CC Report 1985 – Leeds 68 Bridgend 6

An iconic clash in the Challenge Cup in late January 1985, when second division Bridgend Blue Dragons were the visitors to Headingley. They had begun life as Cardiff, forming four years before and the club were now struggling in the lower reaches of the second division.

They made the journey despite horrendous snow, which disrupted their arrival, the Leeds fans keeping themselves amused by staging a mass snowball fight on the cricket pitch as they waited for the hour-delayed kick off.

Bridgend, who changed on the bus, included three trialists and had in their ranks future goal kicking guru Dave Alred but were missing club captain and former Loiner Gordon Pritchard.

Ex-Widnes forward Bob Blackwood scored their only try to massive acclaim from the crowd of over 3,500 in a record 68-6 defeat in what was to be their final season.

By contrast, Leeds had Great Britain under 24 hooker Colin Maskill on debut on the bench, having signed from Wakefield just before the cup deadline for a world record £40,000 fee for a rake.

The match is best remembered for a 15 minute hat trick by Aussie winger Eric Grothe, who emerged from one typical dive into the corner with his beard looking like Father Christmas. But for mild hypothermia, he would surely have broken the tries in a match record at the club of eight.

Teenager David Creasser did set a new landmark in the competition, his two tries and eight goals being a Loiners’ best. Also on the score sheet was Les Dyl, in his first appearance for 22 months after coming back from running a bar in Spain.