|26th Aug 2006||Powergen Challenge Cup Final||NEUTRAL||65137||HT:12-6|
|MATCH NOTES : Match played at Twickenham Stadium, London. Saints win their fifth Challenge Cup Final in the 11 years of Super League and their tenth of all time. Sean Long wins an historic third Lance Todd Trophy as the man of the match. Paul Sculthorpe captains the side to collect the cup for a second time in three campaigns. Saints scored a total of 246 points in their Challenge Cup run of five matches! |
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 26. - ** non-playing sub|
MATCH REPORT : Saints claimed the first domestic trophy of the year with a magnificent victory in the Powergen Challenge Cup Final against Huddersfield Giants at Twickenham.
Sean Long was deservedly named Lance Todd winner for a record third time for his man-of-the-match showing, but it had been a brilliant team performance that had brought the famous trophy back to St Helens for the tenth time.
Saints endured a torrid opening as Huddersfield regained possession from the kick-off and it was more than eight minutes before Saints had the ball in hand in the Giants� half.
By then Saints had been forced to drop-out from their own line twice - a result of accurate kicking and tenacious tackling - before Brad Drew scooted through a gap in the defensive line to set up the game�s opening try for winger Martin Aspinwall.
As Michael De Vere�s conversion sailed over, Saints coach Daniel Anderson made his first change on just seven minutes with Great Britain second-rower Lee Gilmour replacing Jon Wilkin.
Gilmour quickly became Saints� best attacking player, adding a threat down Saints right channel. However Saints� equaliser was created on the other side of the pitch as fellow second-rower Paul Sculthorpe dabbed through a grubber kick which was deflected into the path of Willie Talau. Talau, who scored twice in Saints� 2004 Challenge Cup Final triumph, collected and dived over to the delight � and relief � of the Saints fans amassed in the North Stand.
The game developed into an enthralling tussle with the teams matching each other tackle for tackle, with Eorl Crabtree�s hit on Jason Hooper and Keiron Cunningham�s tackle on Paul Reilly sending shudders through the stadium.
It was Saints who landed the next scoring blow through a classy move down the left flank. Huddersfield had been given a warning and only a last-ditch tackle by Reilly had stopped Ade Gardner from scoring in the corner. Again Gilmour and Jamie Lyon combined to put Gardner into space, but this time Long was in support to finish the move.
Six points ahead, Saints came back out for the second half in determined fashion and in an adventurous mood. The result was immediate: Maurie Fa�asavalu rampaged down the middle and, although Chris Nero hauled back James Roby yards from the line, Wilkin was on hand to dive over on the next tackle, despite a broken nose.
Fa�asavalu did not have to wait long to be rewarded for his endeavour as he touched down Roby�s perceptive grubber to open up an 18-point lead.
Slowly the Giants faded with Saints looking dangerous across the field and the Giants were forced to run the ball out of their own half.
Throughout the summer the Knowsley Roaders have been in devastating attacking form and their fifth try, which finally ended any hopes of a Giants comeback, was of the highest order.
Long made an exquisite break from just inside inside his own half but was faced with two defenders, so he slowed momentarily to lift a perfect kick to the right corner for Lyon to collect and score.
Wilkin, who had earlier been placed on report for a high tackle, scored his second try after Keiron Cunningham had broke from dummy-half.
Although Robbie Paul scored a consolation try from a clever kick by the Giants� man-of-the-match Brad Drew, it had no effect on the mood of the celebrating Saints� fans.
Jason Cayless scored from Long�s grubber, and Lyon�s seventh conversion set a new record for Saints as they racked up their highest-ever score in a Challenge Cup Final.
Saints: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, P Anderson, Cunningham, Cayless, Wilkin, Sculthorpe, Hooper.
Interchanges: Gilmour, Roby, Graham, Fa�asavalu.
Giants: Reilly, Aspinwall, Nero, De Vere, Donlan, Thorman, Paul, Jackson, Drew, Gannon, Crabtree, Raleigh, Wild.
Interchanges: Snitch, Jones, Smith, McDonald.
Referee: R Silverwood.
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