Warrington 39-26 Wigan

Warrington Wolves booked their place in the Challenge Cup final for the first time since 1990 with a pulsating 39-26 victory over Wigan Warriors.

In front of a sold-out Stobart Stadium the Wolves ran up a 28-8 half-time lead.

The Warriors got back to within six points in the second half but a drop goal from Lee Briers and a try from Chris Hicks settled matters.

Warrington had the early pressure and Ben Westwood brushed off the tackle of Thomas Leuluai to cross; the try, however, was ruled out by the video referee due to an obstruction in the build up.

The Warriors went on the attack and gained a penalty when Adrian Morely obstructed George Carmont as Pat Richards was attacking down the left wing.

From the penalty the ball was moved rightwards towards Phil Bailey, who stepped and went over the line beneath the posts, Richards adding the conversion.

Wigan’s lead was extended when Richards kicked a penalty awarded for offside, but Warrington refused to lie down and attacked the Warriors line with quick hands and strong running.

That pressure paid off when Matt King got himself over the line – Chris Bridge converting to cut the gap to a mere two points – and the Wolves soon went into the lead.

Briers’ cross-field kick was fumbled by Amos Roberts under pressure from kick, and the loose ball was touched down by Louis Anderson, Bridge’s goal making the score 12-8.

A third try quickly followed: a penalty gave Warrington field position and with Bailey on the sidelines with a twisted ankle Briers found the space to reach out and score, Bridge adding the extras.

The Wolves proved themselves emphatically in control of proceedings when Mike Cooper touched down, shrugging off the tackle of Mark Flanagan to cross, Bridge converting once more.

Wigan tried in vain to respond: Andy Coley was held up over the line and from the restart the Warriors lost control of the ball which rolled harmlessly over the touch line.

Instead Warrington added yet another try to the score, Michael Monaghan slicing through the Wigan defence and sending a high pass to King who found enough space to score.

The second half began with a Warriors scoring opportunity, but the video referee rightly ruled that Carmont was in touch; besides which, Richards appeared to have knocked on in the build up.

The Wolves extended their advantage when Monagahan was held up over the line, and from the 10m restart Briers sent a kick to the left wing which was plucked out of the air by King, who touched down for his hat trick.

Wigan hit back for the first time however, a chip kick was knocked down by Roberts for Sam Tomkins to get over the line, Richards’ goal making the score 32-14 in the Wolves’ favour.

Another Warriors try followed a short delay for a head injury to Chris Riley: excellent handling saw Andy Coley cross, Richards converting,

The comeback really was on the cards when Leuluai squeezed through the defence to score, Richards again adding the extras and cutting the deficit to a mere six points.

Warrington, however, regained the initiative when Briers, under pressure, kicked a drop goal to extend the lead to seven points.

And the victory was sealed when Hicks found the space out wide to race over at the corner, Bridge converting from the touch line in fron of the ecstatic Warrington fans.

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