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Rampant Wolves humble Leeds
Hicks scores hat-trick in Challenge Cup final rout
Chris Hicks grabbed a Wembley hat-trick as Warrington retained the Challenge Cup with a resounding 30-6 victory over Leeds.
However, it was Lee Briers who would secure the Lance Todd Trophy, the stand-off at his creative best as the Wolves raced out to a 14-0 half-time lead.
And they continued in the same vain after the break as Ryan Atkins completed a brace of tries and Louis Anderson also touched down in the closing stages.
The Rhinos struggled to find a way into the contest against a fierce Warrington defence and finished as tame runners-up for the fourth time in 10 years.
The Wolves struggled to contain a fired-up Leeds early on, with prop Ryan Bailey crashing over the try-line but a combined effort from Richie Mathers and Louis Anderson ensured he did not ground the ball.
The holders eventually rallied as Lee Smith failed to deal with a high ball and would have left Adrian Morley a clear run in to score if he had managed to collect the loose ball cleanly.
And it was Warrington who opened the scoring in the 14th minute after a neat kick from Briers was collected by Atkins, who breezed past a stranded Leeds defence to go over.
The boot of Briers soon created a second try as Hicks capitalised on his 40-20 kick to power over the line, with the half-back also contributing a key pass to the move.
Ben Westwood failed to convert either score, meaning Warrington only gained an eight-point lead for their efforts.
The Rhinos enjoyed plenty of time in possession as disorganisation in defence from Tony Smith's side led to several repeat sets of six, but the Super League champions' clinical touch was missing.
Ryan Hall had briefly threatened down the left wing but Warrington increased their lead before the half-time break as Atkins grabbed his second try of the match.
Chris Riley took advantage of confusion over an offside call to set up the centre with the Leeds defence in disarray and Westwood finally added the extras from in front of the posts.
The Wolves surged forward again moments after the interval as Westwood broke through and chipped towards the corner only for Rob Burrow to make a try-saving recovery.
A head injury to Danny McGuire looked to have dealt Leeds' chances a further blow but the influential half-back was able to continue after being clipped by Briers' knee.
The Rhinos had started the second-half brighter but their frustration was extended when Mathers once again provided the defensive heroics to hold Brett Delaney up when the Australian looked certain to score.
And their deficit was then increased when Briers lofted a towering kick into the corner and Hicks out-jumped Hall to grab his second try with Westwood converting from the touchline.
Leeds finally got on the scoreboard with 66 minutes on the clock as McGuire threaded a ball out to Smith, whose try was confirmed by the video referee.
But the game was finally killed off when Hicks completed his hat-trick in fine style after some desperate off-loading on the last tackle and Louis Anderson completed the rout with another late score.
|Tetleys Challenge Cup|
|Saturday 7th March|
|14:00||Elland vs Featherstone Lions|
|14:00||Wath Brow vs Newcastle Thunder|
|14:00||Oulton Raiders vs Normanton Knights|
|14:30||Leigh Miners Rangers vs West Hull|
|15:00||London Skolars vs Swinton|
|17:00||Kells vs Rochdale Hornets|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Barrow vs Keighley|
|14:00||South Wales vs York|
|14:30||North Wales Crusaders vs Widnes West Bank|
|14:30||Hemel Stags vs Oxford|
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