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
News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
musicReview: 1989's songs attempt to encapsulate dramatic emotional change in a few striking lines
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
I'm not worried about United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Arts and Entertainment
Saw point: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’
filmReview: Serena is a strangely dour and downbeat affair
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker