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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

Fans invited to a special event remembering Watersplash

9th April 2018 | 3:26 pm

By Phil Daly

Rugby League Cares is delighted to announce that it is hosting a special event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the famous 1968 ‘Watersplash Final’.

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Rugby League Cares is delighted to announce that it is hosting a special event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the famous 1968 ‘Watersplash Final’.

The event takes place at Heritage Quay on the University of Huddersfield’s main campus on Saturday May 12, 2018 from 10.30am and is open to all Rugby League fans.

Featuring talks from some of the people involved in the match, including players from Leeds and Wakefield Trinity, as well as fans and broadcasters, the day will also include the premier of a new BBC documentary about the 1968 Challenge Cup final.

After a buffet lunch, the day will conclude with a special performance of They Walked on Water, a play written by Peter Hirst based on the book by former Wakefield MP David Hinchliffe, who was one of 87,000 people inside Wembley Stadium on that fateful day.

The match was won by Leeds in monsoon conditions after Don Fox missed a late conversion attempt in front of the posts that would have given Trinity victory.

“The events of the 1968 final are the source of raw emotion for many people even now, 50 years on, and the play tries to capture why that is,” said Peter.

“There were lots of conspiracy theories around what happened, including the suggestion that the referee was paid by Leeds, which is nonsense of course.

“What is undeniable is that he made some big mistakes during the match which affected the outcome. The referee, Mr Hebblethwaite from York, was the one who had to decide whether the game went ahead.

“What must it have been like knowing that 87,000 people had travelled down from the North of England and you had to think about calling the match off? This is a man who was offered just £10 or a new blazer badge on the day. He took the badge.

“The play examines the impact of his decisions: he later committed suicide, as did his wife; Don Fox never got over it, and in many ways Wakefield Trinity and the city itself have never been the same.”

Items of memorabilia from the final that are stored at Heritage Quay will also be on display.

Admission is free and open to a maximum 120 people on a first come, first served basis – if you would like to attend, please send your name and contact details to media@rlcares.org.uk

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