Five historic occasions when Leeds Rhinos and Rugby League have been beaten and battered by adverse weather conditions
With West Yorkshire still feeling the effects of a lashing from Storm Ciara – and rugby league facing a fixture backlog just two weeks into the season – we look back at five of the most famous weather-affected matches in Leeds Rhinos’ history.
1: Leeds v Salford. Christmas Eve, 1938. League. Headingley’s rugby pitch was frozen solid, but the cricket ground wasn’t so the goal posts were moved and 12,000 fans saw the Loiners win 5-0. Vic Hey became the only player to score a try on Headingley’s cricket field.
2: Leeds v Wakefield. May 11, 1968, Challenge Cup final. The most famous rugby league match of all time. A biblical downpour turned Wembley into a lake, but Leeds won the Watersplash final 11-10 thanks to a very controversial penalty try and “poor lad” Don Fox’s missed kick right at the end.
3: Leeds v Bridgend. January 27, 1985. Challenge Cup preliminary round. Fans entertained themselves with a huge snowball fight on the cricket outfield while they waited for the Welsh side to arrive. They got changed on the bus and arrived 40 minutes late after being stuck in a blizzard on the motorway. Leeds won 68-6.
4: Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers. March, 2006. Super League. More than 2,000 fans were in the ground, but referee Phil Bentham wasn’t happy with a frozen area in front of the South Stand and the game was called off. Everyone returned two days later and Leeds won 66-14.
5: January 29, 2010. Crusaders v Leeds Rhinos. Super League. Fine and sunny in Leeds, it was a whiteout in Wrexham at kick-off time. More than 10,000 spectators turned up for the start of the ‘summer’ season and Rhinos were given a fight before winning 34-6 on a snow-covered pitch.