In a historic Challenge Cup Final, Leigh Leopards and Hull KR battled it out for the Challenge Cup trophy at Wembley in a final touched by controversy adding spice to what was a terrific game and an amazing spectacle.
There were two key calls that went against Hull KR in quick succession of one another in the first half that in such a tight game could have made a real difference to the out come.
The first was the decision not to award Tom Opacic a penalty after a Tom Briscoe error and then shortly after that Elliot Minchella was sin binned for a late hit on Ben Reynolds who then converted the penalty to make it 10-6.
It was a decision criticised by many with Luke Gale branding it a “terrible call” before Jake Trueman stated that Chris Kendall was doing his best “to ruin the game.”
He said on Twitter: “Trying his best to ruin the game, let the boys go at it.”
Trying his best to ruin the game, let the boys go at it
— Jake Trueman (@JT6Trueman) August 12, 2023
It was a great game as Hull KR struck first. Elliot Minchella gave away that penalty but immediately made amends as he broke through and found Jez Litten in support to score.
A Tom Briscoe error nearly led to a Tom Opacic try as the ball was kicked ahead. Opacic was then tripped up by Lachlan Lam who went for the ball but it was deemed an accident and no penalty try was given.
Leigh then said anything you can do we can do better as Kai O’Donnell broke through in similar fashion finding Lachlan Lam in support to score.
Minchella’s strange day kept going as he was penalised for a hit on Ben Reynolds and the Leopards took a 10-6 lead as Hull KR went down to 12 men.
Hull KR then nailed a penalty of their own on the stroke of halftime to make it 10-8.
The second half started as the first one ended with a Hull KR penalty as Hull KR drew level at 10-all.
It was then a very tense second half as neither side gave each other an inch. Try scoring sensation Josh Charnley had a chance when he got the ball wide but was held up.
Tom Briscoe scores tries at Wembley like it’s his backyard. Today was his eighth Challenge Cup Final try in his fifth final appearance and his eighth in the last four. He struck a decisive blow in the corner for the Leopards after a sweeping move.
But that try was cancelled out when Parcell touched down to score in the 79th minute after a kick bounced off Zak Hardaker.
However, in the end it was Leigh who will lift the Challenge Cup after a golden point drop goal from Lachlan Lam won the game for the club.