Congratulations to Lee Radford’s Hull FC, who have reached consecutive Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Finals for the first time since 1983.
So, ahead of the Airlie Birds’ bid to retain this grand old trophy – a feat they’ve never managed before – we’ve taken a look back at the East Yorkshire outfit’s route to Wembley, beginning with an absolute demolition of Super League rivals…
Hull FC 62-0 Catalans Dragons (Sixth Round, Friday 12 May)
Laurent Fraysinnous’ visitors were run ragged by a Black & Whites side who put down a serious marker in this tournament, dominating an unbelievably one-sided game at the KCOM Stadium.
Australian winger Steve Michaels gave Hull fans that ‘Friday feeling’ when he smartly finished off an excellent team try in the second minute, before Josh Griffin grabbed a second four minutes later following excellent handling from Mark Minichiello.
The rout continued apace, with Michaels finishing the day with three tries, while Jamie Shaul got his rewards for a superb performance with a couple of late ones. Oh, and the hosts condemned the Dragons to the heaviest defeat of their 17-year existence in the process.
Hull FC 32-24 Castleford Tigers (Quarter-Finals, Sunday 18 June)
Having lost two of their previous three home games against Cas, shipping 30+ points on each occasion, it’s fair to say this wasn’t the opposition Radford and co. would have chosen. But the Airlie Birds produced a strong display, underpinned by Jake Connor’s nerveless kicking.
The 22-year-old kicked eight goals – missing just one – in sweltering temperatures at the KCOM, to help the home side come out on top. However, Hull’s former Samoan international Carlos Tuimavave produced the game’s most memorable moment with his stunning solo try to open the scoring.
This was a tougher test for the Black & Whites than Catalans, but one they passed with flying colours again.
Hull FC 43-24 Leeds Rhinos (Semi-Finals, Saturday 29 July)
With the Rhinos having beaten Radford’s side 10-7 just 15 days before this meeting, many were expecting another close-run, cagey and low scoring affair. The reality was anything but.
Ryan Hall opened the scoring for the Headingley club, but the Airlie Birds roared back into life, backed by fantastic support in the stands, with Albert Kelly kicking off a run of three Hull tries in 15 minutes before the interval.
That dominance continued into the second half, as Hull pounced on a Rhinos mistake, to gift Tuimavave his second try of the game – and give the 2016 winners a 25-12 lead.
Both sides traded blows in the scoring after that, but the result never looked in doubt, and Jamie Shaul helped cap things off with an outstanding individual try after 71 minutes.