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Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Saturday, 30 August 2008 16:30 UK
Wembley Stadium, 30 August



Keiron Cunningham lifts the Challenge Cup

Highlights: Saints retain Challenge Cup

St Helens (10) 28
Tries: Gidley, Meli 2, Wilkin, Pryce Goals: Long 4
Hull (0) 16
Tries: Yeaman 2, Raynor Goals: Tickle 2

By Elizabeth Hudson

St Helens withstood a strong fightback by Hull FC to win 28-16 and claim their third Challenge Cup in a row.

Tries by Matt Gidley and Francis Meli put Saints 10-0 up at the break before Hull battled their way back into it.

A Kirk Yeaman double, both converted by Danny Tickle, gave the Black and Whites a 12-10 lead with 15 minutes to go.

But Saints showed their class down the stretch, hitting back through Meli, with his second try, Jon Wilkin and Leon Pryce for a famous Wembley win.

Saints were dealt an early blow in the opening two minutes when Paul Sculthorpe suffered a dislocated shoulder tackling Todd Byrne and was forced off.

Reaction from St Helens after their win

But they took the lead after seven minutes when a mistake by Byrne led to a St Helens scrum and man of the match Paul Wellens broke to send Gidley over from 10 metres out but Sean Long missed the extras.

Hull tried to fashion a response but Yeaman dropped the ball with the line at his mercy before Ade Gardner did the same at the other end after a Matt Sing error.

Scrum-half Richard Horne came into the game after 17 minutes for his first appearance in four months after a career-threatening neck injury and was immediately dumped to the ground by James Graham.

606: DEBATE
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Byrne then knocked on over the tryline and Graham took a quick penalty to feed Meli on the wing and he went 60m to the line for his 49th try for St Helens, Long adding the extras.

The try rocked Hull and with Long's kicking causing problems, they could have found themselves further behind but Saints saw some chances go begging.

Hull had to defend strongly to stop Wellens and Gardner before referee Steve Ganson ruled out a Willie Talau try following a forward pass from Maurie Fa'asavalu.

Meli then saw his effort in the corner chalked off by the video referee for a double movement shortly before the break.

Hull needed to score first in the second half to have had any chance of staying in the game and they began strongly with Yeaman showing good anticipation to intercept a Keiron Cunningham pass and race to the line.

Graeme Horne tries to stop James Roby
Hull's Graeme Horne tries to get to grips with James Roby of St Helens

Tickle added the goal to keep their hopes alive and the try lifted their spirits but they had a nervous moment when Sean Long went over before the try was disallowed for obstruction.

Hull refused to give in and continued to pile on the pressure and Wellens was penalised for a knock-on after 62 minutes and Hull took advantage with Yeaman crashing over for his second try to send the Black and White fans wild.

But Hull's advantage lasted just a couple of minutes as Saints showed the form of champions with Leon Pryce finding Meli going out wide for his second try of the game and Long kept his cool with a touchline conversion.

Hull were proud of their battling effort

Hull tried hard to get back into the game but with nine minutes to go Danny Washbrook's kick was charged down by Wilkin who raced in to score.

Raynor gave Hull a glimmer of hope with a try in the corner to make it 22-16 but Tickle missed the kick from the left-hand touchline and Pryce had the final say, waltzing through the Hull defence to score and start the Saints celebrations.


Hull: Byrne; Sing, G Horne, Yeaman, Raynor; Washbrook, Lee; Dowes, Berrigan, Cusack, Manu, Tickle, Radford.

Replacements: R Horne, Carvell, Briscoe, Thackray.

St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Gidley, Talau, Meli; Pryce, Long; Hargreaves, Cunningham, Graham, Wilkin, Flannery, Sculthorpe.

Replacements: Gilmour, Roby, Clough, Fa'asavalu.

Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens)



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see also
Jon Wilkin column
30 Aug 08 |  St Helens
Cup win is for Anderson - Wellens
30 Aug 08 |  Rugby League
Yeaman devastated by final defeat
30 Aug 08 |  Rugby League
Wilkin's player profiles
28 Aug 08 |  St Helens
Ask Jon Wilkin
26 Aug 08 |  St Helens
St Helens to let Sculthorpe leave
14 Aug 08 |  St Helens
Anderson relieved to make Wembley
26 Jul 08 |  Rugby League
Hull fined over ineligible player
07 Jul 08 |  Hull


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