Wolves see off Saints in their own backyard to set-up semi-final date


WARRINGTON Wolves moved within 80 minutes of a return to Wembley with a stunning 31-8 win at St Helens in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

The Wolves held a 7-6 lead at half-time and though they fell behind to Jon Bennison’s penalty goal early in the second half, they ran in four tries including a stunning Matty Ashton finish to set-up a semi-final tie with Huddersfield.

Warrington headed in to the match as underdogs, missing talismanic forward Paul Vaughan, but took the lead on 10 minutes when Josh Thewlis scored the opening try.

Konrad Hurrell’s converted score made it 6-4 to Saints, though the Wolves led at the break thanks to a Thewlis penalty goal and a George Williams drop goal shortly before the hooter.

Clever play by ex-Warrington hooker Daryl Clark earned Saints a penalty on 53 minutes and although it was wide out, Bennison opted to take the two and nudge them in front at 8-7.

However, those who were surprised by the call to take the two were vindicated when Jonny Lomax made an uncharacteristic error from the kick-off, taking the ball dead when he caught it, and that gifted Warrington an opportunity and they never looked back.

From the drop out, space was created down the left and Ashton surged to the corner, finishing acrobatically, one-handed for a spectacular try confirmed by the video referee.

Thewlis nailed the conversion and shortly after, Connor Wrench crossed to give Warrington breathing space. They were rampant, and they were only denied a third quickfire try by the video referee, who adjudged Ashton had made the slightest of knock ons in scoring what would have been another nice solo try.

But Warrington weren’t to be stopped and when James Harrison powered over from close range with 11 minutes to go, the game was all but done at 25-8.

The buoyant away support was given further reason to cheer when Matt Dufty’s searing break took him around Jack Welsby and though he lost his footing barely yards from the line Williams was on hand as back-up to finish the job.

St Helens: Welsby; Makinson, Hurrell, Blake, Bennison; Lomax, Dodd; Walmsley, Clark, Delaney, Sironen, Batchelor, Knowles. Interchanges: Mata’utia, Mbye, Bell, Whitley.

Warrington: Dufty; J Thewlis, King, Wrench, Ashton; Williams, Hayes; Harrison, Walker, Philbin, Nicholson, Fitzgibbon, Crowther. Interchanges: Bullock, Holroyd, Powell, Wood.


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Journalist and sport content specialist, who is also editor of Love Rugby League. Formerly ran the official website of the Carling Cup, as well as operating a digital services business in Warrington.

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