Jonny Lomax did make the starting 13 despite being a doubt with injury and as the game got underway slotted in at full back with Welsby playing in the halves.
But it was Wigan who came out of the traps the quicker and opened the scoring very early on. Saints made a mistake in defence and the Warriors worked the ball to their left edge where Jake Bibby found Liam Marshall who finished in the corner. Harry Smith missed the conversion, 4-0 Saints trailed.
Joe Batchelor was then sent to the sin bin for Saints. Wigan broke through Bevan French, but Jack Welsby did very well to catch him and bring him down inches short of the line, the play the ball was messy and the referee judged Batchelor to have held on too long as the Saints defenders scurried back.
Wigan made the most of their man advantage. Cade Cust drove the ball forward and spun over the try-line to increase the Wigan lead. Smith missed the conversion, 8-0 Saints trailed.
Wigan grabbed their third try before the break, Liam Farrell got the ball on the left around 20 metres out and ran through the heart of the Saints defence to score. Smith converted, 14-0.
Saints’ best chance of the half came in the 35th minute, a high Lomax kick was caught by Mark Percival, he then broke towards the try line but was held up inches short. That was the last big chance of the first 40, as Wigan led 14-0 at the break in West Yorkshire after an uncharacteristically poor Saints first half display.
Saints started the second half much better, a move down the right saw Welsby find Konrad Hurrell who powered over three Warriors defenders from close range. Tommy Makinson nailed the touchline conversion, 14-6 Wigan led.
Saints had the momentum and another try followed quickly after. A high Lomax kick to Saints right edge was palmed down by Makinson and Lomax pounced quickest on the loose ball to stroll over and reduce the deficit. Makinson converted again to make it a two-point game, 14-12.
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) May 7, 2022
In the blink of an eye we were ahead as Saints completed a remarkable comeback with a third try on the 57th minute. After earning a ‘six again’ call on Wigan’s line we worked the ball from right to left, skipper James Roby then went for a dart himself and stretched out to score. Makinson converted, 18-14 Saints led!
But against the run of play, Marshall grabbed his second of the game. Saints threw a loose pass in the midfield and Marshall grabbed toy and ran 60 metres to score. Smith added the conversion, 20-18 Wigan led with just over 10 minutes to go.
Saints pushed forward, but could not find the winner and a game of two halves ended in Wigan’s favour as Saints bowed out of the Challenge Cup at the semi-final stage.
Wigan Warriors Team: Jai Field, Liam Marshall, Jake Bibby, Ian Thornley, Bevan French, Cade Cust, Harry Smith, Brad Singleton, Brad O’Neill, Liam Byrne, Liam Farrell, John Bateman, Morgan Smithies.
Interchanges: Patrick Mago, Kaide Ellis, Ethan Havard, Joe Shorrocks.
Tries: Liam Marshall (3, 68), Cade Cust (19), Liam Farrell (30)
Conversions: Harry Smith (1 from 3)
Saints Team: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Konrad Hurrell, Mark Percival, Josh Simm, Ben Davies, Jonny Lomax, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Joe Batchelor, Sione Mata’utia, Morgan Knowles.
Interchanges: Joey Lussick, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Agnatius Paasi, Curtis Sironen.
Tries: Konrad Hurrell (47), Jonny Lomax (50), James Roby (57)
Conversions: Tommy Makinson (3 from 3)
Sin Bin: Joe Batchelor (17)