St. Helens 13 Halifax 2 (VIEW MATCH)
1956 Challenge Cup final
Saints win the Challenge Cup at last.
This was the Saints' fifth attempt to win the coveted Challenge Cup. They were in the first-ever final in 1897 and lost twice to Huddersfield [1915 and 1953]. Their first appearance at Wembley also ended in defeat in 1930 at the hands of Widnes. In 1956 there was going to be no repeat of the club’s previous misfortunes. It took a mammoth effort just to reach the final itself, however, after a re-played semi-final tie against Barrow and there were several injury worries going into the clash against Halifax, especially when half-back John ‘Todder’ Dickinson was declared unfit during the week.
Alan Prescott with the cup
The game itself was a real arm-wrestle, with both sets of forwards vying for superiority and the ball rarely reaching either team’s threequarters – a real bash and batter affair. It almost seemed as though both teams were scared of throwing the ball about, when Saints’ skipper Alan Prescott made a scything run through the Halifax defence, just after the hour mark. Although his final pass went to ground and there was no score, it gave Saints the confidence to throw the ball about and have a go.
A minute later, winger Frank Carlton got on the end of a magnificent move and touched down for what was to be the game-breaking score. Full-back Austin Rhodes kicked the goal to make it 5-0. In the 70th minute, Saints’ Welsh winger Steve Llewellyn scored another brilliant try, converted by Rhodes and although Halifax full-back Griffiths replied with a penalty goal [10-2], the game was sealed with a last-minute try from skipper Alan Prescott, who won the Lance Todd trophy as Man of the Match. The Saints’ team returned to over 20,000 ecstatic fans packed into the Town Hall Square, where the Challenge Cup was displayed to the supporters for the first time.