As we approach the 2019 Challenge Cup Final, who will hold their nerve and go all the way? At the time of writing, we’re at the semi-final stage, with the Warrington Wolves, Hull FC, St Helens and Halifax all in with a chance of lifting the coveted 36-inch tall solid silver trophy.
Let’s run you through the history of the competition, past winners, and who has the experience to prevail in a competition that Hull FC have won in two of the past three seasons.
If you fancy Hull to make it three in four seasons, you can enjoy a tempting price of 15/2 with most bookmakers at the moment. St Helens are the favourites to win it at 5/8, although it’s been 11 years since their last Challenge Cup triumph. It’s worth thinking about PayPal bookmakers as an option when looking to place your bet on the winner. It’s a really easy and convenient way to deposit and withdraw funds. Not only that, but it will only ever show up on your bank statement as a PayPal transaction, which is helpful if you’re going for a mortgage or something like that.
It was the Catalan Dragons who came out on top last season, winning 20-14 against the Warrington Wolves at Wembley. Warrington have actually finished runners up in two of the last three seasons, so it will be interesting to see if they have enough in the tank to go all the way this year. They’ve certainly got the experience of winning this competition, with no less than eight triumphs over the years.
As mentioned, Hull FC have won it twice in the last three years. You have to go back to 2005 to find another Hull win, but they’ve actually won this competition a total of five times and have been runners up 12 times. Write them off at your peril.
Halifax have also won it five times, but they’ve not tasted glory in the Challenge Cup since 1987, and you wonder if they’re going to fall just short yet again this year against better opposition.
Then there’s St Helens. The odds on favourites. They’ve won it 12 times, but not tasted glory since 2008. If they continue their good run of league form and carry over into the last four of this competition, it’ll be hard to bet against the Saints.
Who’s won the Challenge Cup the most?
Wigan by a mile. Ok, maybe not a mile. They’ve won it 19 times, whereas Leeds have won it 13 times. Wigan were humbled this year in the sixth round by Warrington. A good omen for the Wolves?
Challenge Cup Records
Will we see any records broken in the final this year? Never say never, but it will have to be an unbelievable final to find the record books.
Here are some impressive records that still stand to this day in Challenge Cup Finals:
- Most wins: Wigan with 19
- Most finals: Wigan with 30
- Highest winning score: Leeds Rhinos 52 – 16 London Broncos in 1999.
- Widest margin: Leeds Rhinos 50 – 0 Hull Kingston Rovers in 2015
- Biggest attendance: 102,569 Warrington v. Halifax (replay) at Odsal Stadium, Bradford in 1954
- Most tries: 5 by Tom Briscoe (Leeds Rhinos v Hull KR 2015)
- Most tries in all finals: 6 by Kevin Iro
- Most goals in all finals: 23 by Kevin Sinfield
People can look at history and trends to decide on who they think might win it this year, but what it will come down to is their form and performance on the day. Ok, so Hull have won it twice in three years. So what? That doesn’t really have any bearing on this year’s competition.
St Helens are clear favourites solely based on how well they’re performing this season and the fact they’ve drawn a Championship side in the semi-final. You’d expect them to get the final at the very least, but can Warrington or Hull upset the odds in August? Coach Justin Holbrook thinks that his St Helens side can handle the pressure.
We’re looking forward to watching it!