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Wakefield 24-32 Hull FC

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Highlights: Wakefield 24-32 Hull FC

Hull booked their place in the Challenge Cup final after a pulsating victory over Wakefield in Doncaster.

Two Danny Tickle tries and another from Graeme Horne gave Hull an 18-0 lead after just eight minutes.

But Wakefield hit back through scores from Matt Petersen, Damien Blanch, Tevita Leo-Latu and Ryan Atkins, with Peter Cusack scoring Hull's fourth try.

Danny Washbrook extended Hull's lead after the break, only for Blanch to score his second but Hull held firm.

In one of the most entertaining Challenge Cup semi-finals of recent years, both sides conjured a relentless display of attacking football on one of the hottest days of the year at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Reaction: Wakefield 24-32 Hull FC

The victory marks a dramatic turnabout in fortunes for Hull, who had come close to expulsion for fielding an ineligible player in the fourth round in this year's tournament.

Wakefield coach John Kear, who won the Challenge Cup with Hull in 2005, pulled a late surprise just before kick-off by opting for the experience of Brad Drew at scrum-half in place of the enigmatic Jamie Rooney.

However, Rooney's absence was the least of Wakefield's concerns as they were rattled early on with a Tickle-inspired Hull scoring three tries down the Wildcats' right flank.

The first score came on five minutes when Adam Dykes' high kick was fumbled by Petersen, enabling Tickle to touch down the rolling ball.


The second rower added the two extra points - and soon had a further six points to his name with a carbon copy of their first try.

Dykes' perfect hanging kick to the right was brilliantly parried by Gareth Raynor into the path of Tickle, who charged over from three metres out.

And Washbrook took advantage of a weak Atkins tackle to feed Graeme Horne for Hull's third in the eighth minute.

Despite their early battering, Wakefield launched an immediate riposte on 12 minutes courtesy of a brilliant offload from Atkins, who held off four defenders to find Petersen for the score in the left corner.

The gap was soon down to eight points thanks to a classic winger's try from Blanch, who outjumped Raynor to collect Danny Brough's left-foot crosskick.

Hull hit back instantly, capitalising on Oliver Wilkes' handling error as Australian prop Peter Cusack barged through from five metres out to score by the posts.

But barely two minutes after his introduction, replacement Leo-Latu collected a play-the-ball five metres from the Hull try-line, looping around Jason Demetriou before collecting the return for a powerful surge to touch down on 33 minutes.

Damien Blanch makes a break for Wakefield
Damien Blanch touched down twice for Wakefield
With less than five minutes before the half-time hooter, Wakefield closed the gap to four points with yet another try created by a crossfield kick.

Brough's accurate left-foot chip was knocked on by Raynor, but the loose ball was collected by Atkins, who used his upper body strength to hold off three defenders and touch down two minutes before the half-time hooter.

Wakefield could have been level at the interval, but a missed penalty and goal attempt from Brough from out wide meant Hull maintained a four-point lead at the break.

There was no drop in the tempo after the break as Washbrook brilliantly touched down Dykes' grubber kick two minutes after the re-start, with Tickle stretching Hull's lead to 10 points.

It took a moment of magic from Drew to cut Hull's lead to six, chipping a perfectly weighted kick into the outstretched hands of Blanch for the winger's second try on 52 minutes.

The winger came mighty close to a hat-trick, but the video referee adjudged he had made contact with the touchline in an opportunistic dart down the blindside before grounding the ball in the 71st minute.

That opportunity proved to be the Wildcats' last genuine hope of a score as Hull held on for their second Challenge Cup final appearance in four years when they face St Helens at Wembley on 30 August.

Wakefield: Reilly, Blanch, Demetriou, Atkins, Petersen, Brough, Drew, Sculthorpe, Obst, Moore, Ferres, MacGillivray, Golden.
Replacements: Bibey, Henderson, Wilkes, Leo-Latu. .

Hull FC: Sing, Briscoe, G. Horne, Yeaman, Raynor, Washbrook, Dykes, Dowes, Berrigan, Thackray, Manu, Tickle, Radford.
Replacements: Carvell, Cusack, Hall, Houghton.

Referee: R Silverwood (Dewsbury)

see also
Radford ready to shock St Helens
27 Jul 08 |  Rugby League
Leeds Rhinos 16-26 St Helens
26 Jul 08 |  Rugby League
Challenge Cup semi-final photos
27 Jul 08 |  Rugby League
Anderson relieved to make Wembley
26 Jul 08 |  Rugby League

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