Leigh Centurions go into the Betfred Challenge Cup fifth-round tie against Bradford Bulls at Odsal looking for history to repeat itself.
On the last two occasions, Leigh have beaten Bradford in the Challenge Cup, they have gone on to win the competition!
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Future international forward Joe Darwell scored the game’s only try and fullback Tommy Clarkson kicked two goals in a 7-0 quarter-final win in 1921 in front of a 12,000 crowd at
the Mather Lane ground. Leigh went on to beat Halifax 13-0 in the final at The Cliff.
The last time Leigh beat Bradford in the Challenge Cup was in a first-round tie in 1971, Alex Murphy’s side famously going on to reach the final and earn that amazing 24-7 victory over Leeds.
A try by popular winger Joe Walsh and three goals from the boot of Welshman Stuart Ferguson were enough to help Leigh to a 9-2 victory on that January day in 1971 as the Wembley cup trail began. The crowd was 11,331.
Ferguson made history that season, playing and scoring in all 48 of his side’s games, becoming only the second player in the history of the game (after Widnes’s Jimmy Hoey) to achieve that feat.
Bradford returned to Hilton Park four years later for a second-round tie and recorded a 23-5 victory with prop Maurice Platt scoring Leigh’s only try and Mick Stacey kicking a goal.
In 1991 Leigh played Bradford at the Valley Parade soccer ground, a sole Craig Burrill try their only reward for a 50-4 defeat.
The Challenge Cup format was revised in the mid-1990s and when Bradford- now renamed Bradford Bulls- visited Hilton Park in a last sixteen clash in February 1996 the competition had reached the fifth-round stage.
The Bulls ran out 44-12 winners in front of a 4,100 crowd with Glyn Davies and Andy Cheetham scoring Leigh’s tries and Chris Wilkinson kicking two goals.
Bradford went on to reach the final in 1996, losing a classic Wembley match 40-32 to St Helens despite a Robbie Paul hat-trick. Paul achieved the rare feat of winning the Lance Todd Trophy from the losing side.
The two sides met again at Wembley a year later, Saints 32-22 winners that time with Leigh-born Tommy Martyn the Lance Todd Trophy winner.
Leigh and Bradford last met in the competition in another fifth-round (last 16) tie in 2010 when the Bulls ran out 58-16 winners in front of 4,250 spectators. By now Paul was in the Leigh side playing against his old club.
Dave Armitstead, Martyn Ridyard and Stuart Donlan scored Leigh’s tries with Mick Nanyn kicking two goals.
The Leigh Centurions side on duty that day was: Donlan; Maden, Leuluai, Nanyn, Stanton; Ridyard, Paul; Hill, McConnell, Bibey, Goulden, Taylor, Armitstead. Subs Durbin, Morrison, Mort, Meekin.
Leigh’s other victory over Bradford in the competition came in 1908, an 18-3 victory at Mather Lane that featured a Bob Neville hat-trick.
Bradford beat Leigh 15-0 in a second-round tie in 1906 and ran out 7-6 winners of a first-round tie at Hilton Park in 1965. Leigh went on to reach the semi-final, losing 7-0 to Hull.
Leigh v Bradford in the Challenge Cup
1906 Round 2 (last 16) Bradford 15-0 Leigh;
1908 Round 1 (last 32) Leigh 18-3 Bradford Northern;
1921 Quarter-Final (last 8) Leigh 7-0 Bradford Northern;
1965 Round 1 (last 32) Leigh 6-7 Bradford Northern;
1971 Round 1 (last 32) Leigh 9-2 Bradford Northern;
1975 Round 2 (last 16) Leigh 5-23 Bradford Northern;
1991 Round 1 (last 32) Bradford Northern 50-4 Leigh;
1996 Round 5 (last 16) Leigh Centurions 12-44 Bradford Bulls;
2010 Round 5 (last 16) Bradford Bulls 58-16 Leigh Centurions
Overall Record: Played 9, Leigh won 3, Bradford won 6, Leigh points 77, Bradford points 202.