On this Day – 16th May

ON THIS DAY in 1970 Leeds played St Helens in Championship Play Off final.

Leeds had finished that year’s season strongly, recording four consecutive victories in the final run in. Their last defeat had actually come against St Helens in the league, but still Leeds were heading into this game in excellent form, having convincingly defeated Halifax, Whitehaven and Hull KR in the qualifying rounds to make it to the final.

The game took place at Bradford’s Odsal Stadium and Leeds looked like they were heading for victory when they established a 8-7 first half lead thanks to a try from Ronnie Cowan and the boot of John Holmes.

In the second half though St Helens were able to gain domination, winning five out of six scrums, which resulted in them scoring 14 points. Alan Smith added a try for the Loiners but it was not enough and St Helens were able to secure the 24-12 victory.

Leeds: Holmes; A. Smith, Hynes, Cowan, Atkinson; Shoebottom, Seabourne; Burke, Crosby, A. Eyre, Ramsey (Hick), Eccles, Batten.

ON THIS DAY in 1999 Leeds picked up an away win against Warrington Wolves. The Rhinos were the first on the scoreboard, as Iestyn Harris set Francis Cummins free on the wing to score. Centre Marvin Golden took a pass from Daryl Powell to touchdown, before Harris went from provider to scorer as he stepped through the defence to add a third Leeds try before half time.

The second half saw winger Cummins complete his hat trick. Following a penalty, Leeds advanced on the Warrington line and as the ball came out to the left edge, Cummins was free to dot the ball down. The winger had Harris to thank for his third try; the full back breaking through the defence before passing to Cummins who was waiting in the in-goal area to touch down and complete a 28-10 win.

The game saw David Wrench make his debut for Leeds. Dave was a product of the Leeds youth development system and captained the Academy to the Championship in 1997, winning the Players Academy Player of the Year. He also picked up the prestigious Roy Francis Memorial Award, awarded by then Head Coach Dean Bell, for his outstanding contribution to the club in that season, despite still being two seasons off his first team debut.

Dave, originally from Keighley, was a regular in the Alliance side for four seasons before finally breaking into the first team squad in 2001. He made 26 appearances that season whilst combining his playing duties with his role as a coach with the Rhinos GMB Apprenticeship Scheme.

ON THIS DAY in 2008, Leeds secured a 58-12 win over Wakefield Trinity. Coming into the game after three successive back to back matches on the road, Leeds produced one of their biggest wins of the season at Headingley to stay top of the league.

Danny McGuire scored within minutes of the kick off, supporting a break by Carl Ablett. Kevin Sinfield slotted the conversion, levelling Andy Farrell’s record of scoring in 48 consecutive rounds of Super League. Further scores from Eric Anselme and Rob Burrow took Leeds out to a 18-6 score line before McGuire then received a flick pass from Webb to score his second of the match.

Simon Worrall took an offload from Scott Donald to score his only try of the season and Keith Senior would get himself on the scoresheet before the half time break, Leeds leading 36-6. The Rhinos picked up where they left off in the second half. Carl Ablett scored off a Gareth Ellis offload and Danny McGuire completed his hat trick with under 20 minutes left to play. Matt Diskin and a second from Senior completed a convincing home win.

ON THIS DAY in 2015, the Rhinos kicked off their Challenge Cup retention with a convincing 48-16 home win against Huddersfield Giants.

An early mistake by Danny Brough cost the Giants as Kallum Watkins picked up the loose ball and sprinted 90 metres to score. Watkins would be in again shortly after; a quick passing move finding Sinfield who offloaded to the centre, who scored a second.

Ryan Hall got Leeds’ third inside 15 minutes before Paul Aiton and Kyle Wood exchanged tries prior to the break. The Rhinos sealed their quarter final spot with four tries in the second half.

Danny McGuire took a flick pass from Ryan Hall to score his first of the game and Adam Cuthbertson took the score to beyond 30 points with his try. Hall got his second of the match and Carl Ablett ended the game, intercepting a blind pass to score under the posts. Sinfield slotted the goal, making the final score 48-16. 

In 2019, the Rhinos were unable to build on their victory over Castleford Tigers earlier in the season when they suffered a 30-8 loss to Daryl Powell’s side in Richard Agar’s first Super League game in charge.

The home side were hoping to bounce back from their embarrassing defeat at lowly Bradford the previous week in the Challenge Cup but they came up against a determined Tigers side after their golden point loss to the Rhinos in the previous clash.