Monday, 31 July 2017

Challenge Cup Semi Finals Review

After the regular season ended last weekend, the Challenge Cup semi finals bridged the gap ahead of next week's opening round of the Super 8s.

Saturday afternoon saw the first semi final take place at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster with holders Hull FC extending their defence of the trophy with a 43-24 win over Leeds Rhinos.

Leeds struck first with a try from Ryan Hall  which Kallum Watkins converted but FC were level at 6-6 within four minutes as Marc Sneyd converted Albert Kelly's try. The sides exchanged tries again as Hall claimed his second ahead of a Carlos Tuimavave effort with Watkins and Sneyd converting for 12-12.

FC led 18-12 into the interval after Chris Green's try (Sneyd conv) and they took further control of the tie before the hour with Tuimavave's second score followed by a conversion and drop goal from Sneyd for 25-12. A self-converted try from Watkins cut the gap to 25-18 on the hour but scores from Liam Watts, Jamie Shaul and Scott Taylor saw Sneyd convert twice for a huge 43-18 lead. The final say on the score line went to Leeds with Ash Golding crossing in the 79th minute with Jordan Lilley converting.

I attended the second semi final which took place on Sunday at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington and saw Wigan Warriors win 27-14 against Salford Red Devils.

Wigan raced into a 12-0 lead inside 16 minutes as Oliver Gildart crossed ahead of a first try of the season from Willie Isa with George Williams converting twice. Salford were level within ten minutes as Greg Johnson and Junior Sa'u touched down with Michael Dobson converting both.

A double blow nine minutes before half-time for the Warriors saw Sam Tomkins sin-binned with Dobson giving Salford a 12-14 lead with the resulting penalty.

Wigan levelled with a penalty of their own from Williams on 55 minutes before he missed the chance to make it 16-14 with a penalty four minutes later. The tie turned on the hour as Michael McIlorum  crossed with Williams kicking for a 20-14 lead which became 21-14 six minutes later after Tomkins kicked a drop goal. Salford pushed hard to cut the gap but with a minute to go Wigan wrapped up the win as Gildart crossed for his second try which Williams converted.