ONE OF the most famous Challenge Cup wins in Leeds’ history – certainly away from Wembley – happened 49 years ago tomorrow.
On April 6, 1968, Leeds faced Wigan in the last four of the competition at Swinton’s Station Road.
The Loiners, coached by the great Roy Francis, were in sparkling form, having won their previous 16 league and cup matches.
In that time they had scored 367 points – from 75 tries and 71 goals – and conceded only 67, through nine tries and 20 goals.
Leeds were playing some of the finest rugby in the club’s history, but Wigan are always formidable opposition and were confident of repeating their 7-2 success at the same stage of the competition two years earlier.
It was the side’s sixth meeting in a Challenge Cup semi-final and Leeds had yet to get to Wembley at Wigan’s expense, but there was no stopping them this time.
Wigan went ahead through a Tyrer penalty goal, but Bev Risman – who along with Syd Hynes and Mick Clark was one of only three Leeds survivors from the tie in 1966 – levelled with a similar effort.
And Leeds went in at the break 7-2 up after John Atkinson scored one of the most glorious and important of his 340 tries in blue and amber.
Bill Ramsey’s run began the move and he found Atkinson with a cut-out pass, the winger then leaving the defence for dead on a sensational run to the line.
Risman added the conversion, but there was an escape for Leeds when Billy Boston dropped the ball over their line in the act of touching down.
Six minutes into the second half Bernard Watson raced 50 metres to touch down and Risman’s third goal opened a 10-point lead.
Tyrer hit back with a penalty goal, but that was as good as it got for Wigan. Ramsey finished off a wonderful move to put the result beyond doubt, Risman converting and then Hynes – who had kept Eric Ashton quiet all afternoon – crossed, before Barry Seabourne went over for Leeds’ fifth try and Risman’s goal completed a 25-4 success.
(Tries Atkinson, Ramsey, B Watson, Hynes, Seabourne. Goals Risman 5)
Wigan 4 (Goals Tyrer 2)
challenge cup semi-final station road, swinton april 6, 1968
Leeds: Risman, Smith, Watson, Hynes, Atkinson, Shoebottom, Seabourne, Clark, Crosby, K Eyre, A Eyre (Joyce), Ramsey, Batten.
Wigan: Tyrer, Boston, Ashton, Rowe, Francis, Hill, Parr, Stephens, Clarke, Webb, Lyon, Fogerty, Laughton.
Referee: Fred Lindop.
A brace of tries by Danny McGuire helped Rhinos to a 34-24 Easter Monday win at Catalans Dragons seven years ago today. Other try scorers were Brett Delaney, Keith Senior, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Ali Lauitiiti and Kevin Sinfield kicked five goals.
Ten years ago today Leeds snatched a dramatic 18-14 win at Bradford Bulls thanks to Scott Donald’s last-gasp try – his second of the game. Bulls led 14-6 deep into the second half, but Gareth Ellis’ touchdown began their fightback. Kevin Sinfield kicked three goals.
Leeds lost 26-23 at Castleford in their first-ever away Super League fixture 21 years ago today. Leeds’ try scorers were Mick Shaw (2), Kevin Iro and Francis Cummins. Graham Holroyd landed three goals and Anthony Gibbons booted a one-pointer.
New Hunslet were beaten 17-6 at Elland Road greyhound stadium on this day in 1978. Leeds’ try scorers were Neil Hague, Les Dyl and Kevin Dick and Chris Gibson kicked four goals.