Remembering Challenge Cup final of 1987 between Saints and Halifax

editorial image

It is already being dubbed the David v Goliath Rugby League Challenge Cup semi-final tie.

On paper, the showdown between Super League giants St Helens and Championship outfit Halifax at Bolton on Saturday is one of biggest-ever mis-matches at this stage of the competition which dates back to 1897.

But underdogs have been known to defy the odds and you just need to turn back the pages of sporting history to 1987 to find the day the West Yorkshire side turned the form book inside out by defeating red-hot favourites St Helens in the Wembley final.

Admittedly both teams were then playing at the same level in the Stones Bitter Championship, in which St Helens finished runners-up and Fax fifth, but Alex Murphy's charges were expected to brush aside an ageing Thrum Hall side, only to allow complacency to creep into their game and suffered a shock 19-18.

Saints: Phil Veivers, Barrie Ledger, Paul Loughlin, Mark Elia, Kevin McCormack, Brett Clark, Neil Holding, Tony Burke, Graham Liptrot, John Fieldhouse, Andy Platt, Roy Haggerty, Chris Arkwright. Subs: Paul Round, Paul Forber.

Halifax: Graham Eadie, Scott Wilson, Colin Whitfield, Grant Rix, Wilf George, Chris Anderson, Gary Stephens, Ben Beevers, Seamus McCallion, Keith Neller, Paul Dixon, Mick Scott, John Pendlebury. Subs: Brian Juliff, Neil James,

Tries - Saintgs Elia, Loughlin, Round. Goals: Loughlin (3).
Halifax tries: George, McCallion, Eadie: Goals: Whifield (3). Drop goals: Pendlebury

Attendance : 91,267

Referee: John Houldsworth (Kippax).

Lance Trophy man of the match: Graham Eadie.