Favourites Wigan were dumped out
of the Challenge Cup in an action-packed quarter-final at the Boulevard.
New-look Hull, bolstered by the bulk of last year's successful Gateshead
Thunder outfit, fully deserved their first semi-final appearance for 12
years after outplaying the Warriors for long periods of an absorbing
And it was former Gateshead favourite Will Robinson, in tandem with
17-year-old scrum-half Richard Horne, who did most to snuff out the threat
of the former Cup kings with a wonderfully industrious display.
Wigan looked to have weathered the storm when they cut Hull's lead to
just 8-4 10 minutes into the second half but super-sub Wayne McDonald came
up with the match-winner 15 minutes from the end to maintain his record of
scoring in every match so far this season.
Fellow replacement Stanley Gene had been held just short of the line
before towering front rower McDonald, a close-season signing from
Wakefield, plunged through for the try that gives Hull a glorious
opportunity of rekindling their Cup-winning days of the early Eighties.
Wigan were fortunate to be trailing by only six points at the interval
after being outplayed for long periods by Shaun McRae's men.
Horne produced an outstanding first-half performance in his duel with
former Gateshead schemer Willie Peters to repeatedly find chinks in the
Wigan armoury and, with livewire hooker Mick Jenkins and the experienced
Robinson causing further havoc, Wigan full-back Kris Radlinski was the
busiest man on the field.
Wigan drew first blood with an Andy Farrell penalty after Hull loose
forward David Maiden dropped on the ball in an offside position in front
of his own posts after team-mate Paul Broadbent had spilled a pass.
Hull drew level with Ben Sammut's eighth-minute penalty after Jenkins
had been brought down a foot short of the line by Radlinski and they went
ahead with a delightful try from Maiden, who supported a break by
Robinson, and Sammut's goal made it 8-2.
Hull thought they had scored again when centre Steve Collins burst
clear to send Robinson over but referee Russell Smith called for
confirmation from the video referee and slow-motion replays showed that
the stand-off had lost control of the ball over the line.
Despite being under the cosh, Wigan had their moments, with Terry
Newton losing the ball as he reached out for the line and former
Australian Test centre Steve Renouf missing a glorious chance after
intercepting a pass from Luke Felsch.
Renouf had a clear 75-metre sprint for the line but surprisingly ran
out of steam two-third of the way, enabling Brian Carney to pull off a
miraculous try-saving tackle.
That tackle from Irish international Carney, who was just emerging from
a spell in the sin bin, proved to be the defining moment of the game.
Wigan looked far more lively in the second half as substitutes Lee
Gilmour and Simon Haughton began to make inroads into the heart of the
Hull defence and Farrell pulled two more points back after Hull forward
Richard Fletcher found himself in an offside position near his own posts.
At 8-4, the 7,378 crowd was still on tenterhooks as the tie entered its
final quarter but McDonald calmed the nerves with his clincher and Gene
would have added a third try had he been able to hang on to Horne's pass
with the line beckoning.
After conceding two tries and failing to breach their opponents' line,
Wigan could have few complaints and their misery was compounded by the
referee's decision to put stand-off Tony Smith on report for a high
first-half challenge on Jenkins.