Leeds Rhinos Nostalgia: Leeds nil Wakefield to reach Wembley without conceding a single point

The old Huddersfield Fartown ground.
The old Huddersfield Fartown ground.
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HISTORY WAS created when Leeds beat Wakefield Trinity in a Challenge Cup semi-final 69 years ago tomorrow.

Leeds became the first – and so far only – team to reach the competition final without having conceded a point along the way.

The early months of 1947 suffered a big freeze and rugby was wiped out from the start of February until the second week in March.

That led to a huge fixture backlog and Leeds’ season did not finish until June 7, when they lost at Wigan in a Championship semi-final – having played eight games in May.

The Loiners’ Cup campaign began in March when they beat Barrow 12-0 and 6-0 in the two-legged first round, both ties being played at Headingley because of the bad weather.

Hunslet were seen off 5-0 at Headingley in the second round and Leeds travelled to Central Park to face Wigan in the quarter-finals.

Leeds’ players held a meeting with club directors on the team coach before heading across the Pennines in an attempt to talk the club into increasing their win bonus.

In the end they went into the game with the promise of £15 per man for a victory, the best reward in the club’s history.

That did the trick as Leeds came through 5-0, after Bert Cook had given them the lead with an incredible penalty out of the mud from the half-way line.

Leeds beat Hunslet, Batley, Castleford, Bramley and Swinton in league games in the space of nine days after the success against Wigan and travelled to Huddersfield’s Fartown ground for the semi-final in confident mood.

Wakefield were the holders, but Leeds proved too strong and went through to their second Wembley final 21-0.

Dicky Williams scored the only try of the first half and Trinity winger Dennis Baddeley had a touchdown disallowed – because of a Leeds obstruction, with the penalty going to Wakefield – early in the second.

That broke Trinity’s resistance and Ike Owens, Chris Brereton, Ernest Whitehead and Cook all crossed in the final quarter, Cook booting two conversions and a penalty.

Leeds’ defence was eventually breached in the final, when they lost 8-4 to Bradford Northern.


Leeds 21

(Tries: Williams, Owens, Brereton, Whitehead, Cook. Goals: Cook 3)

Wakefield Trinity 0

April 19, 1947. Challenge Cup semi-final, at Fartown.

Leeds: Cook, Cornelius, Price, T Williams, Whitehead, R Williams, Jenkins, Brereton, Murphy, Prosser, Clues, Watson, Owens.

Wakefield Trinity: Teall, Longley, Stott, Fletcher, Baddeley, Rylance, Goodfellow, Wilkinson, Marson, Higgins, Exley, Booth, Bratley.

Reeree: G Phillips (Widnes).

Attendance: 35,136.

Rising star, Cameron Smith.

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