50 years ago today, Saturday 4th April 1970. Castleford beat St Helens 6-3 in the Challenge Cup semi final at Swinton. Cas reached the final for the second consecutive year, with three drop goals.
Cas beat St Helens 6-3 in the Challenge Semi final.
Saturday 4th April 1970.
Castleford, Edwards, Briggs, Hargrave,(Stenton) Thomas, Lowndes, Hardisty, Hepworth, Hartley, Dickinson, Ackroyd, Kirkbride, Norton, Reilly.
Drop goals, Hardisty, Kirkbride, Reilly.
St Helens, Barrow, Jones, Walsh, Whittle, Wilson, Myler, Heaton, Halsall, (Rees) Sayer, Watson, Mantle, Chisnall, (Prescott) Coslett.
Referee W Thompson, Att - 18916, HT 2-3.
4th April 1970,Rugby League Challenge cup semi final v St Helens at Station Road, Swinton. This is really the first game I can remember and understand what winning really meant to the Cas fans.
I had been to Wembley the previous May to see Cas beat Salford, I remember the massive crowd and Cas players at the end with the cup but not much more.
But this game I remember, it was an great adventure for a 10 year old Cas lad, we got the train, yes train,it was a 'special' put on for the game. Got on at Cas railway station and then straight through to Swinton, I went with my dad and granddad long time Cas supporters. The build up on the train was all about the great Cas sides, 1935, 1939 and the current team. It was like being in a big Cas family, thousands of fans and from my town and I was part of it.
When the game started my mind was full of past glories and great players who I had never seen play, but through my dad and granddad came to life every time we went to a game. I loved asking about the old days, the players the great games and they played for Castleford my own town.
I was beginning to understand what being a fan was about, I could hear the noise of the Cas fans, see the passion, I liked it. At school I played Rugby, I was a forward so I wanted to be Reilly,my mates, the quicker ones wanted to be Hardisty or Hepworth. All we talked about was Cas, the next game and when we played out it was with a Rugby ball.
So with that background being at the Semi final at the Historic Swinton ground, large crowd and one game away from Wembley I was excited, very excited. The game was tense,Cas had two young forwards in the pack because of injuries, Ackroyd and Norton, there doing alight I remember my dad saying.
Saints scored, Jones the winger, don't panic, Hardisty drop goal, 3-2 to saints at half time. Second half defences on top, Kirkbride drop goal for Cas, 4-3 to Cas, will we be going back to Wembley?
The answer yes, Mal Reilly the hero, a angled 35 yard drop goal, the ball sailed through the posts like a bird, I can still see that drop goal now, its in my mind for ever.
That memory is with all the rest of my Cas stuff,it stands out because it meant another Wembley final and another Wembley victory. We were top dogs,a force to be reckoned with, at school we sang we are the greatest,we had won the cup again.
53 years on I'm still supporting Castleford, its in my blood, the dream of Wembley is still there, the passion is still there, the dream of being top dogs is still there, we can be great again, my club, my Cas, my commitment.
First Cas match 1967