On this Day – 13th May

ON THIS DAY in years gone by, Leeds took on St Helens in the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley with contrasting fortunes.

In 1972, Leeds travelled to the Twin Towers hoping to reverse their luck from the previous season when Syd Hynes dismissal against Leigh had proved costly as the Alex Murphy’s side caused a major upset.

A mix up in the first minute, led to Hepworth’s kick being charged down and St Helens took an early lead. Nevertheless, Leeds proved their mettle, holding St. Helens to six points by half-time, and storming into the attack on the resumption, for Cookson to burst over under the posts from Batten’s delayed pass: 9-12, and two certain points to follow from the conversion.

Alas, only Don Fox would know how poor Clawson felt as that crucial kick went wide. Try as Leeds would to make amends, the chance had gone, and the Cup too, yet pride had been redeemed by a gallant team: Holmes; A. Smith, Hynes (Langley), Dyl, Atkinson; Hardisty, Hepworth; Clawson, Fisher, Ramsey, Haigh, Cookson, Batten.

The roles were reversed in 1978 when the sides met again in the Challenge Cup Final. Leeds snatched the Cup from the jaws of defeat at Wembley, in a dramatic nail-biting fight-back that saw them pull up from 10 points down to 12-12, and then go ahead with two drop goals, to win 14-12. Holmes and Ward were the men who dropped Leeds in for victory and left St Helens shattered.

LEEDS: Oulton; D. Smith, Hague, Dyl, Atkinson; Holmes, Sanderson; M. Harrison, Ward, Pitchford, Eccles, Cookson, Crane. Subs: Dick, Dickinson.

ST. HELENS: Pimblett; Jones, Noonan, Glynn, Mathias; Francis, Gwilliam; Chisnall, Liptrot, James, Cunningham, Nicholls, Pinner. Subs: Ashton, Karalius.

ON THIS DAY in 2005, Leeds travelled to Leigh in Super League. The Rhinos led 28-4 at half time and never looked back from there.

The game saw Leeds travel to Hilton Park for the first time in Super League, remarkably the sides would then face each other again a week later at Headingley.

ON THIS DAY in 2011, Leeds welcomed Catalans Dragons to Headingley.

Two tries from Zak Hardaker finally broke Catalan Dragons in an absorbing battle between two sides who came into the game level in the table.

Leeds only led 6-0 at half time and just after the hour mark, it looked like a tense finish was in prospect at 12-6 however the Rhinos cut loose in the final quarter to run out comfortable winners in the end.

ON THIS DAY in 1940, Leeds travelled to York on the final day of the Yorkshire League (War Emergency) Competition which had commenced on September 30th after War had been declared between Britain and Germany after the start of the new season.

The Emergency League provided a welcome relief for an anxious public. The Home Office restricted the Headingley crowds to a maximum of 8,000, as a precautionary measure in case of air attack. Defeat by a single point at York meant that only half of Leeds’ matches were won, and with Leeds finishing in eighth position, but the fare provided was very entertaining.