On this day in 1982, Hull FC defeated cross-city rivals Hull KR 12-4 at Headingley Stadium to lift the John Player Trophy for the first and only time, thanks to a Ronnie Wileman wonder try.
A team featuring Hall of Fame members James Leuluai, Paul Prendiville, Trevor Skerret, Mick Crane, Lee Crooks and Steve Norton, the success of winning the League Cup is much forgotten, with the Black & Whites famously beating Widnes to win the Challenge Cup later that year.
Hull defeated Halifax, Castleford, Barrow and Oldham on their way to the final, while Rovers got the better of Dewsbury, Featherstone, Widnes and Swinton.
Only one try was scored in the game, courtesy of Black & White hooker Ron Wileman, but it was arguably his best for the club. After an opening 30 minutes where defences were on top, Hull led 2-0. But Wileman’s dash out of dummy-half on the half-way line would spark the contest into life, racing away unchallenged down the right flank for a score a top winger would have been proud of.
Wileman wasn’t even supposed to feature in the final, after picking up an ankle injury the week prior, before aggravating the issue on the morning of the game. Trevor Skerret claimed the Man of the Match award, but many believed Wileman’s try was worthy of his claiming the accolade.
The fiery contest, typical of any derby clash during the 80s, saw Hull captain Charlie Stone and Rovers prop Roy Holdstock dismissed four minutes from time, with some gaining the notirioty of being the only captain to lift a trophy after being sent off.
The game would also see an eighteen-year-old Lee Crooks give an early indication that he was a player for the big occasion, kicking four goals and keeping his cool against the Hull KR pack.
One newspaper report summed up the game:** “It was a pulsating match that was a credit to the game. The lasting impression was the way the pendulum seems to have swung in the city of Hull. Only two years ago when the sides met at Wembley, Rovers were definitely everybody’s ‘good guys’. Now Hull have demonstrated just how it pays to concentrate on football.”**
Hull FC: Barry Banks, Dane O’Hara, Mick Harrison, James Leuluai, Paul Prendiville, Terry Day, Tony Dean, Trevor Skerret, Ron Wileman, Charlie Stone, Mick Crane, Lee Crooks, Steve Norton.
Bench: Kevin Harkin.
Hull KR: George Fairbairn, Steve Hubbard, Mike Smith, Phil Hogan, Peter Muscroft, Steve Hartley, Paul Harkin, Roy Holdstock, David Watkinson, Steve Crooks, Phil Lowe, Len Casey, Dave Hall.
Bench: Chris Burton, John Millington.