Huddersfield 12 St Helens 42: Long puts stamp on St Helens' triumph

It would be too easy at first glance to assume from this scoreline that Huddersfield failed to keep their side of the bargain in the Powergen Challenge Cup final here on Saturday.

Not a bit of it. For 50 minutes the Giants were very nearly as good as they had been in their memorable semi-final victory over Leeds; it was not their fault that in the end they had no answer to the sheer quality of St Helens.

Forced by Huddersfield's skill and resolution in the first half to produce their full repertoire of accomplishments, Saints duly did so, producing a brand of rugby with which no side in the British game could have lived. This was Saints at their captivating best and, as the Huddersfield coach Jon Sharp argued afterwards, there was no disgrace in ultimately being blown away by them.

"They decided to leave out two internationals. I've got two internationals in my side and that's indicative of the scale of the task," he said. "But I thought we represented the town and the club magnificently."

Sean Long won the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match for the third time in four finals. That is a historic achievement, but Long did not have his most glittering match from a purely individual angle, although he finished a marvellous move for one try and set up another with a sublime piece of skill. His hallmark was the way he quietly controlled everything. His coach, Daniel Anderson, repeatedly used the word "maturity" to describe his performance and it was a well-chosen one.

On another day, Jon Wilkin could easily have carried off the individual award. Despite breaking his nose in an early clash of heads with his team-mate, Paul Anderson - "That's his modelling career on hold," said Daniel Anderson - Wilkin was a bundle of irrepressible energy all afternoon.

"He [Paul Anderson] mis-took me for one of the Huddersfield players," said Wilkin. "He caught me pretty high. He's clumsy like that, so I'm used to it. They stuffed cotton wool up my nose and the blood was trickling down my throat so I couldn't get my breath. I've got a bit of a hernia so I'm on pain killers and they were still working. It was just after the game it hurt when the doctor was trying to put it back in place. But the effects of the champagne were numbing it."

Wilkin scored two tries, contributed to another couple and showed his mean streak with two ferocious tackles on Stuart Donlan, the latter of which saw him placed on report.

"Wilko's awesome, a real team player," said Long, and it was that team ethos that dominated Saints' analysis of what they had achieved with their fifth Cup win in the 11 years of Super League.

Anderson decided his team early in the week and got it exactly right. So, too, did Jamie Lyon, whose 18 points took him within two of the Cup final record. It would be a shame, though, if Huddersfield's contribution were to be forgotten under the camouflage of a 30-point losing margin.

With Brad Drew leading from the front they ripped into Saints from the start and were arguably the better side for the first half and, if they had gone back into the lead from Wayne McDonald's break in the 27th minute, the story of their first Challenge Cup final for 44 years might just have been very different.

"You've got to finish your opportunities against the best defensive side in Super League," Sharp said. "History shows that if you don't they come back to hurt you." Huddersfield finished the afternoon knowing just how true that observation is. They were hurt, but by no means embarrassed.

St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Meli; Pryce, Long; Anderson, Cunningham, Cayless, Wilkin, Sculthorpe, Hooper. Substitutes used: Roby, Graham, Gilmour, Fa'asavalu.

Huddersfield: Reilly; Aspinwall, Nero, De Vere, Donlan; Thorman, Paul; Jackson, Drew, Gannon, Crabtree, Raleigh, Wild. Substitutes used: Snitch, Jones, Smith, McDonald.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
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

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas