Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match
|Saturday 27th April 2002|
|St Helens 12 Wigan Warriors 21|
|Kelloggs Nutri Grain Challenge Cup Final|
Kick Off 2:45pm
|1||Kris Radlinski||1||Paul Wellens|
|2||Brett Dallas||T||19||Anthony Stewart|
|15||Paul Johnson||3||Martin Gleeson||T|
|4||Gary Connolly||T||4||Paul Newlove|
|3||Jamie Ainscough||5||Darren Albert||T|
|6||Julian O'Neill||20||Tommy Martyn|
|7||Adrian Lam||T||DG||7||Sean Long|
|8||Terry O'Connor||8||Darren Britt|
|9||Terry Newton||9||Keiron Cunningham|
|10||Craig Smith||12||Peter Shiels|
|11||Mick Cassidy||11||Chris Joynt|
|12||David Furner||15||Tim Jonkers|
|13||Andy Farrell||G4||13||Paul Sculthorpe||T|
|5||Brian Carney||2||Sean Hoppe|
|14||David Hodgson||10||Barry Ward|
|18||Mark Smith||14||John Stankevitch|
|21||Ricky Bibey||17||Mick Higham|
Wigan defy the odds and win the 2002 Kelloggs Nutri-Grain Challenge Cup Final with a well deserved 21-12 win over rivals St Helens at Murrayfield. Kris Radlinski, who had been confined to a hospital bed for most of the week, produced a stirring display as the underdogs led throughout to claim their first Cup success for seven years.
After sitting through Atomic Kitten, Abide with Me and the tedious National Anthem, St Helens kicked off the 2002 Challenge Cup Final. The game didn't start as I expected it to. I was expecting a fast paced start to the game but in truth the game started slowly with both sides being content to just play out their sets of six early on.
St Helens went closest first on 9 minutes when Tim Jonkers found a slight gap on the left wing. He looked certain to score but Kris Radlinski produced the first of many superb tackles by him on the day. The ball went dead and Wigan got a 20 metre tap.
From that twenty metre tap, Wigan got the first clean break of the game through Andy Farrell on the Wigan left hand side. He and Radlinski offloaded in the tackle which allowed Adrian Lam to fire a long pass to Gary Connolly who sent Brett Dallas on a free run to the line in the right corner. Farrell kicked the conversion and Wigan led 6-0 after 10 minutes.
Minutes later Farrell again broke through the St Helens line but this time a smart little grubber kick by Lam was just to far ahead of Radlinski but Sean Long had to push it out from a dropout.
From the dropout, David Furner made a half break, offloading on the inside to Lam who beat Paul Wellens and Keiron Cunningham to score just left of the posts. Farrell converted the try and Wigan led 12-0 after just 15 minutes.
Wigan knew even after just 15 minutes that Saints would comeback and even tried a drop goal attempt on 21 minutes but Farrell hit it short and wide of the uprights.
Moments later Saints did hit back when Sean Long produced a great bomb on the last tackle. Winger Darren Albert leaped above Jamie Ainscough to score a much-needed try for the Saints but Sean Long hit the conversion attempt wide of the posts. Wigan lead 12-4 after 21 minutes.
From the following kick off, Andy Farrell made a huge error which could have proved costly when he kicked the kick off out on the full. Thankfully it didn't because from the resulting penalty, a possible Keiron Cunningham try was judged No Try by Video Referee Ray Tennant. Controversially so in some peoples eyes but looking at the tape, I'm not sure that Cunningham got the ball over the line. Maybe that's just my Wigan bias eh?
In the 31st minute Saints hit back again when Martin Gleeson went over in the right wing corner. He showed some excellent footwork to beat Paul Johnson and took Radlinski over the line to score. Sean Long though failed with the conversion again allowing Wigan to still lead 12-8
At this point Wigan were just hoping the could hang on until half time with their lead intact. They did exactly that but Half Time brought the news that Mick Cassidy had dislocated his shoulder ruling out of the rest of the game.
Wigan came out for the second half knowing they they really needed to score first. It took them 9 minutes but thats exactly what they did. This time it was Julian O'Neill's turn to break through. He offloaded to Johnson who then set up Connolly who went over just to the right of the sticks. Farrell converted again and Wigan led 18-8
Saints though hit back yet again on the hour mark, this time through Paul Sculthorpe. Darren Britt offloaded very nicely to Sculthorpe who went over just to the right of the posts. Long though completed a miserable afternoon for him personally by missing an easy kick. It was still game on though with just a try and goal between them at 18-12.
But following that try the key moment of the game occurred for Wigan. Farrell kicked a 40/20 which resulted in a drop goal for Adrian Lam a couple of minutes later. That drop goal sealed it for Wigan, 19-12.
With just 14 minutes to go, the Warriors were quite content to
just see out the clock now but Saints didn't give up. They blew
what turned out to be their last chance of the game on 72 minutes
however when they threw an intercept to Jamie Ainscough whilst
pressing the Wigan line.
Wigan then just killed the clock to secure their first Challenge Cup win since 1995. The hooter went to a tremendous noise and the party began.
The reason we won on the day was simple We had been more desperate than Saints and wanted the win more, simple as that. Now it's time to but a disappointing start to our league campaign behind us and have a real crack at completing the double by winning the Grand Final in October.
Stuart Cummings (Widnes)
Ray Tennant (Castleford)
Kris Radlinski (Wigan)