Liam Marshall’s effort three minutes from the end gave Wigan a dramatic Twentieth Challenge Cup victory, denying Huddersfield their first major title in 69 years.
Marshall scored the winning goal in the Warriors’ semi-final win over St Helens, and when the final seemed no longer possible, winger Harry Smith used a well-placed kick to secure the trophy.
For Huddersfield, who led for so long, the method of defeat would be devastating. They certainly didn’t wither on the bigger stage, but were eventually wiped out by a brilliant moment from their opponents.
Huddersfield led by four points in the first half and chose the fastest of the two teams. Their early dominance was rewarded with a penalty kick by Tui Lolohea before Ricky Lotelli crossed the line from close range to score the first attempt. However, Lolohea was off target with the transition, a theme that will continue throughout the afternoon.
The Giants then dealt a blow when Chris Hill was forced off the field injured and three minutes later Wigan’s first real attack in the Huddersfield area led to their first attempt. Morgan Smithies’ superb dump freed Harry Smith, who raced home before turning outside to tie it 6-6.
Huddersfield recovered well from that setback and bounced back in the first half when Chris McQueen’s skillful hands on the right made room for a dummy across the line despite the interest of three defenders. But Wigan responded in real fashion after the break when Bevan French and Jay Field teamed up to send the latter.
Lolohi then missed a penalty that would have equalized the score and went away again when Jermaine McGilvary crossed the corner as the match went into the final quarter. This meant that Huddersfield was in front, and with three minutes remaining, Wigan hit the winning kick when Smith’s kick was blocked by Marshall.