Hull FC coach Lee Radford insisted he never feared Sheffield Eagles would deliver a Challenge Cup shock.
The South Yorkshire club produced the biggest upset in the competition’s history when they defeated Wigan in the 1998 final and the part-timers were hoping to down their Super League opponents at Bramall Lane yesterday.
Sheffield were 22-0 behind at half-time but fought back to 22-12 on the hour and then had a try disallowed before eventually succumbing 34-12.
Radford had taken some players off to rest them up for Friday’s game with Huddersfield but said: “I thought we had a big enough gap to do that. The first 40 was really pleasing but obviously the second period got a bit patchy with the changes we made. We did enough to get the result though and that’s all I’m bothered about.
“When it became a bit of a scrappy affair, Sheffield played with a lot of enthusiasm.
“They’re a tidy side in the Championship and I’m sure they’ll be thereabouts come the end of the season.”
Sheffield coach Mark Aston said: “We showed them too much respect and made too many mistakes. You can’t win games if you don’t complete your sets and we had 50 per cent ball control. But I’m immensely proud of them. They had a dig in the second half and got it back to 22-12.
“We also had a try disallowed which might have made them a bit twitchy and they scored two late tries which made the score flattering for them. We had four key players missing but I thought there were some outstanding performances against a pretty strong Hull team.”