There was no Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves or St Helens in the Men’s Challenge Cup Final for the first time since 1986 as Leigh Leopards and Hull KR met at Wembley.
It was well and truly Leigh’s moment as they won their first Challenge Cup Final since 1971.
It is the fourth piece of silverware Leigh have won in the last two seasons after a clean sweep of Championship trophies in 2022.
It is an amazing story for the club and it is largely down to owner Derek Beaumont who after the club’s relegation in 2021 has been committed to turning Leigh into a force rebranding them and paying for some major signings.
He also promised a Challenge Cup Final win or Grand Final win in the next three to five years before this season and has already delivered.
After the celebrations in the town, Beaumont has now issued a statement saying:
“We were blown away with our send off and how many people attended that but the home coming was mind blowing.
“I would like to thank the Marriott Hotel in Worsley for allowing us to swap into the open top bus on their grounds. When we left there and turned off the A580 to Astley and saw the gathering ahead of us right at the start point we were simply staggered by it.
“As we continued the journey we were amazed by just how many people lined the streets and were waving from their gardens and windows along the way, in between the massive gatherings in the towns of Tyldesley and Atherton which was unbelievable.
“When we finally reached Leigh it was an incredible turnout and picture that will last with us all a lifetime and made us feel so proud! The scenes and colours on show old and new just embedded how this club can move into a new era whilst retaining its heritage.
“I would like to personally thank every single person who made that effort to welcome us, it is inspirational, it really is.
“I would like to thank Wigan Council for their fantastic support and putting on such a reception for us with big screens and staging and entertainment for everyone. It shows the quality and importance of the town to the Borough and we should be proud every single one of us in whatever capacity.
“I would like to thank our police force and ambulance service for their support of the event and our highways department for managing all the road situations required to make the unique scenes possible.
“I would also like to thank the security staff and stewards that were in place throughout and did a fantastic job. It really was a great team effort from everyone involved that was befitting for the effort of the team to pull off an amazing achievement!
“It far exceeded any expectations and has left us motivated and inspired to try and now have a dream to not do something we did over fifty years ago but something we have never done before. We will draw on these images and videos to push us towards that over the coming weeks months and years.”