Friday Night Lights History: 2006 v Workington

19th May 2022

IN the lead up to Friday Night Lights, we will be counting down some of our favourite fixtures since the event’s inception in 2006.  

Today we start with the very first Friday Night Lights game, which took place in 2006.  

Like many great traditions, it started off almost by accident. The fixture was not originally part of the fixture list but Workington Town’s run in the Northern Rail Cup meant a re-arrangement of their away game against Skolars. 

The only weekend available was Challenge Cup Final weekend, which was a week before Skolars were due to travel to Workington. With other events scheduled on the Sunday, Workington agreed to play on the Friday night. 

Shaun Lunt’s try just before half-time put the visitors ahead 10-16 at the break. With 10 minutes remaining, Alan Barker scored off the back of a kick from player-coach Latham Tawhai. Tim Gee’s conversion put Skolars just 16-18 behind. However, Lunt scored a second try and then combined with Stephen Kilbride to put Martyn Wilson over to extend the final score line to 16-30.  

There was a strong New Zealand connection in the game. Both coaches (Tawhai for Skolars and Workington’s Ged Stokes) hailed from the Shaky Isles as well as referee Leon Williamson. It was Skolars’ best crowd of the season by some way and its success led to the event becoming the annual pre-Cup final institution it is now. 

The Challenge Cup final returned to London that year, having been played in Cardiff and Edinburgh over the previous five years because of the redevelopment of Wembley.

With that work still incomplete, the 2006 final was played at Twickenham, the last to be played away from Wembley until this year!

Huddersfield reached its first final since 1953 but were heavily beaten 42-12 by St Helens. This would be the first of a hat-trick of wins for Saints.

James Graham played for them that day, having started the season playing against Skolars in their pre-season friendly in Dublin. 

For tickets to this years Friday Nights Fixture and exclusive Challenge Cup prices, please visit the Eventbrite link HERE

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