18th July 2018, 09:48 | ChallengeCup

60 Years Ago: 1958 Challenge Cup Final

60 Years Ago: 1958 Challenge Cup Final

It’s 1958 the Queen has reopened Gatwick Airport after a £7,000,000 expansion; Ian Fleming releases James Bond novel, Dr.No, Darkest Hour star Gary Oldman has been born and work on Britain’s first full length motorway begins.

Saturday 10th May, BBC televise the 1958 Challenge Cup final, it’s unrecognizable compared to the modern-day era; no social media, no replica jerseys, three points for a try, even Ike Southwark and Jack Cunliffe’s penalty kick technique cannot be comparable to someone like Danny Richardson.

Over 65,000 spectators are crammed into the terraces of a partially roofed Wembley Stadium on a hot summers day; males dressed in their finest jackets and trousers, women with their hair pin curled, while children padded themselves in jumpers and blazers donning a flat cap and swinging their clappers.

Wigan face Workington in the Challenge Cup final, Wigan have defeated; Whitehaven, Wakefield, Oldham and Rochdale along the way. While Workington beat; Leigh, Widnes, Warrington and Featherstone.

Wigan last won the Challenge Cup seven years before, the only remaining players from that team were veterans Ernie Ashcroft and Cunliffe, they started the season strong, winning 13 of their first 14 games.

1958 Challenge Cup Final

Wigan only had two players with previous Challenge Cup final history, however, they had Billy Boston, Wigan’s record try scorer, amounting 478 tries in 485 games, in 1986 he was awarded an MBE for his services to rugby league.

Workington were appearing in their first final since losing to Barrow in 1955, Southward, Town’s all-time leading try scorer was hoping to win the Challenge Cup for the first time, his sides last Challenge Cup victory came in 1952 against Featherstone Rovers.

Southward opened the scoring for Workington Town as he crossed the line to score a try before kicking the conversion to give Town a 5-0 lead.

That lead was short-lived as Wigan equalised after a Mick Sullivan try and Cunfliffe conversion.

Ten-minutes later Wigan took the lead, John Barton forced his way over the Warrington try line after a superb offload by scrum-half Rees Thomas.

Thomas, the one cap Welsh international went on to win the Lance Todd Trophy in 1958 final, a year later he helped Wigan retain their Challenge Cup title by beating Hull 30-13 at Wembley.

Workington added two points to their tally before half-time, Ike Southward kicked a penalty goal, his side went into the break three points behind. 

With no substitutions allowed in 1958, Wigan capitalised after Workington’s Andy Key and Brian Edgar temporarily left the field due to injury, Brian McTigue scored the try while Cunliffe missed the following conversion.

McTigue also scored a try and won the Lance Todd Trophy a year later during Wigan’s win over Hull in the 1959 Challenge Cup Final.

Southward had the opportunity to shorten the lead, however, he could not convert a penalty as Workington trailed by six points, in the 60th minute he managed to convert a penalty, but Wigan held on to win the game 13-9.