Thirty-two became 16 after Round Four of the 2014 Tetley's Challenge Cup came to a conclusion on Sunday, with individual brilliance, controversy and tries galore across the round.
Below, we look at the complete results table from another blockbuster of a round in the Tetley's Challenge Cup, and dive into the match of the round at the John Smith's Stadium, where Huddersfield Giants took on St Helens.
|Huddersfield Giants||16-17||St Helens|
|Wakefield Wildcats||6-60||Leeds Rhinos|
|Rochdale Hornets||22-28||Leigh Centurions|
|Batley Bulldogs||10-48||Castleford Tigers|
|Keighley Cougars||54-28||Barrow Raiders|
|Featherstone Rovers||66-0||North Wales Crusaders|
|Hull KR||24-28||Warrington Wolves|
|Hunslet Hawks||27-10||Workington Town|
|Swinton Lions||31-28||York City Knights|
|Sheffield Eagles||70-28||London Skolars|
|Dewsbury Rams||6-58||Wigan Warriors|
|Catalan Dragons||40-24||London Broncos|
|Hull FC||36-37||Salford Red Devils|
Huddersfield Giants 16-17 St Helens
The game of the Fourth Round came at the John Smith’s Stadium, as a pulsating affair ended with St Helens controversially earning a place in the last 16 with a 17-16 victory over Huddersfield Giants.
St Helens took the early initiative with tries from Adam Smith and Tom Makinson, but the Giants fought back admirably with Shaun Lunt and Joe Wardle going over to put the hosts 10-8 ahead at half time.
Lunt then added his second try of the match, before the turning point of the match came on 65 minutes when Brett Ferres was handed a red card.
The England forward was rightly dismissed for a spear tackle on Jonny Lomax, as Brad Walter of the Sydney Morning Herald reported via Twitter:
Good to see Super League refs aren't scared to send players off for tackles like this one by Brett Ferres pic.twitter.com/vbiAwycSB8— Brad Walter (@BradWalterSMH) April 6, 2014
St Helens then clicked into top gear, and turned the game on its head to secure their Fifth Round place in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Makinson crossed the whitewash for his second try of the match shortly after Ferres’ red card, which Luke Walsh converted, and it was the Aussie scrum-half that had the final say in the match with just 60 seconds remaining.
Walsh’s drop goal in the dying embers of the match gave St Helens their 17-16 lead, from which the Giants had no time to recover.
However, the match could so easily have gone the other way, after Danny Brough’s drop goal was incorrectly chalked out just seconds before Walsh’s telling kick.
Following the match, Giants boss Paul Anderson vented his fury after seeing Brough’s kick ruled out during an interview with Neil Barraclough of MailOnline, and said:
“It was absolutely over. It’s just been shown on TV, hasn’t it? My question is, we go to the video referee for every little decision with regards to points-why couldn’t we go for that? We’ve asked the bloke in the van how many times, but when there’s an actual match-deciding moment we don’t bother.”
Huddersfield’s official Twitter feed also showed its frustration after the Giants had dominated until Ferres’ moment of madness:
FT Giants 16 - 17 Saints - Gut wrenching end to the game as a Luke Walsh DG sends Saints through. A Giant performance. The better team lost.— Huddersfield Giants (@Giantsrl) April 6, 2014
Super League leaders St Helens haven’t had their hands on silverware since 2008, and need to emerge through a tough fifth-round battle if they’re to end that record this year.
The Saints will take on Leeds Rhinos in the last 16, and will once again need lady luck on their side if they’re to progress on their trophy quest.
For Huddersfield, though, attention must turn to their Super League form, where they're yet to win at home in 2014, and they'll need to put this result behind them before travelling to Hull FC on 10 April.
Hull FC 36-37 Salford Red Devils
One week removed from a heavy 30-8 defeat at the hands of the same team but a week ago, the Red Devils rallied behind the play of Rangi Chase to knock out last year's finalists Hull City in a thrilling 37-36 win.
A hat-trick try from Francis Meli would force extra time within seconds of the match ending and an expertly taken drop goal by Chase would give the visitors the win as Salford continue their bid for this year's trophy.
It truly was one of the best games of rugby we've seen all year, a tremendous back-and-forth battle that lasted right up until the final kick, and The Hull FC Faithful couldn't believe no cameras were on hand to let the rest of the country enjoy the spectacle:
Whatever happens Hull and Salford have put on a great show here. What a game of rugby league. Have to laugh at the televison companies here.— The Hull FC Faithful (@HullFCFaithful) April 3, 2014
Both teams were incredibly evenly matched, as Joe Arundel (twice), Jamie Shaul (twice), Fetuli Talanoa and Jordan Ranking scored six tries for the hosts and Meli, Chase, Theo Fages and Junior Sa'u matched said number for the Devils. Jake Mullaney would make all six of his conversions, as would Ben Crooks for Hull.
Crooks could have won it for the hosts but missed his drop goal attempt, allowing Chase to steal the win and the visitors to book their place in Sunday's Round Five draw.
Key in this match was Hull's defense, as the hosts led by 10 points late in the match and still found a way to lose. Speaking to the team's official website, Lee Radford acknowledged his side could have done a better job defending the lead:
We should have defended the lead but it was a case of they score, you score. As a game as a whole, we didn’t make them work hard enough.
We said last week that they fell away a little bit after 25 minutes but we needed to make them work hard for those 25 minutes and we didn’t do that.
It’s a really flat dressing room and I haven’t had to say much after the game. Some of the efforts were really top drawer from some of them tonight and probably enough to win two games, but certain areas of the field are really costing us.
Catalan Dragons 40-24 London Broncos
The hosts easily controlled this game as most of the Broncos' scores came late in the tie and were no more than consolation. Leon Pryce scored first for the Dragons on his way to a Man of the Match performance, defying age and keeping the visiting Broncos winless on the year.
Louis Anderson (twice), Thomas Bosc, Daryl Millard, Antoni Maria and Morgan Escare all scored tries for the Dragons, with Bosc converting six times in total. Denny Solomona, Mason Caton-Brown, Iliess Macani and Nick Slyney made the final scoreline a bit more respectable, while Josh Drinkwater didn't make any of his conversions either.
Drinkwater was surely the best man on the pitch for the Londoners but an early run by the hosts that saw the team score three times within the first 20 minutes effectively ended this tie before it began.
Dewsbury Rams 6-58 Wigan Warriors
The Rams put in a valiant effort against the highly-rated visitors, going into half-time only being down by 12 points, but the hosts faded badly in the second half to give Wigan a comfortable win.
Teenager Joe Burgess scored four tries for the cup holders as the Warriors easily progressed to the next round, with Dan Sarginson, Iain Thornley (twice), Matty Smith, George Williams and Blake Green scoring the remaining tries.
Dale Morton scored the hosts' only try of the match, as the side were nearly outscored by Matty Smith's six conversions. George Williams would add three more as Smith was rested with the match well and truly in the bag.
But despite the huge scoreline, the Championship part-timers received a rousing round of applause as they left the pitch, having kept up with last year's winners for more than a full half of rugby:
Sheffield Eagles 70-28 London Skolars
Championship One club Skolars didn't stand a chance against a powerful Sheffield side that ran in 12 total tries, booking their place in the next round in emphatic fashion.
As this fan pointed out, the hosts almost looked like they were trying to beat a spread:
Guessing the Sheffield eagles players had backed London +50 today then. Skolars wouldnt beat most conference teams !!— Leon Crick (@LeonCrick) April 5, 2014
Jack Blagbrough scored a hat-trick and Michael Knowles, Misi Taulapapa, James Davey, Quentin Laulu-Togagae (twice), Loto Tagaloa, Jordan Burke, Pat Walker and Matt Garside all contributed to the romp, with Dominic Brambani missing one of his conversions.
Courtney Davies, Louis Robinson, Martyn Smith (twice) and Lloyd O'Connor scored for the visitors, as Saturday's match proved to be a huge mismatch from the very first whistle.
The Tetley's Challenge Cup will continue on Sunday with 12 fourth-round fixtures still to be played.