Warrington end 35-year wait
The victorious Warrington Wolves lifted the Challenge Cup at Wembley yesterday for the first time since 1974, beating the battling Huddersfield Giants, 25-16. The clash marked the first final in 23 years not to feature either Wigan, St Helens, Bradford or Leeds, and the occasion did not suffer for the absence of rugby league's big four. Two disallowed tries for the Giants and one for Wolves only contributed to the drama of a match that witnessed seven tries.
Warrington set the tone when they opened the scoring inside the first 69 seconds. Louis Anderson intercepted a clearance kick from Huddersfield's Brett Hodgson and Richie Mathers bundled the ball over the line. Chris Bridge converted to give Warrington a 6-0 lead. Huddersfield did not take long to reply. Less than two minutes after an apparent Huddersfield try was disallowed, the Giants touched down when Shaun Lunt crossed and Brett Hodgson converted for 6-6.
The action flowed thick and fast in a frenetic first-half, with Warrington dominating. The outstanding Michael Monaghan scored three minutes later and Chris Hicks crossed minutes after that. Bridge added the extras to both efforts, giving Warrington an 18-6 lead. David Hodgson had another try disallowed for Huddersfield and Matt King suffered the same fate for Warrington before Huddersfield put together a sweeping team move just before half-time that saw Brett Hodgson touch down to make the scores 18-10.
The second half, more a battle of wills than the first, saw Warrington finally break the stalemate when Vinnie Anderson, sporting six stitches to a head injury, touched down after 61 minutes and Bridge again converted for 24-10. Huddersfield got a consolation try on 76 minutes when David Hodgson crossed, but it was Warrington who had the well-deserved final say, with Lee Briers lining up a drop goal from 15 metres out.