Charnley and Tomkins take Wigan back to Wembley

Wigan Warriors 18 St Helens 12

Halliwell Jones Stadium

Wigan battled through to their first Challenge Cup final in seven years, surviving a battering in the first half, striking to devastating effect in the second and holding off the Saints in the closing stages of the match.

Saints lost a third semi-final in a row. They contributed fully to a compelling spectacle but could not quite counter the strike power of players like Sam Tomkins and Josh Charnley. They were without the soon-to-leave Kyle Eastmond, who suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury in training, while Wigan's most notable absentee was Gareth Hock, who was left out.

St Helens spent most of the first 15 minutes on the attack, without quite looking clinical enough to turn their pressure into points. Their best chance came when Francis Meli made a clean break in the left-centre channel but he threw an ill-judged pass to Jamie Foster, a little too hard, a little too high.

More surprising was the way in which Wigan failed to take the lead, two minutes later. The Saints prop James Graham was penalised for an obstruction and the Wigan winger Pat Richards, the most reliable kickerin the game, had a chance from right in front of the posts. Unaccountably, he missed.

There was no such mistake from Foster when he got his opportunity. Considering how little they have played together, Leon Pryce and Jonny Lomax were combining remarkably well at half-back for Saints. A jinking run from the latter drew an offside penalty that the young winger stroked over without fuss.

That looked as though it might be the only score of a first half low on points but high on crunching defence, but seven minutes before the break Wigan scored a try out of nothing. Charnley's acceleration from a standing start put him in the clear, only for him to be mown down by a tackle that was timed with typical precision by Paul Wellens.

Cruelly, the Saints full-back's effort counted for little as the ball went promptly to the other side of the pitch for George Carmont to score from Ryan Hoffman's pass. This time, Richards succeeded with the kick, from the touchline and into a swirling wind.

Both sides thought they had scored early in the second half, Saints when James Roby's exquisite pass released Lomax, only for him to be chopped down by a quite superb tackle from Thomas Leuluai. Wigan's near miss came when the video referee, Steve Ganson, found an obstruction to deny Sam Tomkins a sniping try.

There was no argument, though, about the try that put Wigan within sight of a trip to Wembley for the first time in 13 years. Joel Tomkins got his pass away perfectly to Charnley but the winger still had plenty to do, beating three defenders on his way to the line. Nor was the younger Tomkins to be kept without a try for very long. Three minutes later he ran at flagging tacklers and planted the ball over the line.

Saints had a flicker of hope when Meli held up his pass to put Foster over after 64 minutes. Five minutes later, the pair repeated the process and the game was very much alive. Richards missed a late penalty that would have clinched it, but Wigan held on and celebrated as you would expect of a team returning to their spiritual home.

Wigan: S Tomkins; Charnley, Carmont, J Tomkins, Richards; Finch, Deacon; Lima, Leuluai, Coley, Hansen, Hoffman, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: McIlorum, Mossop, Farrell, Cross.

St Helens: Wellens; Makinson, Shenton, Meli, Foster; Pryce, Lomax; Graham, Roby, Puletua, Flannery, Soliola, Wilkin. Substitutes used: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Moore, Clough, Gaskell.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn