Challenge Cup Triple Replay

On This Day... April 14

On Tuesday 14 April 1964, the Beatles Can’t Buy Me Love was at No 1 and at Station Road, Swinton, Hull Kingston Rovers played a Challenge Cup semi-final replay against second division Oldham.

The first game, at Headingley three days earlier, had resulted in a 5-5 draw after Mike Blackmore’s try had given Rovers a 5-3 lead early in the second half, only for McIntyre’s only ever drop goal in the dying seconds to tie the scores. The replay was a thrilling game, and tries by Alan Burwell and Terry Major gave Rovers an 8-7 half time lead. A second Burwell try and another from Blackmore then put Rovers 14-7 up. Crucially for the Robins though, the normally reliable Cyril Kellett had managed only one conversion, and with just ten minutes to go, an Oldham try and touchline conversion narrowed the gap to just two points. Then, with the last kick of normal time, Dyson kicked a penalty goal to level the scores at 14-14.

There was then 15 minutes each way of extra time, but there were no floodlights, and despite the 6.45pm kick-off, it was already getting gloomy. After six minutes of the first period, Oldham scored a try to lead 17-14, but six minutes later referee Dennis Davies decided that it was impossible to see what was going on, and he abandoned the game.

Rovers then faced an anxious wait whilst the RFL deliberated on the result, ultimately deciding that there should be a second reply, and making this the only ever Challenge Cup semi-final to go to three games.

Thirty-five years ago today, prop forward John Millington made the last of his 418 Rovers appearances in a 30-14 defeat at St Helens. The popular figure, always easily distinguishable by his blonde curly hair, was a strong runner and tackler who always gave 100% to the cause. Perhaps his finest hour had come at York five years earlier, when, with Rovers 8-0 and two men down just before half time, he had led a fight-back, driving relentlessly into the York defence, where three or four defenders were invariably required to halt his progress. Rovers won 20-10, and Millington was chaired off the field by jubilant supporters at the end.