NOW AN assistant-coach at Castleford Tigers, Ryan Sheridan was one of Leeds Rhinos’ last-gasp heroes in an epic win at the Jungle 16 years ago.
Sheridan’s try and a nerveless conversion by Iestyn Harris in the final seconds secured a 20-18 win for the visitors, who had seemed dead and buried at half-time.
Tigers led for 78 minutes of a pulsating midweek derby, played on May 31, 2000 and there were just 40 seconds left on the timekeepers’ watches when Sheridan went over at the left-hand corner – in front of Leeds’ travelling fans – to level the scores.
That gave Harris a difficult conversion attempt to win the match and he duly delivered with a pin-point kick to send Leeds’ players and support wild with delight.
Remarkably, Harris had failed to convert any of Leeds’ three earlier tries, though he had landed a penalty goal.
Tigers led 18-6 at half-time, but could not add to their tally as Rhinos clawed their way back into the game in the second period.
Keith Senior’s try began the fightback on 54 minutes, but there were only 16 minutes remaining when Graham Mackay powered in for the visitors’ second try.
Cas looked to have weathered the storm, but a barnstorming run by Anthony Farrell carried Leeds upfield and gave Sheridan his opportunity.
In front of a crowd of more than 11,000, Tigers had gone ahead through a Brad Davis try after just two minutes, Danny Orr – also now a member of Cas’ backroom staff – landing the first of his three conversion.
Harris replied with a penalty goal, but Ian Tonks and Dean Sampson went over for the hosts either side of a touchdown by Leeds’ recalled winger Paul Sterling.
When Orr added the extras, Tigers’ ground announcer read out the score “for the benefit of the Leeds fans at the Railway End who can’t see the scoreboard’.
It was those supporters who were to have the last laugh.
Castleford Tigers 18
(Tries: Davis, Tonks, Sampson. Goals: Orr 3)
Leeds Rhinos 20 (Tries: Sterling, Senior, Mackay, Sheridan. Goals: Harris 2)
May 31, 2000, Super League
Castleford Tigers: Flowers, Wells, Campbell, Eager, Mathers, Orr, Davis, Sampson, Raper, Sykes, Tonks, Shaw, Vowles. Subs: Lynch, Wright, Harland, Shaw.
Leeds Rhinos: Cummins, Sterling, Blackmore, Senior, Pratt, Harris, Sheridan, Fleary, Jackson, McDermott, Morley, Barnhill, Hay. Subs: Mathiou, Mackay, Powell, Farrell.
Referee: Robert Connolly.