Catalans Dragons 36 Wakefield Trinity 24 - Trinity booted out of Coral Challenge Cup
A spirited performance salvaged some pride for Wakefield Trinity, but it is Catalans Dragoins who will feature in the quarter-finals of the Coral Challenge Cup.
Trinity were beaten 36-24 in a behind closed doors sixth round tie in Huddersfield, a week after being crushed 58-0 by the same opposition in Betfred Super League.
Trinity conceded six tries, four of them coming from kicks, as Josh Drinkwater's boot and the finishing of David Mead were the difference between the sides.
It was a better effort all round following by injury-weakened Wakefield, but they only looked like potential winners for a brief spell immediately after half-time.
A try got them back in the game at 20-12 down with 33 minutes remaining, but they came off worst after both sides had a player sin-binned and three quick tries secured Catalans’ passage to the quarter-finals.
All four tries in the opening 40 minutes came from kicks, Drinkwater’s boot creating three of them as he targeted Trinity’s right-flank combination of centre Jack Croft and winger Max Jowitt.
Catalans broke the deadlock after six minutes when the scrum-half slid the ball over the line and Mead ran through to touch down.
The sides cancelled each other out until the 24th minute when Drinkwater targeted the same spot and Fouad Yaha went over.
Trinity had spells of pressure, but didn’t end their sets well and never threatened to carry the ball over Catalans’ line.
On 31 minutes Jacob Miller made a rare break up the middle and in the same set Ryan Hampshire kicked to his right and Jay Pitts got there ahead of a defender to dab the ball down.
Hampshire added the extras, but Jordan Crowther’s error put Trinity straight back under pressure and after a penalty goal for a high tackle, Mead scored his second try from Drinkwater’s precise kick.
James Maloney converted all three, as well as landing the penalty, but Trinity got themselves back in the game, again, seven minutes after the interval.
Wakefield applied sustained pressure for the first time and also had a rare slice of luck as Yaha slipped trying to gather Hampshire’s grubber and Pitts and Jowitt touched down simultaneously - the score being awarded to the former in the stadium.
Hampshire’s conversion cut the gap to eight points and for the first time Catalans looked rattled and Trinity had wind in their sails.
The decisive turning point came on 54 minutes when a skirmish erupted close to Trinity’s line and Pitts - with blood pouring from a head wound - and Dragons’ Michael McIlorum were sin-binned.
The penalty went to the French side and Ben Garcia ducked through a gap on the blindside from acting-half.
Moments later Mead completed his hat-trick and then the centre turned provider with a kick which Matt Whitley touched down.
Maloney converted the Mead and Whitley scores and suddenly Wakefield trailed 36-12 and were on their way out of the Cup.
They did keep battling though and two late scores was a better reflection of their effort.
Tinirau Arona went over with five minutes left and two from time Miller latched on to Hampshire’s kick.
Hampshire converted both, but Trinity had left it too late.
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