1972–73 Northern Rugby Football League season

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1972–73 Northern Rugby Football League season
League Northern Rugby Football League
Number of teams 30
Champions Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury
Top point-scorer(s) Redscolours.svg David Watkins 493
Top try-scorer(s) Rhinoscolours.svg John Atkinson 39
League reorganisation
Created Second Division Yorkcolours.svg York
Faxcolours.svg Halifax
Batley colours.svg Batley
Cougscolours.svg Keighley
Swintoncolours.svg Swinton
Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town
Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern
Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield
Hullcolours.svg Hull
Barrowcolours.svg Barrow
Doncaster colours.svg Doncaster
Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet
Blackpoolcolours.svg Blackpool Borough
Huyton
< 1971–72 Seasons 1973–74 >

The 1972–73 Northern Rugby Football League season was the 77th season of rugby league football played in England. It would also be the last season whereby the British championship was decided by a play-off system until Super League III in 1998. Dewsbury were crowned champions after defeating Leeds in the Final. The 1972-73 season was also punctuated by the 1972 Rugby League World Cup which was played in France in October and November. At the end of this season the league re-formed into two divisions. The top 16 in the championship would form Division 1 and the bottom 14 Division 2.

Rule changes[edit]

Number of tackles:

  • The four-tackle rule was altered and a new limit of six tackles was introduced.[1][2] The four-tackle rules had been blamed for making the game seem "disjointed".[2] A scrum was formed at the end of a completed set of the tackles.[2]

Timekeeping:

  • Timekeepers were given responsibility, rather than referees, for controlling time in matches. They signalled using a hooter siren system.

Season summary[edit]

Salford's David Watkins set the record for most goals (including drop goals) in a season with 221. Also, on 19 August 1972, Watkins started his record scoring streak which lasted until 25 April 1974. He totalled 929 points from 41 tries and 403 goals in 92 consecutive matches for one club.

1972-73 also saw the Wigan club celebrate its centenary, having been formed as Wigan F.C. on 21 November 1872. During the season they played a special Centenary Celebration match against an "Australians" side.

Hunslet disbanded at the end of the season, reforming as New Hunslet for the 1973–74 season.

Salford beat Swinton 25–11 to win the Lancashire Cup, and Leeds beat Dewsbury 36–9 to win the Yorkshire Cup.

Championship[edit]

Final standings[edit]

Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 34 27 2 5 816 400 +416 56
2 Fevcolours.svg Featherstone Rovers 34 27 0 7 768 436 +332 54
3 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 34 26 1 7 810 324 +486 53
4 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 34 24 2 8 623 298 +325 50
5 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 34 25 0 9 814 398 +416 50
6 Redscolours.svg Salford 34 25 0 9 723 383 +340 50
7 Cascolours.png Castleford 34 25 0 9 704 404 +300 50
8 Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury 34 23 0 11 534 354 +180 46
9 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham 34 20 2 12 604 349 +255 42
10 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 34 20 1 13 731 522 +209 41
11 Rochdale colours.svg Rochdale Hornets 34 20 1 13 438 426 +12 41
12 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 34 19 0 15 592 458 +134 38
13 Leigh colours.svg Leigh 34 18 2 14 479 390 +89 38
14 Bramley 34 18 1 15 452 453 -1 37
15 Haven colours.svg Whitehaven 34 18 1 15 408 512 -104 37
16 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 34 17 1 16 577 491 +86 35
17 Yorkcolours.svg York 34 17 1 16 586 575 +11 35
18 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 34 17 0 17 543 562 -19 34
19 Batley colours.svg Batley 34 15 0 19 537 600 -63 30
20 Cougscolours.svg Keighley 34 15 0 19 451 505 -54 30
21 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 34 14 1 19 441 458 -17 29
22 Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town 34 12 1 21 444 464 -20 25
23 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern 34 12 0 22 582 685 -103 24
24 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 34 10 2 22 465 598 -133 22
25 Hullcolours.svg Hull 34 11 0 23 494 693 -199 22
26 Barrowcolours.svg Barrow 34 7 0 27 351 775 -434 14
27 Doncaster colours.svg Doncaster 34 6 0 28 298 911 -613 12
28 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet 34 5 0 29 371 916 -545 10
29 Blackpoolcolours.svg Blackpool Borough 34 4 0 30 324 972 -648 8
30 Huyton 34 3 1 30 243 879 -636 7
Play-offs,
Form 1973–74 Division 1

Form 1973–74 Division 2

Play-offs[edit]

Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semi-finals Championship Final
                       
3 Leeds 45
14 Bramley 8
Leeds 30
Castleford 5
7 Castleford 24
10 Hull Kingston Rovers 12
Leeds 7
St Helens 2
4 St Helens 29
13 Leigh 14
St Helens 28
Wakefield Trinity 0
5 Wakefield Trinity 33
12 Widnes 6
Leeds 13
Dewsbury 22
1 Warrington 30
16 Wigan 15
Warrington 16
Rochdale Hornets 9
6 Salford 10
11 Rochdale Hornets 14
Warrington 7
Dewsbury 12
2 Featherstone Rovers 14
15 Whitehaven 4
Featherstone Rovers 7
Dewsbury 26
8 Dewsbury 29
9 Oldham 14

Final[edit]

The 1973 Final was to be the last time a play-off system would be used to determine the British champions until 1998's Super League season. The match was played on 19 May 1973 at Bradford's Odsal Stadium between the previous season's champions, Leeds and first-time finalists, Dewsbury. Dewsbury had suffered a county cup record defeat 36-9 at the hands of Leeds in the Yorkshire Cup final earlier in the season. Also Leeds had finished 3rd on the ladder and Dewsbury 8th. However, Dewsbury opened up a 12-4 lead by the interval with tries by the hooker Mike Stephenson and Allan Agar and two goals and a drop-goal from the boot of centre Nigel Stephenson. Leeds captain Alan Hardisty was sent off for the first time in his career for a high tackle on John Bates.

A second try from Mike Stephenson on 44 minutes extended Dewsbury's lead and though Leeds hit back with tries by Graham Eccles, Phil Cookson and Les Dyl, it was not to be with Nigel Stephenson converting his own try to complete a resounding 22-13 success. Leading journalist Jack Winstanley wrote at the time: "Dewsbury's win sprung from a superb team effort that paid ample tribute to the coaching and inspiration of (coach) Tommy Smales. They bewildered a jaded Leeds outfit with a series of scissors moves and dummy passes that might have looked grossly over-elaborate had they not worked to such perfection." The Harry Sunderland Trophy for man-of-the-match went to Mike Stephenson. Greg Ashcroft, Jeff Grayshon and Alan Bates also played in the champion Dewsbury side.

Challenge Cup[edit]

The 1973 Challenge Cup final was won by Featherstone Rovers who beat Bradford Northern 33-14 at Wembley before a crowd of 72,395. Featherstone Rovers' Great Britain scrum half-back, Steve Nash put in a man-of-the-match performance to win the Lance Todd Trophy. Cyril Kellett scored 8-conversions for Featherstone Rovers, the most in a Challenge Cup Final (equalled by Iestyn Harris in 1999).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Phil Clarke (2008-09-03). "Changing the law". Sky Sports. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  2. ^ a b c de la Riviere, Richard, ed. (2009), "Top ten: Rugby league rules", Rugby League World (Brighouse, UK: League Publications, published August 2009) (340): 61, ISSN 1466-0105 

Sources[edit]