It is very rare for lower league counterparts to triumph in Rugby League, so Oldham’s stunning victory over Hull KR was not only a pleasant surprise, but a shocking one by the same token.
There have been some memorable Challenge Cup upsets over the years, but Oldham’s victory is certainly one of the most surprising.
People have been debating whether it is the biggest shock ever, and it’s fair to say the result is in pretty good company, but certainly it can be argued that it is the biggest in recent memory.
Trying to rank a cup shock comes down to everyone’s personal perception of what makes a result a remarkable one. The location of the game, the stage of the competition and the manner of the result are just some elements that people use in deciding which is the shock of all shocks.
Salford’s famous victory over Wigan in 1996 has been widely touted as the biggest ever. The Warriors had won the Cup eight consecutive times, but were dumped out by the then First Divison outfit, losing 26-16. On a side note, any guesses on who scored two tries for Salford that day? The current Oldham coach, Scott Naylor.
Salford went on to earn promotion back to Super League that year, and at the time the gap between the two leagues wasn’t perceived to be as wide as it is now, but still for any side outside of Super League to defeat that team was a staggering accomplishment.
Wigan were on the wrong end of another Cup shock in 1998, losing in the final to the Mark Aston-inspired Sheffield Eagles. The reality is that Sheffield were given less of a chance of beating Wigan than Oldham were of defeating KR, and to do it in the final at Wembley only heightened the levels of disbelief as the game unfolded.
Other contenders include Salford again, who lost to Leigh in 2001’s event while Hull KR provided a shock of their own as they became the first Championship team in ten years to make the semi-final when they defeated Warrington 40-36 in 2006.
More recent shocks include Featherstone’s victory over Castleford in 2012 and Leigh’s two triumphs in last year’s event.
While the debate will rumble on, there’s no doubting most Oldham fans will claim it’s the biggest ever!