Warrington beat Hull to reach Challenge Cup final
Warrington will get the chance to right the wrongs of their Coral Challenge Cup final loss in 2018 after beating Hull to make this year’s showpiece.
The Wolves lost to the Catalans Dragons at Wembley last season but will go again in August after defeating Hull – their final conquerors in 2016 – 22-14 in their semi-final in Bolton.
Both sides could make a case for deserving victory but, on an afternoon of few chances, it was Warrington who took theirs to deny Hull a third Wembley appearance in four years.
Hull will now hope the Super League season can be kind to them, with their vast array of ball handlers unable to shine to their potential on a wet day in Lancashire.
Respecting the basics better than Hull did got Wire over the line, with a controlled kicking game and the cool head of Great Britain hopeful Blake Austin vital to keeping Hull at bay.
With heavy rain falling throughout at the University of Bolton Stadium, it was perhaps no surprise the game’s opening score came on the back of a handling error.
Hull winger Ratu Naulago failed to take in an short pass close to his own line seven metres in and Bryson Goodwin snapped up the chance to go in next to the corner flag.
Stefan Ratchford – back after two months out – missed the goal, and Warrington’s four-point lead was halved when Marc Sneyd slotted a penalty.
Better was to come for Hull too. Twenty-four minutes in, Naulago displayed outstanding footwork to beat Tom Lineham on his outside and, after he was hauled down, Albert Kelly’s pinpoint cross-field kick was collected by Bureta Faraimo who scored.
Sneyd missed the conversion but added a second penalty shortly after.
Warrington hit back with a second try, Ben Currie pouching and making good of Dec Patton’s kick on the back of a Jake Connor error, with Ratchford this time successful, while Sneyd failed with a long-range penalty on the half-time hooter.
Warrington were playing with greater control than Hull and on the 50-minute mark it showed. Connor’s forward pass gave them possession and with it, Austin found Toby King with a kick and he did the rest, Ratchford adding two more for a 16-8 lead.
On a wet day which did little to aid Hull’s raft of off-the-cuff ball handlers, clawing back such a deficit was always going to be tough and and it took a display off dogged determination from two of their forwards to get them going again.
Micky Paea’s run set them up close to the posts and from there Scott Taylor decided there would be no stopping him. Sneyd tagged the extras and there were two points in it.
Some more brilliance from Naulago allowed Hull to eventually force a drop-out with three and a half minutes left but another dropped ball cost them the chance of a glorious finish and, to compound their misery, Joe Westerman flapped at the ball under his own posts, allowing Joe Philbin to finish the job for Warrington.