19th September 2020, 16:29 | ChallengeCup
Current Coral Challenge Cup holders Warrington Wolves began the defence of their title in successful fashion with a 20-18 victory over St Helens, in a repeat of last year’s Final.
St Helens took an early 8-0 lead but three rapid tries from the Wire saw them take control of the game maintaining their lead throughout, despite Saints’ best efforts to mount a comeback in the closing stages.
Jonny Lomax opened the scoring after just six minutes. St Helens kept the ball alive with James Roby finding Mark Percival who did exceptionally well to flick onto a supporting Lomax to get the scoreboard ticking.
However, it was Warrington who would take a 16-8 lead into the break with three quickfire tries inside the final ten minutes of the first half.
Centre Anthony Gelling played a pivotal role as he climbed highest to take Blake Austin’s cross-field kick to get Warrington moving. Just moments later, Gelling turned provider with a beautifully timed offload to Josh Charnley who was presented with an open run to the try-line to give the Wolves the lead.
Flying full-back Matty Ashton would break just before the interval and race 70 metres to score and further Warrington’s advantage prior to the half-time hooter.
St Helens winger Regan Grace would go close in the early stages of the second half but couldn’t quite ground the ball under pressure from Blake Austin.
But the Welshman would make amends just a few minutes later as he took to the air to score a magnificent try in the corner. Lachlan Coote’s conversion narrowed the deficit to just two points heading into the final quarter of the game.
Gelling – who had already crossed and provided an assist – then handed Charnley another try in bizarre fashion as the ball ricocheted off his head and into the grateful arms of the winger who strolled over in the corner.
Kristian Woolf’s side refused to lie down however and Kevin Naiqama’s try with less than ten minutes remaining pulled Saints back within two points of the Wire. But, it was Steve Price’s side who held on to move into the last four of the competition.
Warrington Wolves: Matty Ashton, Jake Mamo, Toby King, Anthony Gelling, Josh Charnley; Blake Austin, Stefan Ratchford; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Jack Hughes, Jason Clark.
Interchanegs: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Joe Philbin, Matt Davis, Danny Walker.
St Helens: Lachlan Coote, Jack Welsby, Kevin Naiqama, Mark Percival, Regan Grace; Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages; Alex Walmsley, James Roby, James Graham, Zeb Taia, James Bentley, Morgan Knowles.
Interchanges: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Matty Lees, Kyle Amor, Aaron Smith.
St Helens Tries: Lomax, Grace, Naiqama
St Helens Goals: Coote (3)
Warrington Tries: Gelling, Charnley (2), Ashton,
Warrington Goals: Ratchford (2)
Referee: Chris Kendall