‘Watersplash Final’ set to be aired

Watersplash Final
Watersplash Final

Rugby fans can take a soggy stroll down memory lane next week as part of the 50-year celebrations to mark the famous ‘Watersplash Final’ of 1968.

The event will see the Challenge Cup game between Wakefield and Leeds being screened at Sharlston Rovers’ ground while a selection of the players will be interviewed for the BBC’s Inside-Out programme.

Planned for Tuesday, January 9, at 7pm, those expected to attend are former players Ian Brooke, Neil Fox and Alan Smith, along with former MP and rugby league fan, David Hinchliffe.

Fans who were at the game or watched it on TV are also being invited to Sharlston’s ground on Weeland Road to recount their memories.

The match earned its name because of the torrential conditions on the day.

More than 87,000 fans made the trip to London on May 11, 1968, to watch the two sides go head-to-head for the coveted trophy.

Heavy rain prior to kick-off left large sections of the usually-lush Wembley turf under several inches of water, but the controversial decision was taken to allow the game to go ahead as planned.

Another storm midway through the match caused the awful conditions to deteriorate even further.

With Wakefield trailing 11-10, Don Fox agonisingly missed a crucial last-minute conversion, handing the trophy to Leeds.

Fox had already been named man-of-the-match and was due to be awarded the Lance Todd Trophy for his performance prior to his gilt-edged opportunity in front of the posts.

Jamie Hobbs, former secretary of Sharlston Rovers is hoping people will turn out for the event.

He said: “It’s free to get in so we’re hoping to get a good few people down there, it should be a good night.

“There’s a lot older fans still remember that game, especially in Sharlston because of the Fox brothers, all of which won the Lance Todd Trophy in their careers.”