On this Day – 16th October

On the 16th October in years gone by Leeds have won the Yorkshire Cup on two occasions and in 2004 beat Bradford to claim the Super League trophy.

ON THIS DAY in 1977 Leeds played Featherstone in the Yorkshire Cup final. On their way to the final the Loiners had defeated Bradford, Castleford and Dewsbury, although they were forced into a replay with Castleford, having originally been held at a 12 all draw. This was Leeds’ fourth Yorkshire Cup final in five years and Les Dyl made sure his team got off to the best possible start with two tries in the first twenty-minute and Syd Hynes set up Phil Cookson for a try to give the side a first-half lead of 11-5. Graham Eccles added another try and David Marshall kicked 2 goals to earn Leeds their fourteenth Yorkshire Cup.

ON THIS DAY in 1988 Leeds took on Castleford in the Yorkshire Cup final at Elland Road and won their first piece of silverwear since the 1983-84 Regal trophy success. It was to be their seventeenth and final victory in the Yorkshire Cup final and it came against the run of form, with Castleford the favourites to clinch the trophy. Castleford had recorded an amazing 94-12 win over Huddersfield to make it to the final and Leeds had beaten Bradford, Wakefield and Hull. Three men who were essential to the team’s success were Roy Powell, Cliff Lyons and Garry Schoffield who were all in outstanding form. Carl Gibson touched down twice for the Loiners, Paul Medley also added a try and David Stephenson kicked 6 goals. But it was Schofield, who secured his one and only winners medal whilst playing for Leeds, who had the best afternoon, with two tries and a drop goal to give his side a 33-12 win.

2004 Team

ON THIS DAY in 2004 the Rhinos won the Grand Final at Old Trafford against defending champions Bradford to lift the championship for the first time for 32 years. The Super League showpiece was only decided six minutes from the end when Danny McGuire went in for his 39th try of the season. Only three players in the Leeds team were born the last time Leeds held the championship crown in 1972. It was two tries each in the end, with Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield’s 100% goalkicking proving the difference on the scoreboard – although they were the superior team for the most part. It was a different story early on, though, as Vainikolo took just seven minutes to add to his amazing try tally.

Leeds’ solitary first-half try was a fantastic solo effort from hooker Matt Diskin, who jinked his way over from dummy-half on 15 minutes and went on to clinch the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man of the match for an industrious display. Sinfield landed the conversion and also kicked a couple of penalties after the Bulls were twice punished for ball-stealing. Hape went over for Bradford. But video referee Dave Campbell disallowed the score for an earlier infringement by Radford, who clearly passed off the floor after the tackle had been completed.

Hape was not to be denied and he claimed his side’s second try three minutes into the second half when half-backs Iestyn Harris and Paul Deacon worked the ball out to the left for him to cross wide out. Deacon was off target for the second time to leave his side trailing by two points – and that was as close as it got for the Bulls, who were forced to re-shuffle their back division at half-time following the loss of full-back Michael Withers. Leeds managed to dominate the first half on the back of a pinpoint kicking game from Sinfield and McGuire, who were not afraid to target danger man Vainikolo.

The Leeds kickers succeeded in turning around the big man, and their chase was effective enough to keep him pinned back in his own 20-metre area. Nerves began to surface as the tension mounted, and both sides frittered away promising positions through handling errors. It was only in the last 10 minutes that the game came to life – with Deacon bursting clear, forcing Leeds to scramble back to halt Vainikolo.

But both defences held firm until Paul came up with one mistake too many deep inside his own half, and that allowed Senior and McGuire to work the match-winning move.