Ashby remembers a Wigan Wembley classic

Ray Ashby wears the lid of the Challenge Cup in 1965
Ray Ashby wears the lid of the Challenge Cup in 1965

Fifty years since he set up one of the greatest tries Wembley has ever seen, Ray Ashby remembers the moment etched into rugby league folklore.

Today marks the anniversary of Wigan’s 20-16 win over Hunslet in the 1965 Challenge Cup Final, when Trevor Lake hurtled down the wing for a try to rival classics later Wembley heroes such as Martin Offiah, Joel Tomkins and Henderson Gill would score.

“There were only two men involved, me and Trevor,” Ashby said of the 59th-minute try which put Wigan 20-9 ahead.

“The pass to me was high actually - I was coming through the gap and I had to pull it down and in doing that they caught up on me.

“I managed to beat three men because they were all coming at me at once and I managed to step around them, and I put the foot down and went through to meet the wingman and full-back. And I know Trevor Lake’s outside me and he could catch pigeons. He could fly.

“Obviously my point was to keep it straight to occupy the full-back, move left slightly to occupy the wingman, and as soon as he did that, out went the ball, in he goes.”

Trevor Lake could catch pigeons. he could fly

Ray Ashby

Ashby’s performance, along with the efforts of Hunslet’s Brian Gabbitas saw the Lance Todd trophy shared at a Challenge Cup Final for the first time. For a man who had signed from Liverpool City the year before, it was a proud moment for a humble family from Haresfinch in St Helens, especially for his dad Les, who had coached and supported Ray as he grew as a player.

“It’s very humbling and very flattering for a lad who just loved going out playing rugby,” Asby explained.

“To play for the greatest club team to have ever put jerseys on to be honest as a massive honour.”

Ashby will by at the DW Stadium tonight for the club’s Heritage Day, which sees members of the 1965 Cup winning side come together to celebrate the anniversary, with items of memorabilia on display before Wigan’s clash with Castleford.

“It was a wonderful experience because you could see all the Cherry and White,” he said.

“It was a feeling, believe you me, you feel like a million dollars.”