LIGHTNING DID not strike twice, but coach Chris Chester remained “proud” of his Wakefield Trinity Wildcats players after their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Warrington Wolves.
A year ago Chester masterminded Hull KR’s shock win over Warrington at the same stage of the competition. This time there was a gulf in class as Warrington ran in 10 tries to win 56-12 and book a Wembley date with Hull FC.
It was a one-sided contest after Wakefield had taken an early lead and Chester admitted his injury-hit side were well below their best, but he could not fault their effort.
Flanked in the post-match press conference by his daughter Isobel, Chester reflected: “We tried hard all game. It wasn’t effort that beat us, Warrington were far too good for us today.
“They were far too quick and once they get a roll on they are very hard to stop. We weren’t great, but I thought effort-wise they never gave in and I am a proud coach today.”
Wakefield were without eight first-choice players, including props Anthony England, Mickael Simon and Scott Anderson, and Chester said: “They got a lot of joy through the middle of us. We are a bit depleted in the middle with personnel missing and we struggled at times to really slow down that ruck without giving any penalties away. Fair play to Warrington, they were a little bit too quick for us, a lot more patient with the ball and a lot better team from one to 17.”
Wakefield have already secured their Super League status for next year and Chester reckons, despite the Cup defeat, it has been a successful campaign.
“There’s a lot of people in that dressing room who are very disappointed,” he said. “But we have come a long way in a short space of time.
“We have got a Super League campaign now, we’ve got seven games to look forward to and try and cause some upsets. Although it has been a tough day at the office we have a lot to be proud of with what we have achieved as a group.”
Ben Jones-Bishop and Danny Kirmond both returned from injury, but are unlikely to be fit for Friday’s trip to the other beaten semi-finalists Wigan Warriors.