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5th May 1951: Wigan 10 Barrow 0 (1951 Challenge Cup Final)
Posted by cherryandwhite on November 25 2012 - 21:15
Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Wigan v Barrow - 1950-1951 Challenge Cup Final.
Saturday 5th May 1951. Kick Off 3:00pm at Wembley Stadium, London.

In the three years since the last Challenge Cup success, Wigan had won another league title in 1950 and had also earlier in this season won the Lancashire Cup for the fifth year in a row. So they were well versed in lifting cups in this particular era.

They were again doing well in the league, eventually finishing second in the table and earlier in this season they, would you believe, had played a tour match against Italy at Central Park.

Despite crowds being poor for two-legged ties, they still remained in Round 1 of this particular season. The draw pitted Wigan against Rochdale and the tie was all over after the first leg when Wigan won 30-0 at Central Park. A hat-trick for Brian Nordgren was added to by Jack Broome, George Curran, Ken Gee, George Roughley and Nat Silcock.

They still had to go through the motions of the second leg at the Athletic Grounds but that also was a comfortable victory with Silcock (2), Roughley and Broome scoring tries in an 18-5 win that completed a 50-5 aggregate success.

Round 2 saw Batley visit Central Park. They were having a decent season but tries from Gee and Ernie Ashcroft contributed to a 16-8 win that saw more penalty goals that tries.

The Quarter Final draw saw Wigan given another home tie but this was a far tougher contest than the previous two. Huddersfield were the visitors and Wigan perhaps might have expected an easy afternoon having beaten them 48-13 at Central Park in the league but it took a solo penalty goal from Gee to seal a nervy 2-0 win.

Nerves aplenty in the semi final as well. Wigan drew Warrington and like in 1948 this was a clash of 1st v 2nd in the league table. The Wires were also current holders of the cup, so were probably the slight favourites for the tie. Such was the interest in this game that the Rugby League tried to secure Anfield in Liverpool as the venue but in the end the then traditional Station Road, Swinton hosted the contest.

44,621 turned up and must have shitted bricks all afternoon because only one try was scored and that decided it. Thankfully it went to Wigan's Brian Nordgren who's effort secured a 3-2 win and passage to Wembley.

I guess most pundits would have expected 5th in the table Leeds to beat 20th place Barrow in the other semi final but the Cumbrians had other ideas. They had knocked out eventual league champions Workington in the first round though and were equally up for the task when facing Leeds. This tie actually went to a replay after a 14-14 draw at Odsal. Barrow won the replay 28-13 at Huddersfield's "Fartown" ground.

Prior to Wigan's semi final they had lost just three games all season so it was perhaps a concern that they lost four of their six games between the semi final and final. That included an 8-5 Championship Play Off Semi Final loss at home to Workington that ended their hopes of a rare league and cup double.

Barrow had never won anything in their history to this date, so their town was well up for this contest but their support still couldn't match that of Wigan. They had been to Wembley previously but had lost to Salford in 1938.

In the match itself, Wigan took the lead with an early penalty goal from Ken Gee after Barrow's former Wigan player Ted Toohey had been penalised for "illegal feeding" at the scrum. The kick was out wide but Gee beasted it over the bar.

That solo 2-0 lead remained all the way till the 59th minute when the games first try finally came. Scrum Half Tommy Bradshaw set it up with a lovely run that wrong-footed opposition defenders before he offloaded to send Jack Hilton over in the right corner. Ken Gee couldn't convert off the touchline so the lead of 5-0 was still a try and conversion away from Barrow levelling.

Barrow did go close to levelling the scores, being held up over the line at one point, but it was Wigan who sealed the match with a second try on 70 minutes. Close to the line, big prop Gee went on a diagonal run and their was no stopping him from scoring. Cec Mountford converted this one to make it 10-0 and Wigan never looked back.

So the final whistle went and Wigan's fourth Challenge Cup triumph was in the bag. Kiwi Stand Off Cec Mountford was awarded the Lance Todd Trophy, although many believe the award should have gone to loose forward Billy Blan.

Wigan would bounce back to win the league title again in 1952 but for the team of this era, this would be their last Wembley appearance. Wigan didn't return to the Twin Towers until 1958 when a new breed of Boston, Ashton and McTigue were leading the way. A look at that final will follow in the next day or two.

1951 Challenge Cup Final - Team Sheets

- Wigan Position Barrow 1
1 Jack Cunliffe Full Back H.Stretch 1
2 Jack Hilton Winger J.Lewthwaite 2
3 Jack Broome Centre P.Jackson 3
4 George Roughley Centre D.Goodwin 4
5 Brian Nordgren Winger F.Castle 5
6 Cec Mountford Stand Off W.Horne 6
7 Tommy Bradshaw Scrum Half T.Toohey 7
8 Ken Gee Prop F.Longman 8
9 George Curran Hooker J.McKinnell 9
10 Frank Barton Prop R.Hartley 10
11 Nat Silcock 2nd Row J.Grundy 11
12 Ted Slevin 2nd Row H.H Atkinson 12
13 Billy Blan L.Forward H.McGregor 13
- Jim Sullivan Coach aaaaaaaaaaaaaa -

1951 Challenge Cup Final - Score Sheet

Wigan 10 --- Barrow 0
Tries (2):
Jack Hilton
Ken Gee
--- Tries (0):
Ken Gee 1/2
Cec Mountford 1/1
--- ---

1951 Challenge Cup Final - Scoring and Incident Pattern

6th Minute Wigan 02 Barrow 00 Penalty Goal: Ken Gee (1/1)
Half Time Wigan 02 Barrow 00
59th Minute Wigan 05 Barrow 00 Try: Jack Hilton
- Wigan 05 Barrow 00 K.Gee Missed Conversion (1/2)
70th Minute Wigan 08 Barrow 00 Try: Ken Gee
- Wigan 10 Barrow 00 Conversion: Cec Mountford (1/1)
Full Time Wigan 10 Barrow 00

Other Details

Referee: M.Coates (Pudsey)
Attendance: 94,262
Weather: Bursts of Heavy Rain.


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