Challenge Cup review: Wins for Warrington and Wigan

Josh Charnley and Warrington celebrate
Josh Charnley and Warrington celebrate

A review of the action in the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

Ladbrokes Challenge Cup sixth-round results

Thursday May 10

  • Featherstone 20-38 Hull FC

Friday May 11

  • Leigh 22-10 Salford
  • Huddersfield 24-14 Wakefield
  • Widnes 20-23 Leeds

Saturday May 12

  • Castleford 18-36 St Helens
  • Catalans Dragons 56-10 Whitehaven

Sunday May 13

  • Hull KR 10-28 Wigan
  • Toronto 10-66 Warrington

Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final draw

  • St Helens v Hull FC
  • Leeds v Leigh
  • Huddersfield v Catalans Dragons
  • Warrington v Wigan

Ties played on weekend of June 2-3

Sunday review

Toronto paid a heavy price for their indiscipline as Warrington overturned an early 8-0 deficit to run out 66-10 winners in an ugly Ladbrokes Challenge Cup sixth round tie.

The Canadian outfit were poised to spring an upset when they scored two tries in the opening 14 minutes but it all went badly wrong after they had one player sent off and three other players sin-binned.

Second rower Andrew Dixon was dismissed after 38 minutes for punching while winger Liam Kay was given a yellow for a dangerous throw and captain Josh McCrone and prop Darcy Lussick were both sin-binned for dissent.

At one time the Wolfpack were down to 10 men and Warrington showed no mercy, handing Toronto their heaviest defeat in their brief history.

The Super League team were trailing 10-6 at the time of Dixon's dismissal but they went on to grab the lead on the stroke of half-time and ran amok in the second half with 10 tries, three of them from winger Tom Lineham.

Warrington, who won at Wembley three times in four years from 2009-12, have now won their last 10 matches to step up their bid for a league and cup double but their performance will be overshadowed by a series of unsavoury episodes.

Toronto prop Jake Emmitt claimed to referee Ben Thaler that he had been bitten on the arm while former Warrington favourite Ashton Sims was ordered back on to the field to receive a lecture for foul play after being substituted.

Kay was the first to receive a yellow card after 28 minutes for a dangerous throw on Charnley and he was ready to return when Dixon was shown a red card for a punch on Harvey Livett.

Toronto, who went into the game on the back of an 11-match winning run stretching back to February, had earlier looked every inch a Super League team in the making.

Full-back Gareth O'Brien was the architect of both tries on his return to the Halliwell Jones Stadium, providing the crisp, inch-perfect passes for Adam Higson and Kay to touch down.

The scores were too far out for Ryan Brierley to convert but the scrum-half was on target with a 36th-minute penalty that kept his side ahead at 10-6.

England prop Mike Cooper had scored Warrington's opening try, bouncing off a defender and crashing through, and the home side turned the game on its head with a flurry of tries either side of half-time as Toronto lost their composure.

The Wolves drew level a minute before the break when Stefan Ratchford got Charnley over at the corner and Goodwin's touchline conversion put them ahead for the first time.

Warrington stepped up a gear at the start of the second half as the impressive Daryl Clark combined with Kevin Brown to get Livett over before substitute Ben Murdoch-Masila took Tyrone Roberts' short pass to crash over.

The Wolfpack's frustration boiled over as McCrone and Lussick were yellow-carded for dissent and Warrington took full advantage.

Jack Hughes finished off a break from Clark, veteran Ben Westwood proved unstoppable from 10 metres out, Lineham outpaced Higson on a touchline dash and Hughes worked Roberts over.

Lineham, Murdoch-Masila and Charnley all added their second tries and Lineham completed his hat-trick in the final move of the match, with Goodwin finishing with nine goals from 12 attempts.

Danny Tickle was sent off as 19-times winners Wigan Warriors reached the quarter-finals with a 28-10 victory over Hull KR at KCOM Craven Park.

The veteran forward's dismissal against one of his former clubs by referee Chris Kendall left Rovers to play the entire second half with 12 men.

Tickle, 35, reacted with an apparent punch after clashing with Warriors second row John Bateman in the final set before the interval hooter.

Bateman was sin-binned for his part in the flare-up and, with calm eventually restored, Rovers were awarded a penalty for the first offence.

Rovers also had full-back Adam Quinlan yellow carded for preventing Sam Tomkins, who finished with 12 points, taking a quick 20-metres re-start.

The hosts, who had never won a home Challenge Cup tie against their visitors and missing 13 players, handed a debut to former Skirlaugh amateur Elliot Wallis just three days after his 18th birthday.

Wigan's 17 included Joel Tomkins, making his 250th career appearance, plus Sam Powell and Dan Sarginson both celebrating 150 appearances apiece.

Josh Woods, making his competition debut for the Warriors, set Shaun Wane's side on the way to the last eight with an 11th minute try converted by Tomkins.

Rovers responded through Woods' former Swinton half back partner Chris Atkin 10 minutes later, although Ryan Shaw missed the conversion.

Winger Liam Marshall restored Wigan's lead with Tomkins failing from the kicking tee.

Quinlan's professional foul after 28 minutes hardly helped Rovers' cause, though they enjoyed a let-off when Liam Farrell's try was chalked off for Oliver Gildart's forward pass.

The tie seemingly tipped Wigan's way with the flashpoint between Tickle and Bateman.

Instead Rovers, missing the likes of Danny McGuire, Justin Carney and Shaun Lunt, hit back after the re-start.

Centre Junior Vaivai touched down after 50 minutes. Shaw missed his second conversion but was on target with a 57th-minute penalty to obtain parity at 10-10.

Suddenly an upset looked on the cards, but thanks to Tomkins, Super League's second-placed side eased the passage towards another Wembley final.

The former New Zealand Warrior grabbed Wigan's third try after 62 minutes, tagged on the goal and then left Hull KR two scores adrift with a 66th-minute penalty.

Rovers, whose gritty performance belied their injury problems, continued to ask problems of Wigan's defence only to lose prop Robbie Mulhern with a game ending leg injury.

Wigan finally made their extra man pay with late tries from Tony Clubb and Tom Davies.

Saturday review

Ben Barba provided another masterclass to take St Helens a step closer to Wembley following a 36-18 win over Castleford in the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

The Australian full-back scored three tries - to add to his Super League tally of 15 - and created two others as Saints helped erase the memory of their humiliating 53-10 defeat at Castleford in last year's corresponding tie.

St Helens are a shadow of the side that struggled under Keiron Cunningham and, although most of the credit for the transformation should go to his successor Justin Holbrook on the anniversary of his appointment, the Barba effect cannot be over-stated.

His electric pace, dazzling footwork and eye for an opening proved has proved to be a lethal cocktail for Super League defences this year and Castleford certainly had no answer to his array of brilliant skills.

The Tigers did not perform that badly and only two long-range tries, both against the run of play, separated the teams at half-time - but they have still to recapture their sparkle of 2017.

St Helens fans taunted the home side by chanting "one-season wonders" and Daryl Powell's men have certainly been hit hard by the absence of an injured Luke Gale, the reigning Man of Steel, and are still sorely missing last year's runner-up Zak Hardaker.

If Hardaker and Gale were the stars of 2017, then the Saints duo of Barba and Danny Richardson have stepped very nicely into their shoes.

Scrum-half Richardson could yet receive a call-up for England's mid-season international after producing another highly-encouraging display, highlighted by a 16-point haul from a try and six goals.

But he was always going to lose out on the man-of-the-match award to Barba, who reacted smartly to get winger Regan Grace away for the opening try after 15 minutes, collecting the ball from Jamie Ellis' kick five metres from his own line.

And the dashing Aussie repeated the feat nine minutes before half-time, pouncing on a loose ball in virtually the same position on the field and this time went on his own, holding off a spirited chase from winger Jy Hitchcox to touch down at the corner.

Richardson kicked one conversion and a penalty to provide the only other points of the first half as Saints led 12-0 and the game was quickly put beyond the hosts early in the second half.

The visitors gained possession from the kick-off when Richardson's re-start went dead and, after Dominique Peyroux had been tackled short of the line, Barba stretched out of a two-man tackle to plant the ball on it for his second try.

Richardson's third goal increased his side's lead to 18-0 but substitute Jacob Trueman grabbed a lifeline for Castleford when he evaded the tackle of Morgan Knowles to score a solo try after 47 minutes.

Barba then drew two defenders and sent centre Ryan Morgan through a gap for Saints' fourth try four minutes later before the Tigers struck again, creating an overlap for right winger Greg Minikin to take Michael Shenton's pass and cross at the corner.

Ellis kicked a second conversion, this time from the touchline, but the Saints' lead was never seriously threatened and Richardson capped a superb individual performance with a solo try after 62 minutes to put more daylight between the sides.

Barba then added the icing to Saints' cake by wrong-footing a host of defenders to complete his hat-trick before England second rower Mike McMeeken scored a consolation last-minute try for the hosts.

Catalans Dragons outclassed a spirited Whitehaven to advance to the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-finals with a 56-10 victory on Saturday.

Jodie Broughton scored a hat-trick of tries, while Mickael Goudemand had a debut to remember with a brace as Super League quality told against League 1 Whitehaven.

Vincent Duport also touched down late on to score his 86th try for Catalans and move level with Clint Greenshields as their all-time leading try-scorers.

Iain Thornley, Mickael Simon, Sam Moa, Benjamin Jullien and Jason Baitieri all returned to the starting 13 for Catalans in place of Brayden Williame, Remi Casty, Julian Bousquet, Louis Anderson and Greg Bird.

Whitehaven travelled to Perpignan in good spirits, despite a 25-22 defeat at home to North Wales last weekend, and also made changes, Jessie Joe Parker and James Tilley starting in place of Chris Taylor and Lewis Brown, who both dropped to the bench.

The hosts were quickly out of the traps, Samisoni Langi retrieving a loose ball before Broughton touched down in the right corner. Josh Drinkwater missed the conversion attempt.

Whitehaven were struggling to settle and Broughton got in again in the fourth minute to score a carbon-copy of his first try. Drinkwater again saw his conversion attempt drift wide as the score remained 8-0.

Catalans had their third try inside the opening 10 minutes, Michael McIlorum darting over from short range for his first try of the season. Drinkwater again failed to add the extras.

From the restart a Drinkwater knock-on gifted Whitehaven the opportunity to attack the Catalans line.

The ball was sent out to the left and Parker charged over the top of Lewis Tierney to score. Dan Abram added the conversion to halve the deficit.

That score breathed life into Whitehaven, who found their footing and worked their way into the game.

In the 19th minute, the ball was again worked out to the left to David Thompson, who dived over in the corner. Abram's conversion attempt hit a post, but the underdogs were back within two points.

But that was as close as they got as Drinkwater and Goudemand both touched down from short range before the break, with Drinkwater adding both goals to give the hosts a 24-10 lead at half-time.

Antoni Maria extended the Catalans' lead eight minutes into the second half, Drinkwater's conversion giving the Super League outfit a 20-point advantage.

On the hour, Tony Gigot sent Julian Bousquet over from close in before Goudemand scored his second of the day.

Drinkwater, who had now clearly found his range, converted both efforts to take the score to 42-10.

Catalans were in no mood to let up and Broughton sealed his hat-trick with 13 minutes remaining, although this time Drinkwater was unable to add the conversion from close to the touchline.

There was still time for Duport to bring up his record-equalling try and with it the half-century of points for Catalans, Drinkwater adding the goal.

Gigot followed up Alrix Da Costa's break to round off the scoring.

Friday review

Leeds half-back Richie Myler made a scoring return to his hometown club as the Rhinos did enough to push past Widnes 23-20 in the sixth round of the Challenge Cup.

Myler scored a try and an innovative drop goal as the 13-time winners booked their place in the hat, but they were made to dig deep for the result as Widnes came close to pulling off a shock comeback.

Brian McDermott's side did make hard work of it and only led 11-4 at the break, but three quickfire tries from Matt Whitley, Alex Gerrard and Charley Runciman were nearly enough to turn the tables on the Rhinos.

It was the Vikings who were the quickest out of the blocks and they very nearly registered four points on two separate occasions as Matt Whitley and then Greg Burke went close.

The Rhinos were still finding their feet when they were reduced to 12 men after 14 minutes as Widnes centre Runciman carved a well-worked opening through the Rhinos middle which resulted in Ashton Golding being sin-binned for lying on.

However, the try came at a cost as Carl Ablett went over awkwardly on his ankle in the build-up and was carried from the field of play, impacting McDermott's options from the bench.

The Rhinos confirmed the injury was not serious but played into McDermott's pre-match concerns over the Vikings' artificial surface.

Widnes thought they had hit back as Ryan Ince got on the end of Gilmore's finely weighted kick through, but that effort was chalked off for offside.

Leeds were soon back in charge as Stevie Ward walked through three Vikings defenders and then delivered a beautiful inside ball to Rhinos poacher Myler for a classy score.

Widnes did finally cross through Matty Whitley as the backline shifted the ball from one side to the other for the onrushing second-rower to burst over.

Tom Gilmore missed the conversion but Widnes were back in it.

But Leeds would not be outdone and as they piled the pressure on the home side. Myler smashed a one-pointer over three minutes from half-time as the Rhinos looked to score again from the restart.

It nearly paid off too as Briscoe kicked through for Walker but the full-back could not ground.

It did not take long for Leeds to go over and Ash Handley laid a try on for Golding to bustle his way over and make amends for his first-half yellow card.

Ward saw off two Widnes tackles to spin over but Whitley fought back for Widnes with a deserved solo score to give them a flicker of hope at 23-10.

The Vikings kept up the momentum and Gerrard was next to benefit from a Leeds mistake and all of a sudden it was game on as Runciman raced over from Hanbury's inside ball.

Rookie Widnes wing Ince went close for Denis Betts' side nine minutes from the hooter, which would have given his side the lead for the first time, but Leeds recovered.

The Vikings looked the likeliest to grab the game-winning score and they should have when Aaron Heremaia went over, but the Kiwi full-back dropped the ball on the line.

Leeds recovered, with Myler finding the inspiration and game management to make the tie safe for his side.

Huddersfield are through to the quarter-finals thanks to a 24-14 victory over Wakefield.

Ukuma Ta'ai scored one and created another of the hosts' four tries as the Giants put aside their struggling league form to knock out Trinity at John Smith's Stadium.

Adam O'Brien, Matty English and Lee Gaskell also crossed for Huddersfield and Danny Brough kicked four goals, while Mason Caton-Brown and Ryan Hampshire scored tries for the visitors.

It was a winning send-off for interim coach Chris Thorman ahead of Huddersfield's new head coach Simon Woolford taking charge.

Wakefield made the better start to the game and took the lead in the fifth minute. Caton-Brown pounced on Jacob Miller's grubber-kick to the corner, although it was too far out for Liam Finn to land the conversion.

After Huddersfield's Paul Clough was held up over the tryline, Finn found his range from a penalty to nudge his side 6-0 ahead in the 12th minute.

But the home side drew level in fortuitous circumstances four minutes later.

O'Brien's long pass close to the Trinity tryline was almost intercepted by Tom Johnstone, but the ball instead bobbled out of the winger's grasp and into his side's in-goal area for the grateful O'Brien to touch down.

But with the big Wakefield pack starting to gain the upper hand, a stretched Giants defence conceded a succession of penalties, which culminated in Kruise Leeming being sent to the sin-bin.

Finn landed the subsequent penalty to take his side back into the lead, with only desperate last-ditch Giants defending preventing Keegan Hirst from adding Wakefield's second try and providing them with more than their narrow two-point advantage at half-time.

But five minutes after the restart England academy prop English powered his way through for his first senior score, and Brough converted to take the Giants into the lead for the first time.

Huddersfield extended their advantage when Jake Mamo took play to the line and fed the onrushing Ta'ai to crash over.

The hosts then tightened their grip on the contest even further with 15 minutes remaining when Ta'ai burst clear and served a try on a plate for Gaskell to cross for another converted try.

Hampshire went over in the corner two minutes later and Finn landed the conversion to bring the gap back to 10 points, but Huddersfield held on.

Leigh made it a hat-trick of Challenge Cup victories over Super League Salford with a 22-10 triumph at the Sports Village.

The Centurions conceded two tries in the first 12 minutes but recovered superbly to follow up their cup victories over the Red Devils in 2001 and 2015 and extend their winning run to 10 matches.

All three cup victories have been as a second-tier club but this latest success was no shock, with Leigh pressing strongly for an immediate return to Super League following relegation last September.

Full-back Peter Mata'utia, stand-off Ben Reynolds and evergreen forward Harrison Hansen were all a handful for Salford, who failed to make the most of a perfect start and faded badly in the second half.

The Centurions were without former Salford hooker Liam Hood, which meant a starting spot for 37-year-old Micky Higham and he rolled back the years to give his side impetus from dummy half.

Yet the home side could hardly have made a worst start, with prop Jamie Acton knocking the ball on inside the first set, which gave Salford the position for scrum-half Jack Littlejohn to get full-back Niall Evalds over for the first try.

Leigh's defence looked fragile at the start and Salford's enterprise in running a penalty from in front of the posts paid off when second rower George Griffin powered his way over a second try.

Jake Shorrocks converted's Griffin's try to make it 10-0 but Leigh gradually worked their way into the game and hit the front with two tries in four minutes.

Mata'utia opened up the Red Devils defence with a jinking run to get Reynolds over for the first while former Salford favourite Hansen used his brute force to add a second.

Reynolds converted both to make it 12-10 and he might have extended their lead with a third try but for a last-ditch tackle by Junior Sa'u.

Both sides tightened their defence in the second quarter, which was scoreless, and it was the Championship side that struck first in the second half.

Scrum-half Drew Hutchison was held up over the line but Leigh maintained the pressure and substitute hooker Daniel Mortimer, on his first appearance for three months, forced his way past a couple of wrong-footed defenders from dummy half for a 49th-minute try.

Reynolds kicked his third goal to extend the lead to 18-10 and, oozing confidence as the Red Devils lost their composure, the Centurions piled on the pressure with prop Ryan Bailey held up over the line and Mata'utia brought down just short of it.

The harder Salford tried to get back into the contest, the worse they became and Hutchison finally put them out of their misery with Leigh's fourth try four minutes from the end.

Thursday review

Holders Hull FC breezed through to the quarter-finals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup with a 38-20 victory over part-timers Featherstone but it came at a cost.

Already without a trio of front-row forwards and three senior half-backs because of injury, the Black and Whites lost prop Josh Bowden after only eight minutes. They also saw makeshift stand-off Carlos Tuimavave and winger Fetuli Talanoa also hobble off long before the end of a feisty sixth-round tie.

Six players were sin-binned, including Hull match-winner Jake Connor, and two-try winger Bureta Faraimo was sent off as the match threatened to spin out of the control of referee Scott Mikalauskas amid a series of ugly incidents.

Bureta Faraimo scores Hull FC's seventh try against Featherstone
Bureta Faraimo scores Hull FC's seventh try against Featherstone

Rovers' hopes of repeating their giant-killing act in the 1983 final at Wembley were dashed after a shocking start, but winger Luke Briscoe had something to celebrate as he touched down for the 17th successive match to equal the world record set by Eric Harris playing for Leeds in 1936.

Rovers were already trailing 30-4 by the time the prolific Briscoe, younger brother of Leeds winger Tom, took Anthony Thackeray's pass and produced an acrobatic finish to claim his 27th try of the season four minutes before half-time.

Briscoe took his tally to 28 when he finished off another enterprising Rovers attacking move six minutes into the second half and Martyn Ridyard kicked a second touchline conversion to make it 30-16, but the Championship side had left themselves too much to do.

Full-back Thackeray had earlier scored Featherstone's opening try to atone for two defensive blunders after Connor highlighted his fallibility under the high ball.

It was straightforward for the visitors from the fifth minute when in-form centre Josh Griffin scattered defenders on a trademark midfield burst and Connor took a return pass to score the opening try.

Second rower Sika Manu used his brute strength to go over for Hull's second try while a slick pass from Joe Westerman put Connor over for his second try as the holders established an 18-0 lead inside 13 minutes.

A 40-20 kick from stand-off Ridyard created the position for Thackeray to go over and Featherstone were attacking once more when their passing broke down and full-back Jamie Shaul scooped up the loose ball to race 80 metres for an opportunist try.

The impressive Griffin then crashed through some soft defence for a deserved try courtesy of another clever pass from Connor, who was also the architect for the first of Faraimo's two tries 13 minutes into the second half.

That ended any prospect of a realistic comeback and Rovers suffered a blow after 56 minutes when Briscoe was sin-binned for lying on in the tackle after halting Shaul's dangerous run.

Against 12 men, Faraimo went 95 metres for his second try after pouncing on a loose ball and Briscoe was just returning from the bin when forward John Davies became the second Featherstone player to receive a yellow card for a high tackle on Jez Litten.

Although well beaten, Rovers battled to the end and Josh Hardcastle had a try disallowed before former England forward Gareth Hock grabbed a consolation score five minutes from the end.

The game had descended into farce by then, with Featherstone prop Brad Knowles and the Hull trio of Danny Washbrook, Shaul and Connor all shown yellow cards before Faraimo was sent off in the last minute for a late tackle on Thackeray as the visitors finished with nine men.

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