Catalans Dragons made history as they defeated Warrington Wolves 20-14 in the 2018 Challenge Cup Final, watched by 50,672.
Tony Gigot, the Lance Todd Trophy winner, inspired his club to their first Challenge Cup victory after losing in the final once before.
Catalans were on top early. When a high kick was regathered by the Dragons, Benjamin Jullien did brilliantly to offload around the back of his defender to Lewis Tierney who dived in. Drinkwater converted from the touchline.
The Dragons extended their lead to eight when Ben Westwood was penalised for holding down Sam Moa allowing Drinkwater to slot the easy penalty.
Warrington thought they had earned their way back into the game when Tom Lineham slid in at the corner but it was ruled out by the video referee, Ben Thaler, for obstruction.
The Wolves weren’t to be denied a second time. Stefan Ratchford’s kick was dropped by Fouad Yaha allowing Ben Murdoch-Masila to saunter in around the posts. Tyrone Roberts’ conversion reduced the arrears to two points.
But Ben Garcia’s try, where he snuck over from dummy half, restored the Dragons’ eight-point lead with five minutes left in the first half.
Catalans started the second half as they did the first. Tony Gigot laid a try on a platter for Brayden Wiliame after only five minutes. Drinkwater again added the tough conversion.
Down by 14, Warrington responded. When Kevin Brown’s kick wasn’t dealt with by the Dragons, Roberts was on hand to fling the ball up for George King to score. Roberts converted.
Much Warrington pressure followed culminating in a late shot giving Roberts the chance to make it a one-score game with eleven minutes still on the clock.
Warrington continued to press but couldn’t break through.
Dragons: Gigot, Tierney, Mead, Wiliame, Yaha, Langi, Drinkwater, Simon, McIlorum, Moa, Jullien, Garcia, Casty (C); Interchanges: Bousquet, Baitieri, Edwards, Goudemand
Tries: Tierney, Garcia, Wiliame; Goals: Drinkwater 4
Wolves: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, T King, Charnley, Brown, Roberts, Hill (C), Clark, Cooper, Livett, Hughes, Westwood; Interchanges: Murdoch-Masila, G King, Patton, Philbin
Tries: Murdoch-Masila, G King; Goals: Roberts 3
The full match report of the 2018 Challenge Cup Final will feature in Monday’s League Express.