Player ratings as Warrington Wolves forge superb upset in Challenge Cup demolition of St Helens

WARRINGTON WOLVES will play Huddersfield Giants in the Challenge Cup semi-final after an incredible 31-8 triumph over St Helens.

Warrington started the brighter of the two sides, Josh Thewlis crossing in the corner on 10 minutes after great work by Matt Dufty. Thewlis, however, couldn’t convert as the Wolves led 4-0.

Paul Wellens’ side were their own worst enemy and it was three penalties conceded inside the opening 15 minutes yet Sam Burgess’ side couldn’t breach the steely home defence for a second time.

As it was, Saints grew into the game and they responded with their own four-pointer shortly before the half-hour when Lomax’s chip bounced awkwardly for Matty Ashton.

The onrushing Batchelor was on hand to palm the ball into Konrad Hurrell’s grasp for a scintillating score.

Saints began turning the screw and, after Dufty dropped a Lomax bomb, the hosts almost had another.

Hurrell was having some joy down the right-hand side, but despite getting an offload free to Tommy Makinson with three Warrington defenders around him, the pass went forward as Saints were brought back.

Again, the hosts should possibly have scored minutes before half-time when Bennison cantered down the wing after being set free by Blake, but Williams managed to recover and get back to field a kick through.

And against the run of play, the Wolves were level when Williams was taken out off the ball. Thewlis added the goal to make it 6-6.

On the face it, Warrington deserved to lead at half-time – and they did just that with Williams slotting over a drop-goal with a minute to go.

Half-time: St Helens 6-7 Warrington

The topsy-turvy nature of the fixture continued with Bennison sending Saints into an 8-7 lead on 52 minutes after the Wolvers were found offside.

But, Lomax brought pressure back onto the hosts, stepping over the dead-ball line from the kick-off.

Burgess’ men weren’t about to let Saints off with that error and Ashton flew in at the corner. Thewlis converted from out wide to make it 13-8 to the visitors.

And they almost had another on the hour when James Harrison forced his way through only to lose the ball over the line.

The momentum and pressure was relentless by now, though, and the visitors did register their third try of the afternoon just after the hour.

That man Williams provided the catalyst with his chip being spilled by James Bell and on hand was Wrench to simply dot down. Thewlis again converted for a 19-8 lead.

A superb Williams kick created havoc in the Saints’ defence as Welsby was forced behind his own line and it was game over when Harrison was this time successful in grounding the ball in front of the jubilant Wolves’ supporters. Thewlis converted to make it 26-6 with just ten minutes to go.

And Thewlis was on target once more following a deserved Williams four-pointer off a brilliant Dufty break.

St Helens

1 Jack Welsby – 6
2 Tommy Makinson – 6
23 Konrad Hurrell – 6
3 Waqa Blake – 6
5 Jon Bennison – 7
6 Jonny Lomax – 7
7 Lewis Dodd – 6
8 Alex Walmsley – 6
9 Daryl Clark – 7
20 George Delaney – 6
16 Curtis Sironen – 6
12 Joe Batchelor – 7
13 Morgan Knowles – 6
11 Sione Mata’utia – 7
14 Moses Mbye – 6
15 James Bell – 8
19 Matt Whitley – 6

Tries: Hurrell (26)
Goals: Bennison 2/2

Warrington Wolves

1 Matt Dufty – 9
2 Josh Thewlis – 8
3 Toby King – 8
20 Connor Wrench – 8
5 Matty Ashton – 7
6 George Williams – 10
18 Leon Hayes – 8
8 James Harrison – 9
9 Danny Walker – 8
15 Joe Philbin – 7
13 Matty Nicholson – 7
12 Lachlan Fitzgibbon – 7
17 Jordy Crowther – 6
19 Joe Bullock – 6
28 Adam Holroyd – 6
32 Sam Powell – 6
34 Max Wood – 6

Tries: Thewlis (10), Ashton (56), Wrench (61), Harrison (69), Williams (71)
Goals: Thewlis 6/7
Drop goals: Williams (39)

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