Classic Cup finals

Last Updated: 27/08/08 4:12pm

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Kear: Midas touch

Kear: Midas touch

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1968, LEEDS 11 WAKEFIELD 10

Had this year's semi-finals produced different results, there could have been a re-enactment of the most dramatic finish to a big match, the famous "watersplash" final of 40 years ago.

Wakefield looked set to snatch victory when they scored a last-minute try near the posts but, in unique conditions made atrocious by a heavy downpour just before kick-off, the late Don Fox missed what appeared to be a simple conversion.

Fox had already done enough to win the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match but it was no consolation for the error that brought him everlasting fame.

1985, WIGAN 28 HULL 24

The 50th Challenge Cup final at Wembley is best remembered for the half-back duel between Australian legends Brett Kenny (Wigan) and Peter Sterling (Hull) but there was a plethora of world-class talent on show in a breathtaking showpiece.

Wigan winger Henderson Gill scored one of the great Challenge Cup tries, producing a trademark smile after going almost the length of the field, while Australian John Ferguson justified his 24,000-mile round trip with a brace of touchdowns.

Wigan led 28-12 after an hour but James Leuluai, one of six overseas players in the Hull team, sparked a fightback which produced three tries in a 12-minute spell that left Graeme West's men hanging on for victory.

1996, ST HELENS 40 BRADFORD 32

The first final of the Super League era still holds the record for the biggest comeback, with St Helens overturning a 14-point deficit to lift the trophy in Shaun McRae's first season at Knowsley Road and lift the club out of the shadow of arch-rivals Wigan.

Bradford, for whom a 20-year-old Robbie Paul scored a hat-trick of tries to win the Lance Todd Trophy, looked set to grab the glory when they led 26-12 after 53 minutes.

But Bobbie Goulding launched the Saints' fightback, tormenting Bradford full-back Nathan Graham with a series of high kicks that helped produce five tries in the last 23 minutes, including one for current captain Keiron Cunningham.

1998, SHEFFIELD EAGLES 17 WIGAN 8

Wigan were 1-14 with the bookmakers to recapture the cup after a three-year break but, not for the first time, John Kear had other ideas as he masterminded one of the biggest sporting shocks of all time.

Sheffield were completely unfancied and finished the Super League season in eighth place out of 12 but Kear had been telling anyone prepared to listen right from the start of the season that the Eagles were going to lift the cup.

First-half tries from wingers Nick Pinkney and Matt Crowther put Sheffield 10-0 up but it was only when Wigan captain Andy Farrell had a try disallowed on 64 minutes that the crowd began to sense an upset.

2005, HULL 25 LEEDS 24

A try three minutes from the end by Paul Cooke finally settled a cliffhanger at the Millennium Stadium, bringing the game's oldest trophy to Hull for the first time since 1982.

A gripping encounter seemed to be tilting the way of favourites Leeds until Hull managed to regain possession from Shayne McMenemy's low kick. Richard Horne switched the direction of play and there was the lanky Cooke to stride through a gap in an exhausted defence for the match-winning try.

Danny Brough, who had earlier put over what turned out to be a crucial drop goal, kept his nerve to put the seal on Hull's win with the successful conversion that clinched a second unlikely cup triumph for coach John Kear.

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