Famous Castleford and Leeds names from the past are set to turn the clock back when they get together for a special reunion to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1988 Yorkshire Cup final at tonight’s Super League meeting between the two clubs at Headingley.
Players from both clubs will be part of a pitch parade at half-time and will be attending a reunion dinner before the game to celebrate the anniversary of a final that was played in front of 22,968 at Elland Road.
Leeds ran out winners 33-12 with two tries and a drop-goal by Garry Schofield, two tries from Carl Gibson, one from Paul Medley and six goals kicked by David Stephenson. Castleford try scorers were Giles Boothroyd and John Joyner with Martin Ketteridge kicking two goals.
The Cas try heroes are among those who have confirmed their attendance on Friday, along with Grant Anderson, Kevin Beardmore and Mal Reilly, who coached Leeds that day.
Leeds stars from the final set to attend include Dave Heron, Colin Maskill, Lee Crooks, Gary Spencer, Carl Gibson, Hugh Waddell, David Stephenson and Garry Schofield, who has fond memories of the match.
He said: “It was a huge game and a major occasion, no question about that. Both sides were up for it from the start, the standard throughout was terrific, it was played at great pace and few of the tackles missed their targets.
“There was a huge amount of prestige attached to the county cup, it was something to aim for early on in the season and Cas were flying high and favourites, going into the game unbeaten.
“Sam Backo came off the bench to do the only thing he did in a Leeds shirt, ploughing over for the winning try late on. By the time we’d finished celebrating it at Stoggies afterwards he reckoned he’d gone in from near half way.
“We had an extremely well balanced side and in Cliffy Lyons a terrific organiser. Malcolm Reilly had settled into the job as coach and from Gary Spencer at the back through to the subs on the bench we had a great mix of size, footballing ability and speed.
“For myself, to win a trophy so soon after coming home in a record move was fantastic and a justification. We couldn’t quite follow up that silverware but it was a great occasion that the game misses now.
“I’d bring the Yorkshire Cup back over Christmas and with the pre-season friendlies. It would make them meaningful and give more sides something to play for. If the top teams wanted to rest some of their big guns that would be fine because it would open it up. It could be a great start to the season, no more than a maximum of four games for anyone and would give greater intensity to the games. The Yorkshire Cup really meant something and so it could again.”
The teams from the 1988 final were:
Leeds: G Spencer, A Ettingshausen, G Schofield, D Stephenson, C Gibson, C Lyons, R Ashton, L Crooks, C Maskill, H Waddell, R Powell, M Brooke-Cowden, D Heron. Subs: P Medley, S Backo. Castleford: G Belcher, D Plange, T Marchant, G Boothroyd, C Chapman, G Anderson, R Beardmore, K Ward, K Beardmore, K England, M Ketteridge, R Gibbs, J Joyner. Subs: D Rockley, D Sampson.