Wigan win the Challenge Cup

Share this article

SAM Tomkins’ try at the death ensured the Challenge Cup is coming home with a 16-0 victory over Hull FC.

The mercurial full-back took Blake Green’s crossfield kick 10 metres from the line to skip and dance through the tired Hull FC defenders to stamp his mark on the town’s second Wembley triumph in four months.

Pat Richards congratulates Iain Thornley after his try

Pat Richards congratulates Iain Thornley after his try

It wasn’t the points-fest of the 1985 Cup Final classic between Wigan and Hull - but the only detail Warriors fans will care about is the Challenge Cup will return to Wigan for a record-extending 19th time.

Iain Thornley’s 20th minute try looked to be the only one the game would see until Tomkins’ late effort.

Cagey, edgy, or just tense - Hull FC managed to keep the balance on a knife edge despite their inferiority when it came to both possession and territory in the rain-soaked finale.

Had the Airlie Birds made the most of a handful of chances which came their way, the outcome may have been so dramatically different but as it stands Peter Gentle’s men were not destined to become the first FC side to win at Wembley.

The persistent drizzle mixed with the inevitable tension made for frequent use of the free play rule and it was Daniel Holdsworth’s spilling of a drop-out seven minutes before time which finally confirmed the result would go in Wigan’s favour.

Pat Richards’ kick off did nothing to settle the nerves as his kick-off sailed out on the full - gifting Hull a set which seemed only inches from the Warriors line.

The Black and Whites were running fiercely and looking up for the battle but Wigan survived and won a penalty when Joe Westerman went high Ben Flower to relieve the pressure.

From there on, the Warriors pretty much camped on the Hull line but a combination of typically nervy Cup Final rugby and resolute defence from the Airlie Birds smothered scoring chances.

And there were a handful for Shaun Wane’s men.

As few as five minutes in Darrell Goulding kissed a delicate kick through for Josh Charnley but had to settle for a goal line drop out.

Two minutes later, after repeat sets Thornley over ran a pass resulting in a knock on.

Richards was also held-up when he managed to breach the enemy lines.

Finally, after 20 minutes, centre Thornley found the tryline to put Wigan in front but it was only given after a consultation with the video referee.

Hull’s Jamie Shaul broke through for what looked a certain try nine minutes after the restart but Josh Charnley chased him down superbly to knock the ball out and offer an early hint this may not be their day.

Richards knocked over a couple of penalties to give Wigan breathing space and Lance Todd trophy winner, Matty Smith’s kicking masterclass ensured Wigan were never far from the Hull line.

Darrell Goulding left the field on a stretcher in the 56th minute after taking a bang to the head but Wigan managed to stand firm despite the loss of the classy centre.

And Tomkins’ four-pointer on the bell was greeted by as much relief as elation as the realisation Wigan’s 17th win at Wembley was in the bag.