints’ 10-metre line, but with Lewis Ludlam pinching possession on the deck defence quickly became attack. Sam Dickinson and Api Ratuniyarawa spotted Packman out wide but there was still plenty to do, the young wing bouncing through one tackle and holding of a couple more to barrel over in the corner.
Sam Olver added the extras as well as a drop goal, but not before a yellow card for Gareth Denman and a close shave at the other end, Wasps’ Brendan Macken knocking on going for the line.
It proved a crucial missed chance and when the Wanderers scored through Packman again, a commanding lead had been built. A strong burst from Wilson breached the Wasps 22 and with the forwards taking over to good effect, quick hands from Tom Collins and Ace Tuala did the rest, Packman clinging onto the ball on the fly and sliding home.
The right hand corner was getting a work out and while Wasps did all they could to stem the flow, seven minutes later the Wandies were over again. A string of penalties went to the corner and with advantage being played once more, Wasps finally crumbled, hooker Clare coming up from the pile of bodies with the ball.
In complete control, the hosts were given something to think about before the break. Tom Cruse was driven over at the other end and while another score was not forthcoming, Wasps ended the opening 40 right on the front foot.
And that’s where they’d spend much of the second half, too. Another lineout deep in the home 22 set the platform and while this time the drive went nowhere, Craig Hampson spotted space down the short side and raced through the Wanderers cover.
The pattern of the game had shifted, but just as the visitors' mauling seemed to be taking control, the hosts clung on. A series of penalties against proved worthy risk before a turnover relieved some pressure and Alapati Leiua could count himself unlucky to have his searing break for the line pulled back for ‘crossing’ with the referee.
That was that for the visitors and the game went from in the balance to over in a five-minute blitz from the Wanderers. Packman dashed in the right corner to complete his hat-trick and after James Wilson marked his return with a chargedown try, it was fittingly left to the winger to coast home from 60 metres for his fourth and the Wanderers' sixth.
2mins WAND Try Packman Con Olver 7-0
4mins WAND Yellow Denman
12mins WAND DG Olver 10-0
23mins WAND Try Packman Con Olver 17-0
31mins WAND Try Clare Con Olver 24-0
35mins WASPS Try Cruse 24-5
HALF-TIME WAND 24 WASPS 5
42mins WASPS Try Hampson 24-10
73mins WAND Try Packman Con Wilson 31-10
75mins WAND Try & Con Wilson 38-10
78mins WAND Try Packman Con Wilson 45-10
FULL-TIME WAND 45 WASPS 10
WANDERERS Tuala; Packman, Tuitavake, Wilson, Collins; Olver, Mitchell; E Waller (capt), Clare, Denman, Ratuniyarawa, J Onojaife, Bennett, Ludlam, Dickinson
Marshall, Painter, Beesley, Moon, D Onojaife, Emery, Estelles, Furbank
WASPS James; Howe, De Luca (capt), Macken, Armitage; Eastgate, Hampson; Bristow, Cruse, Swainston, Rowlands, Garrett, Bone, J Willis, Rieder
Edgson, Leat, Stuart, Ehizode, T Willis, Smit, Leiua, Umaga