Trophy winner Lance Todd Niall Evalds and Jake Trueman had helped the Tigers take a six-point lead at halftime, but St Helens fought back with tries from James Roby, Tommy Makinson and Kyle Amor after the break for lift the trophy
By Marc Bazeley
Last updated: 07/19/21 9:56 a.m.
A second-half retaliation from St Helens saw them win the Challenge Cup for the first time since 2008 with a 26-12 victory over Castleford Tigers in the final at Wembley.
The Saints took advantage of an early period of pressure to take the lead thanks to a converted try from Theo Fages, but the Tigers responded with scintillating attacking play to lead 12-6 at halftime thanks to the winner of the Lance Todd Niall Evalds trophy and converted scores of Jake Trueman.
However, the defending Super League champions took the initiative in the second half, with tries from James Roby, Tommy Makinson and Kyle Amor as well as kicks from Lachlan Coote secured victory for Kristian’s side. Woolf.
Both teams advanced to the final in a bid to end the long droughts since they last won the trophy, while Castleford – the last winners at Wembley in 1986 – also had the motivation to want to donate. to Daryl Powell a major trophy to retire with before he joins Warrington Wolves. next season.
This was not the case, despite the brilliant efforts of full-back Evalds, who joined Frank Whitcombe, Robbie Paul, Gary Connolly and Kevin Sinfield to be named player of the match in a Challenge Cup final despite having ended on defeat. team.
Head coach Powell has made several changes to the provisional Castleford squad announced on Friday, with mainstay Grant Millington being awarded a place in his starting XI after missing the final loss to Leeds Rhinos in 2014 with a problem knee – barely returned from a similar match. injury.
St Helens, however, lined up as planned, with Joe Batchelor taking the second row spot that would have gone to Sione Mata’utia had he not been ruled out by suspension.
An early offside penalty allowed the Saints to gain the upper hand and pressure in the 10th minute when Jonny Lomax gave a kick that escaped Oliver Holmes, bouncing off the post padding and sitting down perfectly for Fages to dive in and finish, giving coote a simple conversion.
Castleford responded with a combination of intense defense and some of their trademark inventive attacking play, unlocking the Saints’ defense six minutes later with a right-sided attack that was started and ended by Evalds.
Full-back freed three-quarterbacks Peter Mata’utia and, as the defense closed in, he gave a perfectly weighted top kick that Evalds followed to finish, followed by Gaz O’Brien who successfully converted.
Then Trueman gave Cas the advantage in the 25th minute, passing Fages to retrieve the ball in the air on partner half-back O’Brien’s kick and finished below the posts.
Intensity levels didn’t drop for the rest of the half-time, but neither team were able to score before the break and while the Tigers arguably finished strongest, they are the champions. back-to-back Super League games that were the fastest to break out of blocks when play resumed.
St Helens returned to an even level just three minutes after the start of the second half, but only after a lengthy review from video referee Chris Kendall examining possible offside from an in-play kick, any hint of a Mark Percival kick and whether Regan Grace was in contact in his attempt to keep the ball alive was Roby’s try – the only member of the last St Helens Challenge Cup winning team to still playing for the club – confirmed.
There was no doubt about the veracity of Makinson’s 51st minute try and it was created by last year’s Super League Grand Final hero Jack Welsby, who picked up a loose ball and went from left to right, pulling in defense before settling down. the winger for a signature dive finish in the corner.
Full-back Coote, who will move Hull to Kingston Rovers next season, held the scoreboard with two penalties as the pressure began to be felt on Castleford and the victory was sealed two minutes from time when the mainstay of Cumbria Amor made his way under the posts.