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It was fantastic to see the name of Salford Red Devils alongside Challenge Cup Final for the first time since 1969, a long, long wait for their faithful fans. The last time they won the trophy was back in 1938 when the beat Barrow by 7-4, and this was only the seventh occasion that the side from Salford had made it to the showpiece.

By contrast their opponents, the Leeds Rhinos, are experienced old hands at these events. This was their twenty-sixth Challenge Cup Final appearance, having lifted the trophy on thirteen occasions, the most recent being in 2015. Leeds have been to the cup final on fifteen occasions since Salford were last there, having lifted the trophy five times.

But this was a one-off game, and despite the odds being stacked in the Rhinos favour, everyone tuning in to watch the game in an empty stadium, knew that Salford could beat any side on their day. It was just a matter of whether this would be that day.

Salford super coach Ian Watson was without the services of the brilliant and experienced Dan Sarginson who had tested positive for Covid-19 but he was replaced by talisman Niall Evalds who was returning from injury. The Rhinos were at full strength with coach Agar having to make some hard choices in his team selection.

There was nothing to choose between the two sides for the opening ten minutes but after Lee Mossop was penalised for a high tackle the Rhinos moved the ball from left to right with Tom Briscoe being on hand to take a flipped Konrad Hurrell pass and take advantage of a small overlap and ground in the corner. Rhyse Martin converted in off the far post for a 6-0 lead.

Excellent Rhinos defence meant that Salford were playing most of the game in their own half.

Salford equalised with a superb length of the field try, Rhys Williams getting the ball after a Rhinos kick to the corner went to Salford hands. The Welshman got the ball ten from his own line and outpaced the Rhinos chasers to score under the sticks. Krisnan Inu added the conversion for 6-6.

James Donaldson stretched for the line on twenty-seven, but had the try ruled out for a double movement.

Just after the half hour mark the Rhinos used the left wing to get their second, a passing moved across the field with a touch pass from Myler being instrumental in creating the extra man for Ash Handley to go over. Martin kick dead centre of the sticks from the touchline for 12-6.

The Rhinos spurned the chance to extend the lead to seven points with two minutes of the half remaining, opting the run the ball. Salford ended the half on the front foot, but the Rhinos had a six-point lead at the interval.

It was an error strewn opening to the second half, both sides giving up possession and territory far too easily.

Leeds knocked on a high kick on fifty-two and from the restart on the Rhinos twenty the ball was moved left to right with Pauli Pauli running through the defensive line for a second Red Devils try. Inu couldn’t add the goal for 10-12, Salford punishing the Rhinos mistakes.

Salford were in the lead on fifty-seven when the Rhinos failed to defuse a bomb, the ball hitting Myler’s knees and bouncing into the hands of Kevin Brown who passed through a couple of pairs of hands before James Greenwood walked over. Inu added the goal for 16-12.

A sixty-fourth minute Ash Handley try, made by a Brad Dwyer half break on the previous tackle, levelled the scores at 16-16 with Gale and Myler providing the killer passes. Martin pulled his kick wide of the sticks. Fourteen minutes remained with nothing to choose between the two sides.

Luke Gale pushed a seventieth minute drop goal wide of the sticks but with four minutes remaining Gale was accurate with a thirty-metre effort for a single point lead.

Salford spilled the ball deep in the Leeds twenty while setting up for a drop goal with ninety seconds left and a ball steal then cost Salford further ground as the clock ran down. The Rhinos started the tackle count in halfway with thirty seconds remaining and they took the tackles to take a one-point win.

This was a classic cup final between two dedicated and evenly matched sides. The atmosphere was non-existent in the stands but in abundance on the pitch as the Rhinos won by a single point. Both sides executed their kicking games with aplomb and the defences gave every last drop of energy that they had. Leeds win their fourteenth Challenge Cup and Salford will hope that they don’t have to wait another fifty one years for their next chance.

Leeds Rhinos: Myler, Briscoe T (T), Hurrell, Sutcliffe L, Handley (2T), Lui, Gale (DG), Seumanufagai, Leeming, Oledzki, Mellor, Martin (2G), Prior. Subs: Sutcliffe A, Dwyer, Donaldson, Cuthbertson.

Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Williams (T), Watkins, Welham, Inu (2G), Lolohea, Brown, Mossop, Lussick, Dudson, McCarthy, Greenwood (T), Flanagan. Subs: Ikahihifo, Pauli (T), Yates, Burke.

Referee: Liam Moore.

Half Time: 12-6.

Full Time: 17-16.

Venue: Wembley Stadium, London.




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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 17th Oct 2020 4:54 PM | Views : 13608 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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TABLES:
Matches on TV
Sat 13th Aug
SL RND: 23
13:00
Salford-Huddersfield
Mon 15th Aug
CH RND: 23
19:45
York-Bradford
Thu 18th Aug
SL RND: 24
20:00
Huddersfield-Castleford
Fri 19th Aug
SLRND: 24
20:00
Hull FC-Wakefield
Wed 24th Aug
SL RND: 25
20:00
Leeds-Huddersfield
Thu 25th Aug
SL RND: 25
19:30
Toulouse-Catalans
Fri 26th Aug
SL RND: 25
20:00
Wigan-St.Helens
Sat 15th Oct
WC2022 RND: 1
14:30
England-SAM
WC2022 RND: 1
19:30
Australia-Fiji
Sun 16th Oct
WC2022 RND: 1
17:00
JAM-IRE
WC2022 RND: 1
19:30
NZ-Lebanon
WC2022 RND: 1
14:30
SCO-IRE
Mon 17th Oct
WC2022 RND: 1
19:30
France-Greece
Tue 18th Oct
WC2022 RND: 1
19:30
Tonga-PNG
Wed 19th Oct
WC2022 RND: 1
19:30
WAL-Cook I
Fri 21st Oct
WC2022 RND: 2
19:30
Australia-SCO
Sat 22nd Oct
WC2022 RND: 2
14:30
Fiji-ITA
WC2022 RND: 2
17:00
England-France
WC2022 RND: 2
19:30
NZ-JAM
Sun 23rd Oct
WC2022 RND: 2
14:30
Lebanon-IRE
Fri 12th Aug
SL RND: 23 Castleford18-8Catalans
SL RND: 23 Hull KR20-28Leeds
CH RND: 23 Sheffield26-32Halifax
NRL RND: 22 NZ Warriors42-18Canterbury
NRL RND: 22 Parramatta0-26Souths
Thu 11th Aug
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NRL RND: 22 Penrith0-16Melbourne
Sun 7th Aug
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SL RND: 22 Leeds34-14Salford
SLRND: 22 Wakefield16-20Catalans
CH RND: 22 Bradford48-18Workington
CH RND: 22 Dewsbury10-22York
CH RND: 22 Leigh52-20Barrow
CH RND: 22 Newcastle0-44LondonB
CH RND: 22 Sheffield38-26Whitehaven
CH RND: 22 Widnes16-20Featherstone
CH RND: 22 Halifax34-18Batley
L1 RND: 18 Cornwall12-36Crusaders
L1 RND: 18 Doncaster26-20Rochdale
L1 RND: 18 Midlands36-41Oldham
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Championship 2022 ROUND : 23
 PLDFADIFFPTS
Leigh 22 982 188 794 42
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Halifax 23 701 384 317 34
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Barrow 22 569 483 86 29
 
Sheffield 23 605 568 37 20
Widnes 22 492 553 -61 20
Bradford 22 457 544 -87 20
Newcastle 22 497 649 -152 15
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Whitehaven 22 356 774 -418 11
Dewsbury 22 285 776 -491 5
Workington 22 232 913 -681 2
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Betfred League One 2022 ROUND : 19
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Keighley 15 669 118 551 30
Crusaders 17 640 308 332 28
Swinton 16 605 263 342 24
Doncaster 16 548 326 222 24
Rochdale 16 588 409 179 22
Hunslet 16 445 364 81 17
 
Oldham 16 443 455 -12 11
LondonS 16 356 579 -223 10
Midlands 16 416 576 -160 8
Cornwall 17 248 716 -468 2
West Wales 17 144 988 -844 2
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St.Helens 22 512 276 236 36
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Huddersfield 22 493 386 107 29
Catalans 23 465 387 78 28
Castleford 23 497 502 -5 24
Leeds 23 503 456 47 23
 
Salford 22 529 512 17 20
Hull FC 22 424 513 -89 20
Hull KR 23 406 520 -114 20
Warrington 23 464 569 -105 16
Wakefield 22 375 578 -203 12
Toulouse 23 373 595 -222 10
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Penrith 21 556 319 237 34
Melbourne 21 630 358 272 30
NQL Cowboys 20 519 297 222 30
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Souths 21 546 412 134 26
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Sydney 20 489 378 111 22
 
Canberra 20 368 401 -33 20
Manly 20 434 442 -8 18
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