Briers and Hicks help Wolves rise to the Challenge

Leeds 6 Warrington 30: Leeds leathered in Cup final as potential classic is turned into a clobbering by wonderful Warrington

What was supposed to be a classic Wembley final turned out to be one of the most one-sided, with Warrington entirely convincing in retaining the Challenge Cup.

Chris Hicks claimed a rare Wembley hat-trick, the first since the Leeds Rhinos wing Leroy Rivett grabbed four in the last final at the old Wembley. Ryan Atkins – one of the players they have added since last year's triumph over Huddersfield – got two and Louis Anderson scored the last.

But it was the craft of the stand-off Lee Briers that won him the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match in a landslide vote. He had an influential role in four of those six tries and generally bossed the show in midfield to set the stage for the Wolves to dominate.

Leeds, desperate for their first Challenge Cup this millennium, made too many mistakes and missed too many tackles – Warrington are not going to be beaten at Wembley by a team that does that. They failed to respond to the atmosphere generated by a sell-out crowd and it is no exaggeration to say that they could have lost by more.

The absence of the injured Jamie Peacock, a player who could conceivably have lifted the team, was all too obvious. Compared with Warrington's decision to leave out Richie Myler, Leeds' choice of the 20-year-old novice, Chris Clarkson, to start in the second row was not exactly cataclysmic. It was, though, a huge vote of confidence in a player who was completely unknown this time last year. Carl Ablett was on the bench after his three match suspension and, as expected, Ali Lauitiiti was the Rhinos forward to miss out.

Both sides committed an early blunder, Danny Buderus fumbling Briers' kick-off and Atkins squandering that possession by being forced into touch on the first tackle.

Leeds then had a period of pressure which could have brought them an opening try, but which only saw Ryan Bailey held up over the line. The strain was only eased by another handling error from the vastly experienced Buderus – and then it was time for a short, sharp masterclass from Briers.

It was his kick across field after 13 minutes that found Atkins (below) in acres of space between Brett Delaney and Kevin Sinfield. The centre made the cleanest of catches and Warrington were on their way.

Almost immediately, Briers pinned Leeds back with a 40-20 kick and then through the long pass that released Matt King on the right wing. Hicks had the acumen to scissor inside him and although Ben Westwood failed with a second conversion by hitting a post Warrington were already in a commanding position.

Leeds threatened twice through Ryan Hall but once he was magnificently tackled into touch by Westwood and once was brought back for Brent Webb's forward pass.

The Rhinos, however, were about to turn attack into hapless defence. From Danny McGuire's high kick Chris Riley picked up and counterattacked. When he was stopped, Atkins found a scandalous gap between Hall and Ian Kirke to go the rest of the way, with Westwood adding the simple goal.

The Wolves really only needed one try in the second half to make it safe and they almost got it immediately when the scrambling Rob Burrow narrowly prevented King from touching down Westwood's kick.

That was only delaying the inevitable. After twice holding up Delaney behind their line with typically tenacious defence, Warrington delivered the killer blow. Again it was Briers' pin-point kick, with Hicks doing brilliantly to catch and ground the ball under pressure from Hall.

Leeds avoided the ignominy of becoming the first side since St Helens, against Wigan in 1989, to be nilled in a Cup final when Lee Smith forced his way over from McGuire's pass. The improvement in their situation was merely cosmetic. After Richie Mathers had had a try disallowed against his old club for a technical obstruction, the Wolves finished them off without mercy. Hicks completed his hat-trick on the end of a move initiated yet again by Briers and then Louis Anderson completed the rout from Mathers' one-handed pass.

It had not quite been the epic that many predicted, but it had been an epic display by a Warrington side treating the Cup as their own.

The most sincere compliment that can be paid to them is to repeat what used to be said about Wigan when they monopolised the trophy – that it will take a very good side to take it from them. On the day, Leeds were anything but that.

Leeds Webb; Smith, Delaney, Senior, Hall; McGuire, Burrow; Leuluai, Buderus, Bailey, Jones-Buchanan, Clarkson, Sinfield. Substitutes used: Diskin, Ablett, Eastwood, Kirke.

Warrington Mathers; Hicks, King, Atkins, Riley; Briers, Monaghan; Morley, Clarke, Carvell, L Anderson, Westwood, Harrison. Substitutes used: Higham, Solomona, Wood, V Anderson.

Referee R Silverwood (Mirfield).


Tries: Atkins 2, L Anderson, Hicks 3

Goals: Westwood 3


Try: Smith

Goal: Sinfield

Attendance 85,217

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam