Skip to content

The 1954 Odsal Challenge Cup final replay

In perhaps the most famous Challenge Cup tie of all, Warrington beat Halifax in the 1954 final replay at Odsal Stadium by 8 points to 4 in front of well over 102,000 spectators. The game however is known not for the rugby but for the stunning attendance, beating the record crowd for any Rugby League game at Wembley. The replayed game has never been regarded as the most entertaining of matches and nor had the first game which ended in a drab, tryless 4-4 tie at Wembley – still the only time the Challenge Cup final hasn’t seen a try scored! The replay was arranged for the following Wednesday, May 5th, and was to be the first Challenge Cup final played up north for decades. This attraction proved to be even greater than had been thought as dozens of full buses and trains crammed with supporters crossed the Pennines to attend, while tens of thousands flocked from around West Yorkshire. Morris and Harry Child describe their experiences of the day, as they drove by car from Dewsbury, parking in the middle of the road nearby, before making their way through the crowds to the famous steep banks of Odsal Stadium. Though now officially overtaken by a crowd of 107,000 in Stadium Australia for the 1999 NRL Grand Final, Odsal’s 1954 cup final gate is probably still the World’s largest for a Rugby League match – most people who attended estimate around 120,000 were actually present.