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Wigan Warriors score dramatic late try to seal first Challenge Cup final win in NINE years

A touch of class and a natural finisher – so often the difference between success and failure.

Harry Smith secured the former and Liam Marshall proved once again that he is the latter as Wigan Warriors claimed a record-lengthening 20th Challenge Cup.

Huddersfield, who last won the rugby league’s oldest and most famous trophy in 1953, fought admirably from start to finish at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

You knew they would under their impressive head coach Ian Watson, who has made the Giants a respected force this year.

Wigan Warriors have won the Challenge Cup for the 20th time, but it's their first in nine years

Wigan Warriors have won the Challenge Cup for the 20th time, but it’s their first in nine years

Liam Marshall scored the decisive try after receiving Harry Smith's 20m grab

Liam Marshall scored the decisive try after receiving Harry Smith’s 20m grab

However, at this level often tells a moment of real quality and it happened here in the most dramatic way in the 77th minute.

As Wigan scrum-half Smith gained possession in the Huddersfield half, he kept his composure to send a glorious kick into the left corner, where predatory winger Marshall arrived on pace to ground the ball.

Cur delirium in the Wigan stands and devastation among the Huddersfield hordes in the 51,628 crowd.

Missed kicks ultimately benefited Huddersfield – fullback Tui Lolohea faltered on four of his five goals and eventually had to pay the penalty.

Huddersfield led in the third minute when Lolohea scored a penalty and in the 13th minute it took an excellent defense from Smith to prevent Huddersfield from scoring.

Wigan boss Matt Peet has been part of the club as a player and coach for over 13 years

Wigan boss Matt Peet has been part of the club as a player and coach for over 13 years

Lolohea sent a smart kick behind the Warriors defense and scrum half Oliver Russell was in a foot race with opponent Smith to get the ball into the in-goal.

Smith almost managed to get there first to save Lolohea’s kick at the cost of a striker in the goal line.

It was a sign that if Watson’s men took care of themselves, they might be good enough.

Sure enough, their pressure became apparent in the 16th minute when Ricky Leutele was found in the left channel by a neat run of a ruck.

The center picked up pace and held off Iain Thornley’s challenge to fall over in the corner.

Lolohea hit the outside of a post with the conversion attempt and the Giants were dealt a major blow shortly after when Chris Hill was injured in a tackle.

Marshall (left) celebrates after scoring Wigan's dramatic third attempt late to secure the trophy

Marshall (left) celebrates after scoring Wigan’s dramatic third attempt late to secure the trophy

He had suffered a painful leg injury and had to be helped off the field in a major blow to Huddersfield.

The loss of the 34-year-old prop, a two-time Challenge Cup winner with Warrington Wolves, certainly turned the momentum around as Wigan pushed through half of their opponents.

Shortly after the Warriors forced Huddersfield into a goal-line lunge, they broke their line when Cade Cust, holding back, found Morgan Smithies in the left channel.

Loose striker Smithies, a Yorkshireman born and bred, gave an agile pass to the onrushing Smith, who ran across the line to score.

Smith added the conversion to level things up 6-6, but Huddersfield fanned himself and scored a second try to take the 10-6 lead at halftime.

After Jermaine McGillvary was denied in the right corner, the Giants continued to probe and were rewarded in the 34th minute.

Meanwhile, Huddersfield Giants' 69-year wait to taste glory in the league continues

Meanwhile, Huddersfield Giants’ 69-year wait to taste glory in the league continues

This time Jack Cogger found Lolohea and his pass sent McQueen – who won the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match – into the right channel.

The imposing Aussie second rower showed impressive footwork to make his way past Jai Field and Ethan Havard before diving over the line.

Once again, Lolohea failed to convert, leaving the Giants only four points ahead at the break.

Three minutes after the restart, Wigan made a devastating move that drove a knife through the heart of the Huddersfield defence.

Thornley found Bevan French on the right touchline and he showed impressive speed to race down the flank and then intelligence to find Field with a perfect inside pass that sent the Australian fullback across the line.

Wigan Warriors couple John Bateman and Morgan Smithies celebrate after the full-time whistle

Wigan Warriors couple John Bateman and Morgan Smithies celebrate after the full-time whistle

Smith converted to 12-10 and put Wigan ahead for the first time.

Lolohea’s woes with the shoe continued into the 49th minute when he failed to convert a penalty.

A crossfield kick from Cust then forced McGillvary to drop out into the goal line, but as the hour drew near, Wigan forward Smithies had to take a costly penalty.

Smithies, who had escaped penalty for an earlier high shot at Joe Greenwood, caught Leutele with a similar challenge.

This year's Challenge Cup final was held for the first time at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

This year’s Challenge Cup final was held for the first time at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Referee James Child chose not to sinbin the Smithies, much to the fury of the Huddersfield fans, but from the resulting penalty, the Giants worked the ball to the right wing.

Center Leroy Cudjoe’s delightful offload found teammate McGillvary and he jumped to score in the corner.

Once again Lolohea faltered, leaving one goal out of five attempts and the scores neatly tied at 14-12 in Huddersfield’s favour.

It was an advantage they couldn’t protect, as Marshall’s predatory finish of Smith’s luscious kick dealt a deadly blow.

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