Magic moments for Warrington the pick of the Challenge Cup action

The most prestigious cup competition in British Rugby League was whittled down to four this weekend as the Challenge Cup moved into the semi final stage.

It was a weekend of marvellous action and a fond farewell, while the “magic of the cup” threatened to make an appearance.

The bottom line is that Warrington, St Helens, Leeds and Hull KR are the four sides two matches away from lifting the trophy, but here are our five best moments of the weekend.

Paul Wellens gets the recognition he deserved

After racking up 495 appearances for St Helens, it was perhaps unfortunate that Paul Wellens was denied the chance to reach the 500 mark and help his side into the latter stages.

However, with a hip problem forcing his early retirement both his club and Ladbrokes honoured the full-back ahead of their match with Widnes, with the bookmaker crowning him their #MasterOfWork for June.

Leigh threatening an upset

With the best in the business standing between them and a place in history, Championship leaders Leigh showed that they thrived on the underdog mantle.

Going in 14-12 up against Warrington must have given them hope of pulling off a massive shock, but in the end quality took over, although Kevin Brierly’s first try remains a bright point for the Centurions.

Kevin Penny defying gravity

One of those men that ensured the semi finals were an all-Super League affair was Kevin Penny.

Commentator John Kear described his try as “worth the admission fee itself”. We can certainly see why, as he inspired his Wolves side to a 34-24 victory.

A glimpse of crunch cam

When plying his trade in the NRL with the likes of the North Queensland Cowboys, Ashton Sims certainly lived up to his reputation as a hard-hitter with plenty to say for himself.

Adorning the BBC’s microphone throughout the match, the Fiji international brought viewers as close to a tackle from a rugby league star as most would find comfortable.

You can watch the footage here.

No helping for Saints from Scully

With Saints legend Paul Sculthorpe performing the semi-final draw alongside Ladbrokes’ own Chris Kamara, the Langtree Park faithful would be hoping that ‘Scully’ could do his former club a favour.

But in pitting his ex-employers against the fearsome Super League leading Leeds Rhinos, a first Challenge Cup final in seven years, looks all the more tough now. 

With the top two in the league drawing each other in the last four, and Warrington getting the supposed favourable tie of Hull KR, Ladbrokes find it tough to separate three sides in the betting.

The Rhinos just shade favouritism at 9/5, with their semi final opponents as 15/8 chances. It’s 11/4 that Warrington continue their heroics, while Hull KR remain long-shots at 13/2.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.