GOLDEN boy Lachlan Lam dropped a sensational extra time goal to earn Leigh Leopards a dramatic first Betfred Challenge Cup final triumph since 1971.

It earned Leigh a 17-16 win over Hull KR after a pulstaing encounter. 

Gareth O’Brien has already missed one chance to snatch the silverware before Lam calmly slotted his history making Wemb-Leigh victory three minutes into extra time.

Lam, who scored a first half try, also claimed the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match.

Owner Derek Beaumont was among the Leopards camp who raced into the field as the ball sailed through the posts in front of the Leigh fans.

A few minutes earlier that joy looked to have been snatched away as Matt Parcell’s 79th minute try and Brad Schneider’s conversion tied the scores at 16-all.

Winger Tom Briscoe, who touched down a record five times against the Robins eight years earlier, returned to haunt Rovers with a late try while Ben Reynolds kicked four crucial goals.

It may not have been the highest quality final in Challenge Cup history but it was one of the most breath taking as both teams ran themselves to a standstill to achieve long overdue success.

But it was Leigh who prevailed to equal the exploits of Alex Murphy’s fabled 1971 team and the 1921 winning squad.

A close encounter was predicted and that’s how it played out between teams separated by just three places on the Super League ladder.

There were few surprises in either starting line-ups. With Oliver Gildart unable to play against the club he joins next year, Ed Chamberlain took the right centre spot.

Veteran winger Ryan Hall made the cut for Rovers who welcomed back all their big guns previously rested for their heavy Super League defeat at Wigan.

Rhys Kennedy’s high shot on Tom Amone gave Leopards first chance to test the resolve of Rovers’ defence only for Hardaker’s last tackle pass to elude Briscoe A second penalty arrived after four minutes with Rovers over reacting to John Asiata’s tackle on George King.

Referee Chris Kendall confirmed the skipper’s challenge was legal and Reynolds slotted a 30-metre penalty.

Reynolds had chance to double Leigh’s lead after 14 minutes for Brad Schneider’s tip tackle on Amone but pushed his effort wide from 35 metres.

And it was double trouble as Rovers returned the kick via Ryan Hall before Elliot Minchella burst through Asiata and Ipape to send in unsung hooker Jez Litten for the final’s first try. Schneider converted.

Rovers were rattling the Leopards’ cage and Briscoe’s knock on handed another attacking position though only scrum possession rather than possible penalty. For a possible professional foul by Lam.

Leigh survived and regained the lead after 27 minutes. Asiata took the ball to the line, off-loading to Lam as the tackle came in.

Lam slipped the ball to Kai O’Donnell and then took the return to touch down in front of the Hull KR hoards, equalling his dad’s try scoring exploits in the 2002 final.

Reynolds goaled and then booted a 32nd minute penalty after the half back copped a late shot from Minchella which earned the loose forward an unwanted place in Wembley history..

Michella’s yellow card, awarded much to Rovers’ annoyance, was the first in a Challenge Cup final since Bradford’s Shane Rigon in 2001.

Leigh though couldn’t take advantage and actually had their lead trimmed to just two points. Another flare-up resulted in KR’s first penalty of the half which Schneider despatched from distance after the interval hooter.

And the scores were tied five minutes after the re-start as Ipape’s late hit on Minchella was punished by Schneider’s boot.

Ben Nakubuwai’s appearance for Mulhern after 48 minutes was Leigh’s first change. And the Leopards needed an energy surge, with Joe Mellor replacing Ipape, as Rovers were a more dangerous proposition.

Ethan Ryan’s fumble 20 metres from his own posts brought another momentum shift with Chamberlain and Josh Charnley close to driving over the line.

But there was no stopping Briscoe 14 minutes from time, accepting O’ Brien’s pass to touch down.

The try and Reynolds conversion looked to have been enough until Parcell threatened to spoil the afternoon.

But Leigh re-grouped and after O’Brien pushed his attempt wide, he then laid the ball off to Lam to sc Teams: Hull KR: Lewis; Ryan, Opacic, Kenny-Dowall, Hall; Milnes, Schneider; Kennedy, Litten, King, Batchelor, Linnett, Minchella; interchanges: Parcell, Storton, Hadley, Luckley.

Tries: Litten (15), Parcell (79) Goals: Schneider 4/4 Leigh Leopards: O’Brien; Briscoe, Chamberlain, Hardaker, Charnley; Reynolds, Lam; Amone, Ipape, Mulhern, O’Donnell, Hughes, Asiata; interchanges: Nakubuwai, Davis, Holmes, Mellor.

Tries: Lam (27), Briscoe (66).

Goals: Reynolds 4/ 5.

DG: Lam (83).

Referee: Chris Kendall.

Half-time: 6-10.

Attendance: 58, 213.