Appearing at last night’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont said their Challenge Cup triumph gives ‘hope, inspiration and ambition’ to the town.
In their first campaign back as a Super League club, and their first as ‘Leopards’, Leigh lifted silverware under the Wembley arch back in August with Lachlan Lam kicking the winning one-pointer with a drop goal in golden point extra time.
Lam’s dad and head coach Adrian attended last night’s awards ceremony alongside chief Beaumont and a trio of players in Josh Charnley, Tom Briscoe and Kai O’Donnell. Briscoe was one of the Leopards’ try-scorers in the final.
Sat amongst hundreds of recognisable figures, including boxer Tommy Fury and DJ Pete Tong, Beaumont and co.’s moment in the sun rounded off a montage of highlights which encased the ‘winners’ from the year across a whole host of sports with St Helens’ Women’s team’s win at Wembley earlier that day preceding it in the package.
Clare Balding, the former president of the RFL, voiced over the montage, saying: “Saints were winners in rugby league’s Women’s Challenge Cup, the first at Wembley, and there was just a point’s leeway on a historic Leigh day in the men’s final, when silver matched with leopard print.”
Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont delivers verdict on impact of Challenge Cup triumph at BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards
Alongside Alex Scott, Gabby Logan and Gary Lineker, Balding also presented the show.
Asking Beaumont – donned in his trademark leopard print suit – what Leigh‘s cup success meant, the club’s owner responded: “To the die hard fans, they’d probably say more than life itself!
“They waited 52 years for it, it was just absolutely phenomenal. More than anything, I think it gives hope, it gives inspiration and it gives ambition.
“For a town as small as Leigh, what it gives is it gives recognition and it gives us a purpose.”
BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2023: Winners list
Helen Rollason Award: Fatima Whitbread (Athletics)
Coach of the Year: Pep Guardiola (Manchester City – Football)
Team of the Year: Manchester City (Football)
Young Sports Personality of the Year: Mia Brookes (Snowboarder)
Lifetime Achievement: Sir Kenny Dalglish (Football)
Unsung Hero: Des Smith (Sheffield Caribbean Sports Club)
World Sport Star: Erling Haaland (Manchester City – Football)