With the huge Challenge Cup semi-final with Hull FC just days away, Wigan TV are building up to the game by putting one classic semi-final online each day this week.
The four games featured ahead of Friday’s huge game are:
1984 v York at Elland Road, Leeds (24/03/1984)
This particular Semi Final was a huge occasion for a generation of Wigan fans who had seen little success in the Challenge Cup. Wigan hadn’t played at Wembley since 1970 and had only reached the Quarter Finals twice in the thirteen seasons that followed. The indignity of relegation had also been suffered just four years earlier in 1980. Coach Alex Murphy though was sparking a revival but Wembley was the holy grail and the pressure was on to achieve that goal. Second Division York were the opponents in this Semi Final on a heavily waterlogged Elland Road Surface.
1989 v Warrington at Maine Road, Manchester (25/03/1989)
Wigan, St Helens, Widnes and Warrington had won through to create an all Lancashire Challenge Cup Semi Final line up and Wigan ended up drawing Warrington. A huge crowd of 26,529 made the journey to Manchester City’s old Maine Road Ground and witnessed an incredibly tight contest that was decided by a remarkable drop goal from Joe Lydon.
1990 v St Helens at Old Trafford, Manchester (10/03/1990)
For the second year in a row it was an all Lancashire Challenge Cup Semi Final line up with Oldham joining Warrington, St Helens and Wigan in the hat. Wigan drew St Helens in what was a repeat of the previous season’s final that had seen Wigan humiliate Saints by winning 27-0. This time though the match was mightily competitive with 26,489 witnessing a thrilling finish.
2002 v Castleford at Headingley, Leeds (13/04/2002)
The poor 2001 Grand Final loss to Bradford being followed up by early season defeats to St Helens, Bradford and Hull had put Wigan coach Stuart Raper under huge pressure heading into this Challenge Cup Semi Final against his old side Castleford at Headingley. Raper had given a youngster called Sean O’Loughlin a debut the week before this match but he decided to go with alternate hooker Mark Smith instead of Lockers for this Semi. With Wembley under renovation the prize at stake was instead a trip to Murrayfield but progression would prove not to be an easy task.
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