Wakefield Wildcats 30 - Leigh Centurions 36 (Half-time 24-6)

The magic of the sixth round of the Challenge Cup yet again shone through on Sunday, as Championship side Leigh Centurions toppled the Super League side Wakefield Wildcats 36-30. It ensured that the second-tier league leaders took their merited place in the quarter-finals of the historic #Rugby league competition, alongside the superpowers of Leeds, St Helens and Warrington. They earned their place in the latter stages of the cup with a stirring fight-back in the second-half at Belle Vue.

Classic cup tie set up

The cup game had all of the essential ingredients for a potential giant-killing act.

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Leigh are the form team in the Championship, seemingly destined for promotion to the Super League at the end of their current campaign. By contrast, Wakefield have had an abysmal start to their league season, sitting rock bottom of the top division with just 4 points from 13 games so far.

Wakefield the better side initially

There was little indication of Wakefield's league troubles during the first half, as Leigh seemed to have few answers to the home side's power rugby. Wakefield stormed into a 24-6 lead at the interval through tries from Chris Riley, Nick Scruton and a brace from Joe Arundel. Leigh's only glimmer of hope had been provided through Ryan Brierley's try.

Leigh fought back

As can often be the case in cup matches, the so-called minnows were rejuvenated after the break though.

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They clawed their way back into the game with three tries from Jonny Pownall, Bob Beswick and Tom Armstrong, as their fans sensed that an upset was in the air.

The Wildcats responded admirably to the challenge, given their poor recent form, edging back in front thanks to Jon Molloy's score. Leigh were well in the game by then though and two further tries through Sam Hopkins and Oliver Wilkes saw them home to a dramatic win. It gave the visitors yet another major scalp in the competition this year, after defeating Salford in the previous round.

Leigh's cup pedigree

Leigh have tasted success in the Challenge Cup in the past, with many fans still no doubt fondly recollecting their victory in 1971. That was their second triumph, having also lifted the trophy 50 years previously. Their cup run so far this year has been the icing on the cake, given that their priority is no doubt to ensure their place in with the big boys on a permanent basis next year.

Quarter-final draw

The draw for the quarter-finals was made at the conclusion of the Wakefield-Leigh game, with the ties confirmed as:

  • Warrington v Leigh

  • Hull FC v Leeds

  • Hull KR v Catalans / Featherstone

  • St Helens v Widnes

Leigh will be the major underdogs against Warrington, a team with a proven pedigree in the competition having lifted the trophy eight times in their history, and they won the cup as recently as 2012.

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It will be a daunting task for the lower division side to overcome the Wolves, who have already beaten Super League leaders Leeds home and away this season. The Wolves were in determined mood in their sixth round match away to another Championship side, Dewsbury, running out convincing winners 52-10.

The quarter-final ties will be played over the period 25th - 28th June.