BBC2 Floodlit Trophy

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The BBC 2 Floodlit Trophy (also known as the BBC 2 Television Trophy) was a competition for British rugby league clubs held between 1965 and 1980. It was designed specifically for television, and the then director of BBC2, broadcaster David Attenborough, was instrumental in its creation. When the competition was first mooted not many clubs were equipped with floodlights, but the tournament caused no fewer than twenty-one clubs to install them.

The tournament was not Rugby League’s first foray into evening television; the 1955-56 season saw a tournament titled the ITV Floodlit Competition. Eight clubs participated in a series of games played at football grounds in the London area, with Warrington eventually running out 43-18 victors over Leigh.

The tournament was played during the early part of the season. Each week one match would be played under floodlights on a Tuesday evening; the second half of this match that would be broadcast live on BBC2. Non-televised matches were played at various times, depending on clubs' commitments in more prestigious tournaments. Despite the title many matches did not take place under floodlights; clubs such as Barrow and Bramley (for example) did not possess adequate lighting.[1]

The first season, 1965-66, eight clubs - Castleford, Leeds, Leigh, Oldham, St. Helens, Swinton, Warrington and Widnes took part. [2] Seven of the eight teams had floodlights and Leeds installed theirs the following season.

The four-tackles-then-a-scrum rule[3] was first introduced in the competition's second season, in October 1966, before being implemented in all competitions by December.

Castleford won the trophy in the first season, 1965-66 and won have won the trophy the most times, on three more occasions 1966-67, 1967-68 and 1976-77.

Despite disagreements over shirt sponsorship in the early 1970s, Rugby League remained a mainstay of BBC Television during the 1970s and 1980s. Although the commitment to the Floodlit Trophy decreased before financial cutbacks at the BBC lead to its cancellation after the 1979-80 competition.[4] In the last final, Hull FC beat local rivals Hull Kingston Rovers.

List of finals [5][edit]

Season Date Winners Score Runner-up Venue
1965–66 December 14 1965 Castleford 4 - 0 St. Helens Knowsley Road, St. Helens
1966–67 December 20 1966 Castleford 7 - 2 Swinton Wheldon Road, Castleford
1967–68 January 16 1968 Castleford 8 - 5 Leigh Headingley, Leeds
1968–69 December 17 1968 Wigan 7 - 4 St. Helens Central Park, Wigan
1969–70 December 16 1969 Leigh 11 - 6 Wigan Central Park, Wigan
1970–71 December 15 1970 Leeds 9 - 5 St. Helens Headingley, Leeds
1971–72 December 14 1971 St. Helens 8 - 2 Rochdale Hornets Knowsley Road, St. Helens
1972–73 December 19 1972 Leigh 5 - 0 Widnes Central Park, Wigan
1973–74 December 18 1973 Bramley 15 - 7 Widnes Naughton Park, Widnes
1974–75 December 17 1974 Salford 0 - 0 Warrington The Willows, Salford
(replay) January 28 1975 Salford 10 - 5 Warrington Wilderspool, Warrington
1975–76 December 16 1975 St. Helens 22 - 2 Dewsbury Knowsley Road, St. Helens
1976–77 December 14 1976 Castleford 12 - 4 Leigh Hilton Park, Leigh
1977–78 December 13 1977 Hull Kingston Rovers 26 - 11 St. Helens Craven Park, Hull
1978–79 December 12 1978 Widnes 13 - 7 St. Helens Knowsley Road, St. Helens
1979–80 December 18 1979 Hull 13 - 3 Hull Kingston Rovers The Boulevard, Hull

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