Challenge Cup final: Hull FC 0-16 Wigan Warriors

Hull FC (0) 0

Wigan Warriors (6) 16

  • Tries: Thornley, S Tomkins
  • Goals: Richards 4

Wigan were made to fight for a record 19th Challenge Cup final victory as they finally saw off a hard-working Hull FC at a rain-soaked Wembley.

Warriors centre Iain Thornley, on 21 minutes, and full-back Sam Tomkins, in the last minute, scored the only tries of an error-strewn contest.

Pat Richards converted both and kicked two penalties as Hull's curse of never having won at Wembley continued.

Wigan's Matty Smith was voted man of the match to win the Lance Todd Trophy.

The scrum-half became the 15th Wigan player to win the coveted award, following in the footsteps of club legends such as Martin Offiah, Dean Bell and Jason Robinson, as he helped the Warriors win the cup for the second time in three years.

Hull had last lifted the trophy when they beat Leeds at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in 2005 but recent history between the Airlie Birds and Wigan pointed to a Warriors win.

Drawing a crowd

Wigan's 28-24 win over Hull FC in the 1985 Wembley final was watched by a crowd of 99,801 - the highest Challenge Cup final attendance at the stadium.

The Cherry and Whites had beaten the Black and Whites in their last eight league meetings, while Wigan sit four places - and nine points - above Hull in the Super League table.

Yet Hull showed just what they are capable of by overturning Warrington in the semi-finals. And, at the first wet Wembley final in 18 years, the potential for spills in the slippery conditions made the outcome even harder to call.

But in a game effectively ruined by the weather, a 16-point winning margin - and the first Wembley 'nilling' since Wigan did it to St Helens in 1989 - was tough on Hull, for whom too many key players, notably Daniel Holdsworth and Jacob Miller, treated the ball like a bar of soap.

For all the handling errors, it was still a battle right from the first hooter when Richards handed Hull a psychological lift by launching his kick-off straight into touch.

Wigan had the better of the first half in terms of possession and territory as Hull, who missed England forward and captain Gareth Ellis for much of the game after picking up an early rib injury, were let down by their handling at too many key moments.

Wigan win

Wigan Warriors' Sam Tomkins beats Hull FC's Jamie Shaul to score a last-minute try at Wembley

But, despite several close shaves, notably when referee Phil Bentham ruled that the try-scenting Richards had not grounded the ball behind the line, the Warriors only had one try to show for it.

That came on 21 minutes when young centre Thornley picked up a loose throw 20 yards out, threw a dummy and touched down in the left corner, his 19th try in 30 appearances, Richards adding the extras.

Scrum-half Smith was just wide with a cheeky drop-goal attempt from the last kick of the half, but he was then also involved in the incident that allowed Wigan to stretch their lead to 8-0 within three minutes of the resumption.

Wane's Wembley

Wigan coach Shaun Wane's one and only Wembley appearance came 25 years ago when he came off the bench to play a part in the Cherry and Whites' 32-12 victory over Halifax - the first of their eight straight Cup final victories.

Smith was caught late by Richard Whiting after his deft chip through for Scott Taylor and, although the Wigan replacement forward was stopped on the line, referee Bentham brought the play back to give Richards the penalty in front of the posts.

Hull then suddenly looked like they were about to get on the scoresheet 10 minutes into the second half when, from inside his own 22, full-back Jamie Shaul jinked his way through and headed for the left corner hot in pursuit of what looked like being one of Wembley's great tries.

However, Wigan winger Josh Charnley got back at full gallop to not only overhaul him but remove the ball from his grasp to win back possession and prevent what had seemed a certain try.

And, on 62 minutes, Wigan stretched their lead to 10-0 when Aaron Heremaia gave away a penalty and Richards fired his third successful kick via the left upright.

Hull's Challenge Cup joy

Hull's three previous Challenge Cup wins came at Thrum Hall, Halifax (against Wakefield in 1914), Elland Road, Leeds (against Widnes in a replay after a draw at Wembley, in 1982) and against Leeds at the Millennium Stadium in 2005.

Despite the loss of centre Darrell Goulding on a stretcher, Wigan maintained their composure, their red-and-white wall of a defence remaining unbreachable for the entire 80 minutes.

There was even the extra tonic of a second try in the dying seconds when the artful Tomkins jinked his way through to match brother Joel's Wembley try in 2011.

Richards added the goal to take his tally for the afternoon to eight points - and 100 in this competition - a fitting farewell for the Australian winger in his final Challenge Cup appearance before returning down under at the end of the season.

Whether Tomkins, linked with moves to rugby union and Australia's NRL, will also be playing his rugby on the other side of the world next season remains to be seen.

VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Hull FC coach Peter Gentle told BBC Sport:

"It's a bitter pill to come here and play like that on the big stage.

"I was relieved to go in only 6-0 down at half-time thinking that we couldn't play any worse in the second half, but the boys proved me wrong.

"We play Wigan again in the league next Friday night and we'll have to use the same game plan again, as the one we had planned certainly didn't get used today.

"Wigan handled the conditions better than we did. We just had too much of a tendency to panic."

Wigan coach Shaun Wane told BBC Sport:

"We had six players out there who probably wouldn't have played if it had been a normal Super League game, but we showed what character we have at this club.

"We won the League Leaders' Shield last season and got slaughtered for it and we've been written off the last few weeks, so to come here and win at Wembley is tremendous.

"I've always the emphasised to the players just how important this trophy is to our club and how proud we are of our history.

"But I can't quite put into words just how proud I am of the players today. We made errors too but we just seemed to manage it a bit better. And the thing that pleased me most was getting the 'nil'."

SATURDAY'S LINE-UPS

Hull: Shaul, Crookes, Crooks, Yeaman, T. Briscoe, Holdsworth, Miller, O'Meley, Houghton, Watts, Ellis, Tickle, Westerman.

Replacements: Whiting, Lynch, Heremaia, Pitts.

Wigan: S. Tomkins, Charnley, Goulding, Thornley, Richards, Green, Smith, Flower, McIlorum, Mossop, Hansen, Farrell, O'Loughlin.

Replacements: Dudson, Taylor, Tuson, L. Tomkins.

Att: 78,137

Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington)