To celebrate what would have been the Challenge Cup Final last Saturday, I have taken a look through the archives and ranked the top five classics at the old Wembley.
Here are my choices…
5. Halifax RLFC 19-18 St Helens (1987)
Halifax stunned Saints in 87 to claim their fifth Challenge Cup title. Fax were led by Australian player-coach Chris Anderson, with fellow countryman Graham Eadie securing the Lance Todd Trophy. The latter scored a try alongside Wilf George and Seamus McCallion, with three goals from Colin Whitfield and a John Pendlebury field-goal being enough to claim the win in front of 91,000 at Wembley.
Highlights of the game below…
4. Featherstone Rovers 14-12 Hull FC (1983)
One of the greatest shocks of all time as Featherstone Rovers battled back to defeat Hull FC back in 1983. The Black & Whites were cup holders, league leaders and red-hot favourites against a team that finished 11 places below them. It was Fev who produced the goods on the day though as Man of the Match David Hobbs cancelled out efforts from Lee Crooks and James Leuluai, with the boot of centre Steve Quinn proving to be the difference.
3. Sheffield Eagles 17-8 Wigan Warriors (1998)
Three years after Wigan’s eighth consecutive Challenge Cup win, Sheffield started the match as vast underdogs in what was predicted to be the most one-sided final in Wembley history. It didn’t play out that way though as John Kear’s Eagles, led by Lance Todd Trophy winner Mark Aston, stunned the rugby league world. His two goals and drop-goal, added to tries from Nick Pinkney, Matt Crowther and Darren Turner, saw Sheffield claim their first and only cup win to date.
2. Leeds 11-10 Wakefield Trinity (1968)
The Watersplash Final is arguably the most famous match in Challenge Cup history. The Wembley pitch was unplayable due to a relentless thunderstorm and torrential downpour; however the game went ahead in front of 87,000 spectators. In a predictably scrappy game, Leeds looked to have won it late on when they were awarded a controversial obstruction try, only for Trinity winger Ken Hirst to score in the final seconds. Incredibly, Don Fox missed the conversion in front of the posts, handing Leeds an 11-10 victory and the Challenge Cup trophy. Poor lad.
1. Wigan Warriors 28-24 Hull FC (1985)
While the 68 final was the most famous, the 1985 Challenge Cup Final produced the most quality and the best game. Wigan’s Australian maestro Brett Kenny was Man of the Match, scoring a try, with John Ferguson adding another two as well as efforts from Henderson Gill and Shaun Edwards. Hull had their own superstar team, featuring Peter Sterling, however tries from James Leuluai (2), Kevin James, Steve Evans and Gary Divorty proved to be in vain as they were edged out in front of a mammoth 99,801 crowd.