AB Sundecks 1895 Cup final
Venue: Stadium Date: Saturday, 24 August Kick-off: 17:45 BST
Coverage: Live on the BBC Red Button, online and connected TVs

It would be fitting for the sun to be shining at the moment when Sheffield Eagles and Widnes Vikings emerge onto the turf for the inaugural 1895 Cup final.

The game serves as a celebration, an opportunity for the two sets of fans to enjoy a big occasion on the back of some tough times.

Between them, the two clubs have been responsible for some of the all-time great Challenge Cup moments.

Widnes were the ‘Cup Kings’ of the 1970s and 1980s before Wigan took over the mantle, while Sheffield’s victory over the mighty Warriors in 1998 remains one of the great shocks.

‘The club was done’

Widnes fans

Widnes’ proud traditions as a hotbed for are borne out by their roll of honour, which includes seven Challenge Cup wins and three league titles.

Look through Super League and you will find Widnesians propping up packs and backlines, not to mention closer to home, and the club serves as a beacon for all that passion and support.

However, at one stage in 2019, it looked like 144 years of history could be lost to the game.

The intervention of people across the town ensured that the club would continue, after last-ditch work from the ‘Vikings Quids In’ group and a consortium came to he rescue.

“The club was done,” captain Hep Cahill told BBC Sport. “But the town rallied together.

“Kids were bringing in their pocket money, people bringing in their savings and it’s not a rich town but it showed what the club means to the town.

“The news of administration brought people back together after a couple of rough years in Super League.

“It’s a small reward we as a playing group could give back to the town.”

Cup hero’s son helps Eagles soar

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Sheffield Eagles have also endured some tough times since they enjoyed their moment in the sun against Wigan in 1998.

John Kear’s side brushed aside the heavy favourites to clinch the cup, lifted joyously by skipper Paul Broadbent. It remains an emotion-tinged watch, given the underdog nature of the success.

Since then, it has been a rollercoaster.

Financial issues, nomadic status after their stadium was demolished and threats of relegation, interwoven with tremendous success in the second tier before promotion and relegation were reintroduced.

But the Eagles are still flying, and coincidentally, they return to on Saturday with a familiar name in their ranks.

Broadbent’s son Blake is in the Eagles’ 19-man squad for the game, a great source of pride for the family.

“It was a brilliant day for us when we got our moment in the sun,” Paul told BBC Sport. “It’s great that he [Blake] will hopefully get an opportunity.

Sheffield Eagles players celebrate a try

“It was a brilliant sporting moment. The Challenge Cup was a brilliant day for us and a brilliant day for the sport because the underdog came good.

“But they [the Eagles players] will get memories that they will have for the rest of their lives when they get out there on Saturday. Hopefully they will have as many really positive memories. They have to go out there, give a good account of themselves and enjoy the moment.”

Blake Broadbent added: “It’s something growing up that has been around the family, anything to do with , dad will always relate it to the Challenge Cup final.

“It’s always been something that’s talked about. I’ve got big boots to fill, definitely. He was captain last time we won something like this and while it’s not expectation on me, everyone assumes that I’m of the same calibre so I have a lot to live up to.

“I just have to go out there and give it my best and hopefully we can come home with a win.”

Squads

Sheffield Eagles: Blackmore, Broadbent, Brown, G Burns, P Burns, Davey, Davies, Farrell, Guzdek, Hellewell, Makelim, Mason, Meadows, Millar, Ogden, Pick, Tagg, Thackeray, Walker.

Widnes Vikings: Ashall-Bott, Gelling, Owens, Craven, Gilmore, J Chapelhow, Hansen, Dean, Cahill, Johnstone, Leuluai, Wilde, T Chapelhow, Walker, Lyons, Brand, Norman, Hatton, Ah Van.

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