In the first of rugby league’s appointment-to-view occasions of the season, Castleford Tigers face Leeds Rhinos at Wembley in Saturday’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup Final, live on BBC One.
The match has been a staple of Saturday afternoons on BBC television for decades and once again BBC One will show the match live from the national stadium.
It is Castleford’s first appearance in the final since they lost 28-12 to the all-conquering Wigan side of 1992 and this time they are up against another juggernaut of English rugby league as they take on 11-time Challenge Cup winners Leeds Rhinos.
Despite being regulars at Wembley in recent years, Leeds have something of a hoodoo in the Challenge Cup, a tournament they have not won since 1999 when their deadly wing Leroy Rivett scored four tries and Iestyn Harris bagged twenty points in a 52-16 pummelling of London Broncos.
The final comes just two weeks after the clubs secured their places in the showpiece occasion at Wembley.
In the quarter-finals, Castleford Tigers knocked out Wigan Warriors, who have won the cup more times than any other side, including a 16-0 win against Hull FC in the 2013 final, and they followed it up in the semi-final a fortnight ago when they sealed a convincing win over Widnes.
Castleford are hoping to win the Challenge Cup for the fifth time in their history, the last time being in 1986 when they beat Hull Kingston Rovers by a single point.
Leeds Rhinos, meanwhile, beat Warrington Wolves 24-16 in their semi-final, though despite winning six league titles over the past decade, they have been serial runners-up in the cup competition in recent years, losing six finals since they last lifted the Challenge Cup 15 years ago.
In between the semi-finals and the showpiece final, both sides made changes for the previous weekend’s Super League matches and were each beaten.
Castleford lost heavily at Warrington while an experimental Leeds side lost a large lead to lose at London, the first win of the season for the doomed Broncos.
The Cup Final remains arguably the biggest match of the rugby league year in Europe, with Castleford experienced full-back Luke Dorn, 32, describing reaching Wembley as the pinnacle of his career.
The Final sees Dorn re-acquainted with Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield, who was red carded for the only time in his career for a bizarre head-butt on the Castleford veteran in the sides’ drawn league meeting in July.
Sinfield, one of the most metronomic goal-kickers in the game, is set to play having already served his suspension for that transgression, while Castleford wing Justin Carney also returns from a ban.
Both the RFL and the broadcasters will be hoping for better fare than last year – it will not be difficult – when Wigan, en route to yet another league and cup double, beat a poor Hull side 16-0 in a somewhat underwhelming game.
The Challenge Cup Final remains one of the few occasions rugby league is watched by a casual audience and a high quality contest would be a boost for the sport’s profile.
The omens are good. Castleford have been a revolution this season, currently fifth in the Super League table, only below third-place Leeds on points difference.
Leeds possess arguably the most dangerous wing in the game in Ryan Hall – the Leroy Rivett de nos jour – and the prospect of a West Yorkshire derby should ensure a raucous atmosphere at Wembley.
Phil Bentham will referee English rugby league’s showpiece fixture for the third time in four years, which kicks off in its traditional slot of 3.00pm.
Which Yorkshire side will lift English rugby league’s oldest and most prestigious trophy on Saturday afternoon at the national stadium?
BBC Sport will broadcast the 2014 Tetley’s Challenge Cup Final exclusively live on BBC One and in high-definition on BBC One HD.
Mark Chapman presents all the action from Wembley Stadium, with the build-up to English rugby league’s showpiece final beginning on BBC One at 2.20pm, 40 minutes before the 3.00pm kick-off time.
There will be a full preview of the match during the special build-up to the kick-off, along with the usual mix of special features and interviews with some of the star names.
Joining Chapman in the studio for expert analysis and comment will be a variety of guests including Jon Wilkin and Eorl Crabtree, while match commentary is led by Dave Woods, along with summarisers Jonathan Davies and Brian Noble.
Reporting from pitchside, Tanya Arnold, Damien Johnson and Robbie Hunter-Paul will get all the latest news, views and reaction from the touchline and conduct interviews with the key players and coaches.
Following the trophy presentation to the 2014 winners, much more reaction and post-match analysis can be found in a special Rugby League Forum on BBC Red Button after BBC One’s coverage concludes at 5.20pm.
BBC Radio 5 live will have full live commentary of the final with George Riley and Stuart Pyke, plus the BBC Sport website will be the place to find live streaming of BBC One’s coverage and all the latest news, features, video and live text commentary.
Sky Sports will screen extended highlights of the final later in the evening at 10.30pm on Sky Sports 2, with Bill Arthur leading the commentary team.
Saturday 23rd August
Challenge Cup Final 2014: Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos
Kick-off: 15:00 | Wembley Stadium
LIVE: 2.20pm-5.20pm BBC One Forum: 5.20pm-6.00pm BBC Red Button
Highlights: 10.30pm-11.30pm Sky Sports 2