Salford v Huddersfield
It’s such a special competition the Challenge Cup. For both Salford and Huddersfield it’s been a very long time since they last tasted success. Salford’s only Challenge cup triumph came in 1938. The Giants have won the trophy on six occasions with their last one coming in 1953.
The way the cup is now structured whoever wins on Saturday is just two games for Wembley and in the draw for the quarter finals.
Huddersfield reached the final last season but were beaten right at the end of a pulsating match by Wigan. Salford reached their last final in 2020 in a behind closed doors match against Leeds losing agonisingly 17-16.
A trip to Wembley was cruelly taken away from the Salford supporters in 2020. The way the team have played under Paul Rowley over the past eighteen months they would grace the hallowed turf and it would be an unforgettable day. A Challenge cup final could really see a club take off, particularly on the financial side of the sport.
The last time the two sides met in this competition was back in 2007. Salford had already beaten Gateshead in the previous round but the Giants were far to good brushing Salford aside 10-36 at the Willows. 2007 saw the cup return to the newly built Wembley with St.Helens beating Catalans in the final in front of a huge crowd of 84,241.
Salford met Huddersfield the previous season in 2006 in the Quater finals. The City Reds as we were then were flying high in the Super League and after beating Dewsbury and Wigan confidence was high. The Giants though came out on top thumping Salford 44-14. They went on to beat Leeds in the semi final before losing to St.Helens at Twickenham 42-12 in the final.
Challenge Cup Record.
2007, Salford 10 Huddersfield 36, round five.
2006, Huddersfield 44 Salford 14, Quarter final.
1999, Huddersfield 14 Salford 22, round five.
1978, Huddersfield 13 Salford 3, round two.
1970, Salford 11 Huddersfield 5, round two replay, Station Road Swinton.
1970, Huddersfield 0 Salford 0, round two.
1961, Salford 13 Huddersfield 5, round two.
1959, Salford 15 Huddersfield 2, round two.
1957, Salford 2 Huddersfield 6, round two.
1915, Huddersfield 33 Salford 0, round three.
1902, Huddersfield 2 Salford 9, round four.
1900, Salford 6 Huddersfield 5, round three.
1899 Salford 8 Huddersfield 0, round four.
They played for both.
Here are a selection of players who have played for both clubs;
Steve Kerry, Danny Arnold, Greg Austin, David Bradbury, Jodie Broughton, Ryan Clayton, Gavin Clinch, Greg Eden, Simon Finnigan, Matt Gardner, Lee Gaskell, Martin Gleeson, Bobbie Goulding, Darrel Griffin, Josh Griffin, Neil Harmon, David Hodgson, Graham Holroyd, Andy Johnson, Phil Joseph, Craig Kopzack, Michael korkidas, Tommy Lee, Martin Moana, Chris Nero, Robbie Paul, Luke Robinson, Jordan Turner, Adam Walne, Paul White, Stephen Wild, Tui Lolohea, Luke Yates, Theo Fages, Jake Bibby, Harvey Livett and Josh Jones.
A tie to remember, round two 1970.
Huddersfield 0 Salford 0, replay Salford 11 Huddersfield 5.
After heartbreak at Wembley in 1969, Salford’s next Challenge Cup campaign began at home to Featherstone. A Billy Burgess try gave Salford a 7-2 victory with Maurice Richards kicking two goals.
In round two a hard fought game at Huddersfield’s Fartown ground finished with an unusual 0-0 score line. Four days later the match was replayed on a Thursday night at Swinton’s Station Road ground due to the pitch being unplayable at the Willows.
Paul Jackson scored the Salford’s only try. Jackson had played at Wembley the previous year. He was a quick winger and took his try well. Richards once again kicked well landing three successful goals with David Watkins converting one as well.
The following night Salford were back in action at the Willows in the league and beat Oldham 30-3.
Salford were drawn away to Castleford in round three at Wheldon Road. Although the match was played on the 7th March the weather was still bitterly cold and the pitch covered in straw to protect it from freezing. Once again Castleford got the better of Salford with a 15-0 victory to bring Salford’s 1970 cup run to an end. Castleford went on to win the trophy for the second successive year beating Wigan at Wembley 7-2.
When the two sides met in the league in April the Giants had too much for Salford and won the match 16-26. Ian Watson’s side were too good on the day but since then Huddersfield’s form as took a real turn for the worse. They’ve struggled to score points and break teams down. Despite the players Watson has to choose from maybe it’s fair to say he’s not sure of his best starting thirteen. That’s one luxury Salford coach Paul Rowley hasn’t got. Losing Shane Wright to a long injury lay-off is a real blow. Matty Lees has received a two match ban after Saturday’s incident with Wright but that doesn’t help Salford one bit. With Andy Ackers also missing due to failing his HIA the Red Devils are low on numbers. Rowley and his players will thrive on this situation though and their is no doubt they will make the best of it and be fully prepared come kick off.
A Saturday night kick off is a fairly rare occurrence in rugby league but it should be a crackling atmosphere. A little bit of an edge has developed between the two sides of the past couple of seasons and we’ve seen some thrilling encounters.
In last Friday’s surprise home defeat to Leigh, Huddersfield had five former Salford players in their twenty one man squad and this will add plenty of spice to Saturday’s match.
The club have a good offer on for younger supporters with kids for a pound. It should be a cracking atmosphere at kick off and a really intriguing fixture on the road to Wembley.
The action gets under way at 7:30pm.
Safe travels and enjoy the match.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos, Gareth Lyons and the Salford Match day magazine.