Leigh Leopards are having a rollercoaster season in which they’ve beaten the likes of Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves and St Helens in the league lifting them to a lofty second place in Super League.
On top of that they’ve since beaten Saints for a second time with their victory on Saturday assuring them a place at Wembley for the Challenge Cup Final.
It was an incredibly hard fought game at the Halliwell Jones but the Leopards edged it 12-10 despite a late St Helens try almost sending the game to golden point.
Fortunately for the Leopards the conversion was missed and there were few more delighted that owner Derek Beaumont who spoke passionately and emotionally at the final whistle.
He started with immense praise for head coach Adrian Lam after being asked what the PNG man had done for Leigh as a club.
“This, everything!”, Beaumont explained to the Sportsman Rugby League Youtube chanel.
“He’s the biggest signing I’ve ever made. He was hell of a player ad he’s a hell of a coach, but it’s the way he does it, it’s the way he has everyone with a smile on their face.
“I mean, you look at that game, I thought Saints played near perfect rugby in the first half, some big moments, 40-20 kick, had us under immense pressure, one try from a dive over which Lammy will have hated and the lads will because we spoke about that, but the way he’s turned it round at half time.
“You see the difference in the two sides and what we did, that’s when the coach earns his money, so he’s got all week, he’s got his selection, he’s got on with it, when the boys pass up across the whitewash he’s down to them, and then the coach can earn his bit at half time and I think that Lammy did that, didn’t he?”
The Leopards had trailed 6-0 at half time but second half tries from Oliver Holmes and Zak Hardaker secured the game for Leigh, and with it a ticket to the promised land of Wembley for a cup final.
” I’m just going to savour it. Big respect to St Helens as well, I want to say that,” Beaumont said before detailing how close the clubs had worked with each other.
We worked closely with Mike Rush before it so that we had everything in place between us and whichever team got there would take the hotel and everything else, so, you know, we’re really good close friends as clubs.
“I’ve a lot of respect for Eamonn McManus who owns that and all the players. They’re a fantastic side, they won the World Cup challenge and they deserve a lot of respect for that but I just think it shows how far we’ve come and how good we are and how much our boys wanted it.”
The flamboyant owner then promised that fans would be in for a treat with his fashion choice for the final and explained that there could be subsidised travel.
“hen I get to Wembley, well you’ll see what I’ll be looking like but it won’t be jacket.
“I reckon there’ll be plenty of fans down there, you know. There’s not going to be many people left in Leigh that day.
“I’m a guy who tries to be charitable, our council is as well and we work together on things like that.
“We’re going to look at trying to put some transport on for people that otherwise wouldn’t be able to go and things like that. So it’s a big three weeks now.
“A lot of stuff’s already been done in case we got here, I believed we could and you’ll see the evidence in that. It would have been a few quid down the drain if we didn’t but it’s worked out for me.”
The Leopards will face Hull KR on August 12th under the iconic arch with Rovers looking for a first win since 1980, whilst Leigh will hope to break a 52-year drought dating back to 1971.