21st April 2020, 11:55 | 125
This week in Rugby League history saw the first-ever drawn Challenge Cup Final on April 16th 1910 as Leeds and Hull FC played at out a 7-7 draw at Huddersfield’s Fartown Ground.
It was the first time that Leeds had competed in the Challenge Cup Final while Hull FC had lost the two previous finals. A Final Replay would need to be played two days later, on Monday 18th April to separate the sides. Leeds would win the Replay in convincing fashion, 26-12, to lift their first-ever Challenge Cup while FC slumped to a third consecutive Final defeat.
Hull FC would join the Challenge Cup winners club however exactly four years later in 1914. The Black and Whites edged out Wakefield Trinity – who had beaten FC 17-0 back in 1909 – at Halifax’s Thrum Hall, 6-0. This was the first and only Challenge Cup Final to ever be held in Halifax.
Another club who earned their first-ever Challenge Cup crown this week in Rugby League history is Cumbrian outfit Workington Town on 19th April 1952. Workington had never previously featured in a Challenge Cup Final while their opponents Featherstone Rovers were also making their Wembley bow.
Workington battled to an 18-10 victory to win their first – and only – Challenge Cup to date. Town would feature in two more finals before the end of the decade but failed to win on both occasions.
This week in Rugby League history has also seen a number of firsts away from the Challenge Cup Final starting with Rugby League Down Under in Australia.
On 20th April 1908, Rugby League was born in Australia with the opening day of club Rugby League taking place. Two double-headers took place at Wentworth Park and Birchgrove Oval, with around 3000 spectators turning up to both venues.
At Wentworth Park, Easts (now Sydney Roosters) beat Newtown (now Newtown Jets) 32-16 while Glebe (Reformed in 2017) overcame Newcastle (now Newcastle Knights) 8-5.
In the double-header at Birchgrove Oval, Souths (now South Sydney Rabbitohs) beat Norths (now North Sydney Bears) 11-7 while Balmain (now Balmain Tigers) hammered Wests (now Western Suburbs Magpies) 24-0. Incidentally, current NRL side Wests Tigers were formed as a joint-venture club in 1999 between Balmain and Wests.
On April 15th 1934, France’s national Rugby League side played their first-ever fixture in Paris. The game against England drew a crowd of 20,000 however France fell to a 21-32 defeat.
Jean Galia, a former Rugby Union international and champion Boxer led France on a six-match tour of England later that year with France going on to win their first game in Hull.
Did you know?
April 15: In 1934, France’s national team stages its first-ever game against England in Paris. The game was watched by a crowd of 20,000 people but the French fell to a 21-32 defeat.
April 16: In 1947, the Press and Publicity committee was asked to ‘circularise’ clubs as well as ask coaches to promote the Challenge Cup Final with pitchside banners. This saw an increase of over 20,000 spectators to the final compared to 1946.
April 17: In 1946, the Committee agreed to pay a touch judge £4 a week during his incapacity after a spectator struck him during the Challenge Cup Semi-Final at Leeds.
April 18: In 1934, Odsal Stadium was inspected by the Committee. They asked Bradford to create a proposal and loan application soon to help for the building of stands and kitting out the field at the club’s new home.
April 19: In 1948, payment of match officials was discussed for the 1947-48 Challenge Cup Final, specifically referees, touch judges and the reserve referee. Each would be paid £10, £3 and £5 respectively, with up to 15 shillings’ worth of expenses per day.
April 20: In 1909, Egerton FC asked the Committee if suspending their players would restrict them from continuing to play for Workshop Competitions rather than the club. The Committee replied that ‘such a suspension would not apply outside their own club’.
April 21: In 1937, it was decided that if the Challenge Cup final was to be a draw, the replay would take place at Leeds’ Headingley Stadium. No replay was needed with Widnes beating Keighley 18-5.
Born on this Day:
April 15: Willie Mason (Former Australia and Tonga International), Shaun Lunt (Former England International), Dane Manning (Halifax)
April 16: Kane Bentley (Toulouse Olympique)
April 17: Brett Ferres (Featherstone Rovers and England), Paul Cooke (Former England International
April 18: Mikey Wood (Bradford Bulls)
April 19: Paul Hulme (Former Great Britian International),
April 20: Joe Jones (Former England and Wales International), Bernard Dwyer (Former Great Britain and Ireland International), Michael Jennings (Australia and Tonga), Liam Harris (Doncaster)
April 21: George Parsons (Former Great Britain and Wales International), Petero Civoniceva (Former Australia International), Garreth Carvell (Former Great Britain, Wales and England International), Josh Mantellato (Italy), Tyrone McCarthy (Salford Red Devils and Ireland), Dalton Grant (London Skolars), George Burgess (Wigan Warriors and England), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs and England),Tony Maurel (Toulouse Olympique and France), Matthew Marsh (York City Knights)