THE HEADLINE in the Yorkshire Evening Post read “Signed, sealed and (Dyl)ivered”.
Les Dyl was the hero on November 15, 1975, when Leeds lifted the Yorkshire Cup for the 13th time following a tense 15-11 victory over Hull KR.
Leeds – who had home advantage – were trailing 11-9 with five minutes remaining when they opted not to kick for goal from a penalty near Rovers’ line.
Alan Smith and Mick Harrison both went close following the tap and then, with three minutes left on the clock, centre Dyl surged over the whirtewash from acting-half.
John Holmes converted and completed the scoring with a late drop goal.
YEP reporter Arthur Haddock described it as a “ding-dong affair, not the greatest of football by any means, but loads of excitement”.
Rovers – the holders after beating Wakefield Trinity at Headingley the previous season – were left to wonder what might have been if the game had been played on neutral ground.
Headingley was chosen by the Yorkshire Rugby League committee to host the final because of its superior facilities.
Remarkably, it was the ninth time Hull KR had faced Leeds in the county cup and all of those ties were at Headingley.
The decision wasn’t hugely popular with fans, only 5,693 turning up to witness one of the sport’s showpiece events.
Rovers were also reeling from coach Arthur Bunting’s resignation five days earlier. Roger Millward and John Moore took charge of the team for the final.
Leeds called up Neil Hague in the centres so Syd Hynes could move to scrum-half in place of the injured Keith Hepworth.
Hooker Ian Payne and loose-forward Phil Cookson stood in for rib injury victims David Ward and Bob Haigh.
Leeds dominated the first half and led 7-3 at the break, Cookson crossing and Holmes booting a conversion and penalty after Clive Sullivan’s try opened the scoring for Rovers.
The visitors hit back strongly in the second half, 35-year-old Neil Fox scoring a solo try which he also converted.
Holmes kicked Leeds back in front, but Roger Millward equalised with a drop goal and Fox booted a huge penalty from five yards inside Rovers’ half to set up the dramatic finale.
(Tries: Cookson, Dyl. Goals: Holmes 4. Drop goal: Holmes)
Hull KR 11 (Tries: Sullivan, Fox. Goals: Fox 2. Drop goal: Millward)
November 15, 1975, Yorkshire Cup final
Leeds: Marshall, Smith, Hague, Dyl, Atkinson, Holmes, Hynes, Harrison, Payne, Pitchford (R Dickinson), Eccles, Batten, Cookson.
Hull KR: Wallace, Dunn, Burwell, Watson, Sullivan, Turner, Millward, Millington, C Dickinson, Lyons, Rose, Fox, Hughes.
Referee: JV Moss.