On this Day – 5th May
JAMES OLEZNIC ACTION PARIS ST GERMAIN RUGBY LEAGUE 1970'S-2007 ©VARLEY PICTURE AGENCY
ON THIS DAY in 1996 Leeds played London Broncos for the first time in Super League and lost their fifth game of the season. Leeds had not started the season off well and had only managed one win so far in the campaign, which had come in the fixture prior to this game against Sheffield Eagles.
They were though unable to build on this result and despite tries in the game from Francis Cummins, Kevin Iro and Gary Mercer and 4 goals from Graham Holroyd the 9,000 Headingley crowd witnessed their third defeat of the season, with Leeds losing 27-20.
ON THIS DAY in 1997 Leeds took on Paris St Germain at home in Super League. It was the second meeting between the sides that year, with the Rhinos claiming a 28-18 win in the first meeting. Coming into this game the Rhinos’ winning run of three consecutive games had ended with an away defeat to London Broncos, but they were back to winning ways in this fixture thanks to two tries from Francis Cummins and tries each from Anthony Farrell, Graham Holroyd and Paul Sterling. Iestyn Harris added the rest of the points in the 30-2 win with 5 goals.
ON THIS DAY in 2000 Leeds once again played London Broncos in Super League. The Rhinos had experienced a mixed start to the season, having lost their first five league games of the season, but they had had a good Challenge Cup campaign, making it to the final against Bradford only to be defeated at this stage. They came back from this disappointment with a league win over Salford and in this match made it two in a row. Keith Senior, Francis Cummins, Lee Jackson and Adrian Morley all touched down for one try each and Ryan Sheridan scored two. Iesytn Harris kicked 7 goals to give the Rhinos a 38-6 win.
ON THIS DAY in 2002 the Rhinos travelled to Salford to take on the Reds in Super League and in this game they bounced back from their home defeat to Widnes six days earlier to claim a comfortable 48-16 win at The Willows thanks to a hat trick from Mark Calderwood – his first for the club. A Ben Walker penalty had put Leeds in front after seven minutes and then Jamie Jones-Buchanan scored his first ever try for the club after nine minutes, with Marcus St Hilaire following him over the whitewash and Walker adding one conversion. Barrie McDermott then provided the offload for captain Francis Cummins to score the third try for the Rhinos.
Darren Treacy got the Reds off the mark before half time when he forced his way over to cut the deficit to 18-6, but Calderwood’s first try, four minutes after the restart, restored the advantage. Kevin Sinfield kicked the conversion but missed with a penalty on 50 minutes. However, he was on target to add the extras to Calderwood’s second. The Rhinos then scored two tries in five minutes from Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield to stretch the advantage further. Steve Blakeley stepped through the Leeds defence on 78 minutes for a late consolation, but it was Leeds who had the last word as Calderwood completed his hat-trick in the final seconds.
ON THIS DAY in 1995, Leeds took on Bradford Northern at Headingley in the Premiership Trophy. Fittingly for one of the final games of the old winter season, the game was played in stifling heat and it took a masterclass from Kevin Iro to tip the game in the favour of the home side.
The home side produced a patchy performance but when they were good they were unstoppable, particularly in the centres running out wide. In terms of entertainment, no one would have complained with some wonderful tries scored.
ON THIS DAY in 1972, Leeds progressed through to the Championship Final with a hard-fought Semi-Final triumph over Salford at Swinton, with Clawson missing seven out of eight attempts at goal, and Holmes limping off with an ankle injury, the win cast two ominous shadows of anxiety which were to have a vital bearing on the Wembley Final the following week.
In 2006, Leeds welcomed Harlequins RL to Headingley. Leeds were captained by Jamie Peacock in the absence of Kevin Sinfield through injury and were made to battle all the way by a Henry Paul-inspired Harlequins side.
ON THIS DAY in 2012, the Rhinos made the journey across to East Yorkshire to face Hull FC.
Brian McDermott’s side lost 34-20 on a tough night for the Champions as the home side pulled clear in the final stages to seal the win.
ON THIS DAY in 1923, Headingley hosted the Championship Final between Huddersfield and Hull Kingston Rovers. Hull KR were on the crest of a wave having moved to their new Craven Park stadium that season just as the Northern Union became the Rugby Football League.
Rovers reached fourth place in the league, comprehensively beating the top side Hull FC in the play-off semi-final at the Boulevard, and claimed their first ever Championship with a 15-5 success over Huddersfield at Headingley on 5th May 1923.