With Hull KR, St Helens and the Huddersfield Giants already confirmed for the 2022 Challenge Cup Semi-Final double-header at Elland Road, all that remained was for Wakefield Trinity and Wigan Warriors to do battle for the final spot in Sunday afternoon´s game at Belle Vue.
Trinity were missing a handful of stars including superstar winger Tom Johnstone, Jacob Miller and David Fifita but Wigan were close to full strength for this crucial cup tie.
The bookies favoured the nineteen-time cup winners from Wigan as they game Wakefield an eight-point start on the handicap coupon, but most pundits were struggling to choose between the two sides, especially after a recent great run of games from Trinity which has seen them into the top half of the table and eliminating Warrington in the previous round of the cup.
A sensational, second minute, Mason Lino 40-20 gave Trinity good early possession deep inside the Warriors twenty and on the last tackle of the following set Wigan knocked on by their own line. Wakefield were controlling the opening exchanges.
Totally against the run of play, and after absorbing the Trinity onslaught, Farrell made a superb break through the Wakefield defence and found Jai Field in support to run the remaining thirty to dive over in the corner. Zak Hardaker converted from the touchline for a 6-0 lead with fourteen minutes on the clock.
Lewis Murphy prevented a certain try when he dislodged the ball as Ian Thornley went for the corner on eighteen.
After having an earlier effort ruled out, Murphy scored a spectacular one handed try in the left corner as two Wigan tacklers tried to push him into touch. Max Jowitt put the conversion between the uprights to level the scores, no less than Wakefield deserved after a sensational two minutes for the Trinity winger.
Another Lino 40-20 on twenty-six allowed more Trinity pressure which resulted in yet anther goal line drop out but in the second play it all came to nothing as lee Gaskell had a try ruled out for an obstruction.
Five minutes before the interval Wigan battered their way down the centre of the field with Tommy Leuluai going close before offloading to Ethan Havard to cross by the right upright. Hardaker was again on target and the Warriors rook a hard earned 12-6 lead into the sheds.
There was under a minute on the second half clock as Jai Field ripped Trinity apart down the centre of the field off a John Bateman pass to dot down under the sticks and make the Hardaker conversion a formality.
Wigan were in total control on sixty-two when Bevan French broke down the middle before finally being hauled down but in the next play Bateman found Hardaker in space down the right wing to cross and round closer to the sticks to make his own kick easier to move the score line to 24-6.
It was a comedy of errors at the back from Wakefield on seventy with Liam Farrell being on hand to take a twice spilled ball and walk over the line to score under the sticks. Hardaker added fifth conversion of the afternoon for 30-6 as Wigan cruised into the semi-finals.
Field completed his hat-trick with a ten metre try on seventy-eight minutes for a little bot of icing on the Warriors cake. Hardaker added a sixth conversion as the final hooter sounded on a 36-6 win.
Wigan will now face St Helens in the semi-finals at Elland Road in Leeds in early May for a chance to face the winners of Huddersfield and Hull KR at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Wakefield were the best side in the first half although they still went into the interval trailing by six, but the second half was dominated by the Warriors who shut out the home side to keep them pointless in the second forty in a thoroughly professional display.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt (G), Kay, Lyne, Hall, Murphy (T), Gaskell, Lino, Arona, Hood, Tanginoa, Pitts, Ashurst, Batchelor. Subs: Whitbread, Bowes, Battye, Crowther.
Wigan Warriors: Field (3T), Thornley, Hardaker (T, 6G), Bibby, French, Cust, Leuluai, Singleton, Powell, Partington, Farrell (T), Bateman, Smithies. Subs: Mago, Byrne, Shorrocks, Havard (T).
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 4-6, 6-6, 6-10, 6-12 : HT : 6-16, 6-18, 6-22, 6-24, 6-28, 6-30, 6-34, 6-36 : FT .
Referee: James Child.