Every 1895 Cup final so far as Wakefield Trinity & Sheffield Eagles reach Wembley showpiece

Ben Olawumi
Featherstone Rovers, Leigh Centurions, Halifax Panthers

Featherstone Rovers (left), Leigh Centurions (middle, now Leigh Leopards) & Halifax Panthers (right) lift the 1895 Cup

Wakefield Trinity & Sheffield Eagles both reached Wembley for the showpiece event in the 1895 Cup over the weekend, teeing up a meeting under the famous arch.

Designed to give clubs outside of Super League a better opportunity of featuring in the capital on Challenge Cup final day, the 1895 Cup has had a different winner each year it’s been played out so far, with no side lifting the trophy more than once.

That could change if Sheffield pull off an upset at Wembley next month, but Wakefield – competing in the competition for the very first time – will be heavy favourites.

Below, we take a look at the four finals in the competition so far…

2019: Sheffield Eagles 36-18 Widnes Vikings

Sheffield Eagles, 1895 Cup, 2019
Sheffield Eagles lift the 1895 Cup at Wembley in 2019

The Eagles became the inaugural winners of the 1895 Cup at Wembley in 2019 with this victory over Widnes in the final.

Mark Aston’s side had beaten Halifax Panthers, Doncaster & Batley Bulldogs to reach the showpiece, which was played out after Warrington Wolves had won the Challenge Cup final against St Helens.

The Vikings went 12-0 up, and were 18-12 up at one point in the second half before Sheffield pulled off an almighty comeback, scoring 24 unanswered points as Aaron Brown sealed a hat-trick. Pat Walker – kicking his sixth goal of the evening – secured the last two of those 24 with a long-range penalty on the final hooter.

Eagles ace Anthony Thackeray – responsible for one of six of Sheffield’s tries on the day – was the first-ever recipient of the Ray French Award, voted man of the match by the journalists in attendance.

2021: Featherstone Rovers 41-34 York

Featherstone Rovers, 1895 Cup, 2021
Featherstone Rovers lift the 1895 Cup at Wembley in 2021

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 1895 Cup wasn’t played out in 2020. It returned in 2021, and having seen off Bradford Bulls, Batley & Widnes en-route to the final, Featherstone dispatched York at Wembley.

Rovers were 22-10 up at half-time after back-to-back tries in the first-half had got them in the ascendancy, but York refused to go away and pegged them back to 22-22.

In an action-packed affair, Craig Hall – named man of the match – then kicked a penalty to edge Fev back in front before they scored three unanswered tries to put the rubber stamp on things. A young Mikey Lewis crossed for York prior to Dane Chisholm‘s drop goal, and after another Knights try late on, it ended 41-34.

This game preceded the 2021 Challenge Cup final which saw St Helens beat Castleford Tigers.

2022: Leigh Centurions 30-16 Featherstone Rovers

Edwin Ipape
Leigh Centurions’ Edwin Ipape lifts the 1895 Cup aloft at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2022

2022 in the Championship was essentially the year of the battle between these two sides vying for promotion. It felt like this 1895 Cup final – played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before Wigan Warriors’ Challenge Cup triumph against Huddersfield Giants – would be a test run for the Million Pound Game.

Of course, it didn’t turn out that way as League Leaders’ Shield winners Leigh went on to seal promotion against Batley, who had beaten Fev in the semi-finals at Post Office Road the week prior. And it was the then-known Centurions who also lifted the 1895 Cup in May, too, a competition sponsored by owner Derek Beaumont‘s business – AB Sundecks.

With only four teams involved in the competition, the Centurions had beaten Sheffield in the semi-finals while Featherstone – the first team to ever appear in back-to-back 1895 Cup finals – got the better of Barrow Raiders.

A war of attrition in the first half saw the scores level at 12-12 come the break, but once Krisnan Inu had slotted over a penalty, Blake Ferguson & man of the match Edwin Ipape crossed for tries to put Leigh in control. Rovers ace Hall responded with a try on 70 minutes before Sam Stone put the icing on the cake for Adrian Lam‘s side late on, grounding Joe Mellor‘s grubber kick.

2023: Halifax Panthers 12-10 Batley Bulldogs

Halifax Panthers lifting the 1895 Cup at Wembley in 2023 - Alamy
Halifax Panthers lift the 1895 Cup at Wembley in 2023

The most recent showpiece in the 1895 Cup saw Halifax pip Batley to the post in dramatic fashion under the arch. It was a clash with sentimental value on the line – both long-standing head coaches in Fax’s Simon Grix & Batley’s Craig Lingard leading their sides to Wembley in their final year in charge.

Just four teams were involved in the competition, with the Panthers beating soon-to-be promoted London Broncos at the last-four stage as Batley saw off York. The final, delayed, was played after Leigh Leopards’ Challenge Cup triumph against Hull KR won by Lachlan Lam’s drop goal and Golden Point was very nearly also needed in this tie too.

Brandon Moore opened the scoring with a try for Fax just two minutes in, but points weren’t easy to come by. Frenchman Louis Jouffret – the man of the match – converted, and would kick three penalties to leave the Panthers 12-0 up as they entered the last 10 minutes. Batley pulled a try back through winger Dale Morton on 72 minutes, and then it became a one-score ball game.

Step up the Bulldogs, who put together a frankly ridiculous passing move on the hooter, with Elliot Kear finishing in the corner after it had sounded. That left Luke Hooley the chance to send the final into Golden Point with a tricky conversion, but the now-Castleford ace couldn’t direct his effort on target with the boot, and that miss meant Fax lifted the silverware.