Remembering John Player Final win for St Helens against Leeds 34 years ago

Paul Loughlin had more than a fair share of ups and downs during his playing career, first with home town club St Helens and then Bradford Bulls, but this week marks the 34th anniversary of a not-to--be-forgotten display in front of 16,669 fans at Central Park, Wigan,which earned him man of the match status.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 8:33 am
Saints beat Leeds in the 1988 John Player Special final

It came in the final of the John Player Special Trophy on January 9, 1988 against West Yorkshire rivals Leeds who led 14-9 at the interval and looked on course to lift the silverware until Lockers stepped in to turn the tie on its head.

The right centre ended the game with two tries under his belt (one a blistering effort as he cut inside and crossed the Loiners' line) and three goals, but what eventually turned out to be the crucial moment was scrum half Neil Holding's successful late first-half drop goal.

Leeds, whose points came from tries by Peter Jackson and David Creasser and the latter's three goals, remained in contention but unlike Holding's successful one-pointer similar efforts by Ray Ashton and Garry Schofield didn't hit their target.

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The playing surface was like a mud bath that day and deteriorated the longer the tie went on and at times it was nearly impossible to recognise the players but they made light work of the conditions and produced a thriller.

Teams - Saints: Phil Veivers, Dave Tanner, Paul Loughlin, Mark Elia, Les Quirk, Shane Cooper, Neil Holding, Tony Burke, Paul Groves, Peter Souto, Paul Forber, Roy Haggety, Andy Platt. Subs: Dave Large, Stuart Evans.

Leeds: Marty Gurr, Steve Morris, Garry Schofield, Peter Jackson, John Basnett, David Creasser, Ray Ashton, Peter Tunks, Colin Maskill, Kevin Rayne, Roy Powell, Paul Medley, David Heron. Subs:, Carl Gibson,John Fairbank.