WAKEFIELD Trinity and Sheffield Eagles run out at Wembley tomorrow, with both trying to get their hands on the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup.

It means Bradford Bulls' wait for an appearance at the national stadium goes on, though this season brought them closer than they'd been since 2007.

That year saw the first Challenge Cup final back at Wembley since 1999, after the old version was knocked down in 2000 to make way for the new stadium.

But Bradford were well beaten by St Helens in that Challenge Cup final 17 years ago, going down 35-14 in a one-sided affair.

This season, they were actually 8-6 ahead at half-time of their 1895 Cup semi-final at Odsal, and on course for a shock victory over Wakefield, only for the tournament favourites to roar back to win 40-14.

Those defeats to Saints and Trinity means Bulls haven't actually made Wembley since 1997, so unless you're at least 30 years old, you won't remember any of their five Challenge Cup final trips to the Twin Towers...

1997 – St Helens 32 Bradford 22

One year earlier, Bulls completely collapsed from a position of strength against Saints in the cup final, in a game that probably still haunts many of their fans to this day.

More on that later, but this 1997 Wembley final was a pretty exciting contest itself.

Saints produced clever groundwork all day, but tries from Danny Peacock and Paul Loughlin had Bradford level at 10-10 seconds before half-time.

But a try on the hooter from the holders seemed to deflate Bulls, and they fell 20 points behind just after the hour mark.

That meant late tries from Glen Tomlinson and Jimmy Lowes were no more than consolations, as Bradford were forced to trudge up the Wembley steps to collect their losers’ medals for a second successive year.

Jimmy Lowes had plenty to celebrate in his eight seasons at Bulls, but his try in the 1997 Challenge Cup final probably wasn't one of them.Jimmy Lowes had plenty to celebrate in his eight seasons at Bulls, but his try in the 1997 Challenge Cup final probably wasn't one of them. (Image: Matthew Lewis/SWPix.com)

1996 – St Helens 40 Bradford 32

It should not have been two successive losers’ medals of course, as a disastrous final quarter, for full back Nathan Graham in particular, saw Bulls snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

In front of 78,550 fans at Wembley, the outstanding Robbie Paul helped himself to a hat-trick and the Lance Todd Trophy as a result.

Bulls only led by two points at the interval, but they made a roaring start to the second half, and led 26-12 with 57 minutes to go.

But Saints’ Bobbie Goulding decided to bombard the Bradford line with spiralling high kicks, which Graham and his team-mates simply failed to get to grips with.

A rampant Saints crossed for try after try in the closing stages, going on to win the game 40-32 against a shellshocked Bulls.

The game saw the biggest comeback in Challenge Cup final history, was the highest-scoring Challenge Cup final in history, and is the most points ever scored by the losing side in Challenge Cup final.

All three of those records still exist nearly three decades later.

1973 – Featherstone 33 Bradford 14

Bulls must have enjoyed entertaining at Wembley, because not only were a mammoth 126 points across those two successive showpieces against Saints in the 90s, but their game there against Featherstone in 1973 was, at the time, the highest-scoring Challenge Cup final in history.

This was a game that went very much to form, with the most surprising thing being that Bradford had even got to Wembley in the first place, finishing the league season in 23rd place, ensuring relegation to the all-new Second Division.

Conversely, Fev were only just pipped to the title by Warrington, before losing in the play-off quarter-finals to eventual Championship final winners Dewsbury.

And Rovers completely dominated the cup final at Wembley, which was memorable for Cyril Kellett landing eight goals, a record number which was only finally equalled 26 years later by Iestyn Harris.

David Redfearn and Stan Fearnley did at least score consolation tries for Northern, while full back Eddie Tees knocked over four goals.

This lovely try for David Redfearn in the 1973 Challenge Cup final mattered little in the grand scheme of things.This lovely try for David Redfearn in the 1973 Challenge Cup final mattered little in the grand scheme of things. (Image: T&A.)

1949 – Bradford 12 Halifax 0

Bradford have only actually won five Challenge Cups in their history, and their success against Leeds at Murrayfield in 2000 was, remarkably, their first triumph since 51 years prior, when they nilled Halifax at Wembley.

The most remarkable thing about this final was the size of the crowd down in the capital, with the game setting a then-world record attendance for a rugby league game.

An incredible 95,000 supporters packed into the stadium to watch these two West Yorkshire rivals go toe-to-toe.

But there was nothing for the Halifax fans to celebrate, as Bradford kept them out for the whole 80 minutes.

At the other end, tries for Trevor Foster, arguably the club’s greatest-ever player, and Eric Batten saw Northern to victory, while captain Ernest Ward kicked three goals successfully to ensure he got his name on the Lance Todd Trophy.

1947 – Bradford 8 Leeds 4

The club’s maiden Challenge Cup appearance at Wembley came in 1947.

Northern did not even reach the showpiece for the first time until 1944, as it was actually Bradford F.C. who were the city’s first finalists.

They lost the 1898 final at Headingley to Batley but won 1906 edition at the same ground against Salford.

A year later though, Bradford F.C. committed what is sometimes referred to as ‘The Great Betrayal’, toddling away from rugby league to instead become football club Bradford (Park Avenue).

A new club, Bradford Northern, was formed in 1907, but they did not win their first Challenge Cup until 37 years later.

During the Second World War, finals were not played at Wembley, and that maiden triumph came over two legs, with Northern losing 3-0 to Wigan at Central Park before taking home the cup with an 8-0 win in the reverse fixture at Odsal.

They lost to Huddersfield in the two legged-final of 1945, but the showpiece was back at Wembley for 1946.

And Bradford won their second Challenge Cup the following year, beating rivals Leeds 8-4 thanks to tries from Foster and Emlyn Walters, with Ward landing a drop goal for good measure.

Trevor Foster (left) and Ernest Ward (right) were instrumental in Bradford winning the Challenge Cup final at Wembley in both 1947 and 1949.Trevor Foster (left) and Ernest Ward (right) were instrumental in Bradford winning the Challenge Cup final at Wembley in both 1947 and 1949. (Image: T&A.)

That victory was even more impressive given Leeds had not conceded a single point all tournament before the final.

But on the day, it was their great West Yorkshire rivals who won out, as they denied Leeds a sixth Challenge Cup final success.

Bradford's win in 1947 hit Leeds hard, and they did not reach the showpiece for a decade, before beating Barrow at Wembley in 1957.