1st May 1948: Wigan 8 Bradford Northern 3 (1948 Challenge Cup Final)
Posted by cherryandwhite on November 20 2012 - 00:34
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Wigan v Bradford Northern - 1947-1948 Challenge Cup Final.
Saturday 1st May 1948. Kick Off 3:00pm at Wembley Stadium, London.

This cup final between Wigan and Bradford came just seven days after Bradford had ended Wigan's double hopes after defeating them 15-3 in a Championship Play Off Semi Final at Central Park.

Bradford were also hoping to retain the trophy they had won by beating Leeds the previous year. Arguably they were the favourites then but this was still a formidable Wigan outfit.

That play off result gave Bradford the theological edge going into the final and more nerves were perhaps piled on by the final being attended by the reigning King George VI. Yes, the one who just recently had that film "The King's Speech" made about him. He was the guest of honour and would present the trophy to the winning captain.

Rugby League was obviously on a high in the post war era because this Wembley final attracted a first ever "all ticket" crowd for a cup final with 91,465 in attendance. The weather for the final though was atrocious with heavy rain and wind battering the pitch. That contributed to a poor contest in which chances were limited.

The first try went to Wigan and it came from nothing really in the 20th minute. Bradford winger Eric Batten was trying to clearance kick away but Jack Hilton charged it down and then beat Batten to the ball before scoring. Ted Ward converted for a 5-0 lead.

That lead didn't last long though because Bradford soon hit back. Just four minutes later Ken Traill put a kick over to Alan Edwards on the right wing and he scored. Ernie Ward couldn't convert, so Wigan still remained in the lead 5-3.

Would you believe that 5-3 lead remained all the way until the 79th Minute. Wigan had dominated the territory but the weather was making it hard to score. The match sealing try was scored by Frank Barton. Fortunately Ted Ward's failure to kick an easy conversion didn't matter because the whistle soon went afterwards.

So Wigan had won their third Challenge Cup and it was Joe Egan who received the famous trophy from the King himself. Bradford must have played their part though because it was their prop Frank Whitcombe who won the Lance Todd Trophy despite being on the losing side. I think also the fact a prop won the man of the match, pretty much summed up this final - the weather spoiled it!

Wigan then had returned the previous weeks favour of ending Bradford's double hopes and sadly for them they also lost the league championship final to Warrington to end the season with no silverware at all.

1948 Challenge Cup Final - Team Sheets

- Wigan Position Bradford 1
1 Martin Ryan Full Back Billy Leake 1
2 Gordon Ratcliffe Winger Eric Batten 2
3 Ted Ward Centre Des Case 3
4 Ernie Ashcroft Centre Ernie Ward 4
5 Jack Hilton Winger Alan Edwards 5
6 Cec Mountford Stand Off Willie Davies 6
7 Tommy Bradshaw Scrum Half Donald Ward 7
8 Ken Gee Prop Frank Whitcombe 8
9 Joe Egan Hooker Vic Darlison 9
10 Frank Barton Prop Herbert Smith 10
11 Les White 2nd Row Barry Tyler 11
12 Billy Blan 2nd Row Trevor Foster 12
13 Bill Hudson L.Forward Ken Traill 13
- Jim Sullivan Coach Dai Rees -

1948 Challenge Cup Final - Score Sheet

Wigan 8 --- Bradford 3
Tries (2):
Jack Hilton
Frank Barton
--- Tries (1):
Alan Edwards
Ted Ward 1/2
--- Goals:
Ernie Ward 0/1

1929 Challenge Cup Final - Scoring and Incident Pattern

20th Minute Wigan 03 Bradford 00 Try: Jack Hilton
- Wigan 05 Bradford 00 Conversion: Ted Ward (1/1)
24th Minute Wigan 05 Bradford 03

Try: Alan Edwards

- Wigan 05 Bradford 03

E.Ward Missed Conversion (0/1)

Half Time Wigan 05 Bradford 03
79th Minute Wigan 08 Bradford 03 Try: Frank Barton
- Wigan 08 Bradford 03 T.Ward Missed Conversion (1/2)
Full Time Wigan 08 Bradford 03

Other Details

Referee: George Phillips (Widnes)
Attendance: 91,465
Weather: Heavy Rain and Wind.

Television: Live Coverage on BBC Television from 2:45pm to 4:40pm. Presenter: Keith Rogers. Commentary: Michael Henderson & George Duckworth
Radio: Live Commentary on the BBC Home Service in Northern Regions between 2:50pm and 4:45pm
Note: TV Coverage was only broadcast in Southern England as the only TV transmitter at the time was in London.

BBC Television - 1st May 1948
11:00am Newsreel (till 12noon)
2:30pm In Our Garden with F.Streeter
2:45pm Rugby League Challenge Cup Final: Wigan v Bradford (till 4:40pm)
8:30pm Spotlight on Sport - Horse Racing
8:50pm "Cafe Continental" - International Cabaret
9:50pm Viewers' Vote
10:00pm Newsreel (Repeat of Friday's Edition)
10:15pm News (Sound Only)
10:30pm Closedown