Wigan edge Huddersfield to win Challenge Cup

Huddersfield: (10) 14
Tries: Leutele, McQueen, McGillvary Goals: Lolohea
Wigan: (6) 16
Tries: Smith, Field, Marshall Goals: Smith 2

Wigan Warriors stunned Huddersfield Giants with a late try to win the Challenge Cup for a record-extending 20th time at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Matty Peet’s side were favourites coming into the contest and Liam Marshall’s score gave them victory.

Ricky Leutele and Chris McQueen crossed for Huddersfield, in between Harry Smith’s try, for a 10-6 half-time lead.

Jermaine McGilllvary edged Giants 14-12 back in front after Jai Field had gone over, but Marshall had the final say.

It was a fitting finish to a well-fought final which ebbed and flowed, but ultimately Wigan came out on top for their first Challenge Cup triumph since 2013.

The two sides came through contrasting semi-finals earlier this month, with Huddersfield comfortably despatching Hull KR while Wigan held off a valiant St Helens fightback to edge through.

The final was being played at Tottenham’s ground for the first time while Wembley is used for English Football League play-off matches this weekend.

Huddersfield’s football team will be aiming to make amends for the town on Sunday when they face Nottingham Forest in the Championship play-off final.

Peet answers the questions

Questions were raised last year when it was announced that Wigan academy coach Peet, who had never played professional and never been a head coach before, would replace Adrian Lam as the first-team boss.

But just three months into his tenure following the shock appointment, it has proven to be a masterstroke as he has brought back glory to the rugby league heavyweight outfit.

Wigan legends such as Ellery Hanley, Martin Offiah and Sam Tomkins have previously got their hands on the famous trophy and the current crop can now add their names to the illustrious list.

The Warriors are the top points scorers in Super League this season and will almost certainly be challengers for the Grand Final come the end of the campaign.

Though far from their fluent best in the showpiece, Peet has engrained a steely determination in the side with a never-say-die attitude.

And it was displayed again as they looked to be heading for defeat when time was running out before Marshall got on the end of Smith’s delightful grubber-kick to send the Wigan fans delirious.

Earlier in the game, scrum-half Smith had latched onto Morgan Smithies’ brilliant offload to touch down.

The in-form Field also had a say by giving his side the perfect start in the second period after Bevan French outstripped the Huddersfield backline.

Heartbreak for Huddersfield

The long wait for Huddersfield to win the Challenge Cup goes on. They last lifted the trophy back in 1953 and they got one hand on it this time before their late heartbreak.

Club stalwart McGillvary thought he had won it when he held off three defenders to burrow over in the corner from fellow academy product Leroy Cudjoe’s lay-off, but it was not quite enough.

The loss will be a difficult one to take for boss Ian Watson, who was also on the losing end by a mere two points for Salford against Leeds two years ago.

Liam Yates and Tui Lolohea also featured in that match and it will be the Giants full-back who will be left rueing the four missed kicks at goal in the match which proved decisive.

Leutele had earlier darted over before McQueen’s mesmerising dummy gave Huddersfield a 10-6 lead at the break, but ultimately they could not hold on.

Huddersfield: Hill, Levi, Wilson, McQueen, Jones, Yates, Cogger, Russell, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Leutele, I. Senior, Lolohea.

Replacements: English, Greenwood, Golding, Trout.

Wigan: Field, French, Thornley, Bibby, Marshall, Cust, Smith, Singleton, O’Neill, Byrne, Farrell, Bateman, Smithies.

Replacements: Leuluai, Mago, Ellis, Havard.

Referee: James Child


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