THE final piece of a magnificent 1973-74 season was put in place on this day 50 years ago when Warrington played the Club Championship Final against St Helens at Central Park, Wigan.

Based on a Merit Table as follows: You got three merit points for every win in a knockout competition and points were also awarded for your team’s position in the league table, from 30 (Division One leaders) to 1 (Division Two bottom team).

Four points were subtracted for relegation, four gained for promotion (are you still following!)

Also, the top 12 teams in Division Two played off to provide three teams to join the 13 in Division One with the most merit points – no wonder this competition only lasted for one season!

Warrington headed the Merit Table with 68 points (42 points for 14 cup tie wins and 26 points for finishing in 5th place in the First Division) so had the benefit of all home games.

First Round

Warrington 34 Hull 12

Second Division Hull’s hopes of causing a major upset going in at half time leading 12-5 are dashed as 29 unanswered points by Warrington see them canter through.

Second Round

Warrington 15 Bradford Northern 9

Second Division champions Bradford give it a good go, and it takes two quick tries to turn the tables.

Semi Final

Warrington 12 Wakefield Trinity 7

A knockout game in every sense of the word.

In the second half, Warrington lose Brian Brady with concussion, Alex Murphy was stretchered off with a rib injury and then Bobby Wanbon was sent off for the first time in his career for retaliating with Rob Valentine, who also gets his marching orders!


Warrington 13 St Helens 12

Wire team: Whitehead; M Philbin, Noonan, Pickup, Bevan; Whittle, Murphy; Chisnall, Ashcroft, Brady, Wanbon, Mather, B Philbin. Subs: Lowe, Gaskell

A thriller of a game that is in the balance until the last seconds.

St Helens captain Kel Coslett collects a drop out 40 yards from the posts. He sets his target, takes aim and fires a towering return drop kick.

 Warrington's fans hearts miss a beat as the ball sails towards the posts, only to pass inches wide, with the final whistle going immediately. Phew!

Prior to this, Warrington had scored three fine tries.

For the first, Murphy fires out a bullet-like pass for right winger Mike Philbin to collect and go in at the corner.

The second is created by Dave Chisnall prising open a gap for fellow prop Brian Brady to blast in from 15 yards.

The match winner is made by Welsh wizard John Bevan, who goes on a mazy, cross-field swerving run and as he is tackled, he releases a pass for Derek Noonan to score.

Derek Whitehead obliges with conversions for the last two tries, as the team holds onto a one-point lead for the last 15 minutes.

Loose forward Barry Philbin takes the Harry Sunderland award for the man of the match for his strong and straight running.

Warrington complete a four-trophy haul for the season, the likes of which probably will never to be seen again.