Cas’ Cup Final history
Posted: Thursday 15th July 2021 - 7:00 PM
Saturday’s Betfred Challenge Cup Final against Saint Helens is edging ever closer and to get you in the mood for the big game, we take a look at how the Tigers have fared in previous fixtures at the national stadium.
Castleford’s first Challenge Cup Final was back in 1935 after getting the better of Tyldesley, Liverpool Stanley, Hunslet and Barrow to reach Wembley.
The Wheldon Road side had the likes of captain Arthur Atkinson, Leslie Adams and Billy Davies, but their opponents Huddersfield were seen as the favourites heading into the match on the 4th of May.
Tries from Tom Askin, Leslie Adams, and Bernard Cunniffe saw the underdogs defeat Huddersfield by 11 points to 8 to lift the famous trophy on the first time of asking and were greeted to a rapturous welcome on their return to the town.
It took 34 years for the Tigers to reach their next Cup Final and this time Salford were the opposition with Cas beating Wakefield to progress to the 68th staging of the showpiece event.
Ron Hill kicked Salford into the lead, however, the Fords responded with a Keith Howe try to get them in front.
Another Hill penalty put Salford back in the lead as the teams went to the sheds. Castleford came out firing in the second-half thanks to a wonderful try from Alan Hardisty. Salford nudged closer through a third penalty but the decisive score for the Tigers came through Keith Hepworth who crashed over to etch Cas’ name on the Cup for the second time.
Having waited over 30 years between their first and second visits to London, after their triumph in 1969 they were back just the following year.
The 1970 final saw Cas pitted up against Wigan in what turned out to be a low scoring affair, although the Fords fans wouldn’t have minded as they watched their side claim their third Challenge Cup Final triumph in a row.
Wigan took the lead early through the boot of Colin Tyrer but soon after Mick Redfearn levelled the scores from a kick.
Castleford clinched the only try of the match with a sweeping move to the left for Alan Lowndes to go over in the corner. They then put in an incredible defensive display against the six-time winners and another Redfearn penalty put the icing on the cake as Cas won the Cup in successive years.
1986 was the year for Castleford’s next trip to the capital and they kept their 100 percent record in Challenge Cup Finals, beating Hull KR.
Tony Marchant raced from his own half to the line to get the opening score on the day, but KR battled back with John Dorahy kicking a penalty through the posts.
Some smart thinking from Robert Beardmore extended the lead with a drop goal to take the scores to 7-2.
Gary Prohm sprinted over to get KR back in the game again but in the second half Cas showed their class. A brilliant chip and chase try from Bob Beardmore and a rapid solo run from Jamie Sandy gave Castleford some breathing space.
A late injury time effort from Hull KR looked to have won the match in dramatic fashion as John Lydiat skidded over by the corner flag. However, Dorahy hooked his conversion wide and Cas claimed their fourth Cup in one of the classic finals.
Six years later it was a rematch of the 1970 final as Wigan were the adversary once again, although on this occasion Castleford would come out on the losing side for the first time in a Challenge Cup Final.
The Cherry and Whites started quickly and grabbed a fifth minute try through Martin Offiah. Wigan then raced into a 19-0 lead at the break as Shaun Edwards and a second from Offiah gave them clear daylight.
Cas came out fighting in the second-half and Richie Blackmore’s try was converted to get them within 13 points.
Wigan were a force in that period and were unrelenting as they reaffirmed their dominance in the game through a Steve Hampson try. The Fords kept chipping away and Keith England barged over to give them a glimmer of hope, although a Frano Botica score rubber stamped the victory for the Warriors to win the Cup for the thirteenth time.
The Tigers’ most recent fixture at the big dance was in 2014, but unfortunately for Cas, it ended in defeat.
Tom Briscoe touched down with just five minutes gone but Cas fought back with a try from Daryl Clark who collected a Marc Sneyd chip to score.
This didn’t deter the Rhinos as Danny Maguire and Ryan Hall claimed a try each to take the scores to 16-4 at half-time.
Cas hearts were lifted five minutes into the second period after a run from Michael Shenton unlocked the defence and the centre passed inside for Oliver Holmes to race over from around the 20-metre line.
Leeds managed to get the crucial score to take the game away from Cas as Hall burst over from close in and Maguire added a drop goal to seal Rhinos’ victory.
Castleford’s current crop of stars will be giving their all on Saturday to write their names in the history books with thousands of the Fords faithful roaring them on from Wembley and further afield.
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