Challenge Cup final: Wigan Warriors grind out victory over Hull

Last updated: 24th August 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Wigan Warriors Iain Thornley scores a try under pressure from Hull FC s Danny Houghton

Iain Thornley scores the only try of the first half

Wigan Warriors Iain Thornley right celebrates with Pat Richards

Pat Richards congratulates Wigan tryscorer Ian Thornley

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Wigan won the Challenge Cup for a 19th time with an attritional 16-0 victory over Hull FC in the final at Wembley.

Hull were gutsy and defiant in defence but they never really threatened the Wigan line during an error-strewn 80 minutes almost completely dominated by the Cherry and Whites.

When Hull did gain decent field position they coughed up the ball with alarming regularity, in fact some of the knock-ons were almost laughable.

The Airlie Birds did well to keep the scoreline competitive for so long, but that will be of no consolation as their long wait for a win at Wembley goes on, while they are the first side to be kept scoreless in a Challenge Cup final since St Helens in 1989.

Full-back Sam Tomkins and centre Iain Thornley scored the only tries of a disappointing final, which failed miserably to live up to the classic of 1985 between these two teams.

Persistent rain which doused the pitch from early morning contributed to the lowest-scoring final for 33 years but Hull fans among the 78,137 crowd must have been distraught over their team's inept handling.

Wigan skipper Sean O'Loughlin, back from a two-match injury absence, led from the front in his trademark fashion but the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match went to scrum-half Matty Smith, whose kicking in the difficult conditions proved crucial.

Black and Whites full-back Jamie Shaul, who got the chance to make only his sixth senior appearance on the biggest of stages, justified his call-up with an accomplished display but Hull coach Peter Gentle's decision to bring back centre Ben Crooks backfired badly.

Gentle had insisted there was no risk in playing his 20-try centre, who has been out for a month with an ankle injury, but his timing looked awry as he produced three handling errors in the first half alone.

His first blunder would have cost his side a try had winger Jason Crookes not been able to get his body under the ball to prevent Pat Richards touching down.

It set the scene for Wigan to lay siege to their opponents' line with four consecutive sets of tackles but Hull's defence held firm against all the odds.

Superior handling

The Warriors' superior handling betrayed the conditions and they enjoyed a 60-40 share of possession in the first half, yet led only 6-0 courtesy of Thornley's 21st-minute try.

Thornley maintained his composure to pick up an awkward pass by his bootlaces and eluded the attempted tackle of former Wigan second rower Danny Tickle to touch down wide out, although not too far out for Pat Richards to add the conversion, the first of four successful kicks.

Wigan ought to have made more of a clean break by hooker Michael McIlorum but Hull's tenacity kept them in the contest.

Smith was narrowly wide with a drop-goal attempt on the stroke of half-time but the Warriors extended their lead two minutes into the second half when Richards put over a penalty for a late tackle by Richard Whiting.

Hull's best chance came on 49 minutes when Shaul broke out of defence and sprinted 70 metres but lost the ball in England winger Josh Charnley's tackle. With that went their chances of springing an upset.

Wigan were forced into a re-shuffle when centre Darrell Goulding was knocked out in an attempted tackle on Kirk Yeaman that went badly wrong but the Warriors stretched their lead with a second penalty from Richards, this time for an ugly spear tackle by Aaron Heremaia on O'Loughlin.

Hull produced a spirited late rally but Wigan deservedly had the final say when Sam Tomkins touched down Blake Green's cross-kick in the last minute for his 11th try of the competition.

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