Challenge Cup final: Hull's bid to make history comes unstuck at Wembley against Wigan

Wigan 16 Hull 0

Wembley

Hull came to Wembley to make history, but it was all of the wrong kind.

Wigan did not need to be anywhere near their best to win one of the most one-sided Challenge Cup finals of the last quarter of a century.

Hull were the first side since St Helens in 1989 to be kept scoreless for 80 minutes. It was the lowest-scoring final since Hull lost 10-5 to Hull KR in 1980.

The talk in the build-up had been of 1985 and the classic these same two clubs served up in the annual showpiece.

“More like 1885,” said someone claiming an even longer memory. For a while, it rained hard enough to evoke comparisons with 1968; it was a little like the infamous Watersplash Final, but without the drama.

It had just two truly memorable moments. The first came at 10-0, when Josh Charnley chased and dispossessed Jamie Shaul, when he was on his way to a long-range try that might have made a match of it.

The second was Sam Tomkins, dancing his way through for a dazzling little try two minutes from time – an isolated moment of pure class.

Rumours were circulating before the match that player and club would use the aftermath of victory to confirm the game’s worst-kept secret – that he is departing for the New Zealand Warriors at the end of the season.

That announcement never came, but that brief vignette of Tomkins at his best was a reminder of how much he will be missed.

The announcement that did come, via the modern notice-board of Twitter, was from the Wigan chairman, Ian Lenagan, backing up his earlier statement that a Cup win would earn Shaun Wane an extra year on his coaching contract.

Wane looked as though he might have preferred to be told – or even asked – personally, but there is now no disputing the success he has made of his dream job of coaching his home-town club.

“It’s credit to the players, for the character they showed in difficult conditions,” he said.

There were no pats on the back for the Hull coach, Peter Gentle. The Humberside rumour mill had it during the build-up to the final that, win, lose or draw, he would be sacked by a fiercely ambitious chairman and owner, Adam Pearson, by the end of the season.

This defeat and the depressing manner of it will stir that pot again, even though Gentle dismissed it all as fantasy. He had no regrets about including young players like Shaul and Ben Crooks, who proved vulnerable, because he had no real alternative.

“They were our best option and I was happy with the young guys,” he said. That leaves the older guys, several of whom will not be happy with their performances.

“The more we turned the ball over the more we panicked,” said Gentle.

That applied to the seasoned professional, Daniel Holdsworth, as much as it did to his halfback partner, Jacob Miller, who celebrated his 21st birthday two days before the final.

By contrast, Wigan had the two most influential players on the soggy field, in their half-backs, Blake Green and Matty Smith. They both had strong kicking games and kept it short and simple when they passed the ball.

Whether the England coach, Steve McNamara, will heed Wigan calls for Smith to be drafted into the World Cup squad is another matter, but he has already made a better fist of playing scrum-half for Wigan than many predicted when he came to the club via Crusaders and Salford.

His was not a performance necessarily to set the pulse racing, but that was true of Wigan as a whole. What they were was highly effective, especially by contrast with opponents who had lost their way.

Given that two such well-supported clubs were at Wembley, an attendance of 78,187 counts as something of a disappointment. There should have been “full house” signs up on Saturday, just as there were for their meeting 28 years ago, which was watched by over 98,000.

Figures like that will rouse the old debate about playing the final earlier in the season, although that would not change the fact that rugby league is affected more severely than most sports by the recession.

This final will have won few new converts for the code. It simply was not that sort of carnival match and will be remembered mainly for its dour, attritional rhythm under steel-grey skies.

In a typical case of luck of the draw, the two teams now play each other in Super League on Friday night, when they might easily manufacture a thing of beauty.

What it will not change is the remarkable situation of both the Challenge Cup and the FA Cup being ensconced in Wigan – an historic first.

And one last history alert; Hull still have not won at Wembley.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone