Challenge Cup

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For other uses, see Challenge Cup (disambiguation).
Challenge Cup
Current season or competition:
2015 Challenge Cup
Sport Rugby league football
Instituted 1896
Number of teams 88
Country  England
 Russia (RFL)
Holders Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos (12th title)
Most titles Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
(19 titles)
Broadcast partner BBC Sport
Sky Sports

The Challenge Cup is a knockout cup competition for rugby league clubs organised by the Rugby Football League.[1] Originally it was contested only by British teams but in recent years has been expanded to allow teams from France and Russia to take part.

It has been held annually since 1896, with the exception of the duration of World War I and the 1939–1940 season, and involves amateur, semi-professional and professional clubs. For the 2013 competition, 96 teams entered the tournament.

The final of the Challenge Cup is one of the most prestigious matches in world rugby league, and is traditionally held at Wembley Stadium, London.[2] Despite London not being an area traditionally associated with rugby league, the final receives a lot of mainstream media coverage and is broadcast to many different countries around the world. Traditionally, "Abide With Me" is sung before the game, and has become something of a rugby league anthem.

The current holders of the Challenge Cup are Leeds Rhinos who defeated Castleford Tigers 23-10 on 23 August 2014 at Wembley Stadium.

Wigan Warriors are the most successful club in the history of the competition, winning the Cup a record 19 times.


The clubs that formed the Northern Union had long been playing in local knock-out cup competitions under the auspices of the Rugby Football Union. However, the rugby union authorities refused to sanction a nationwide tournament, fearing that this would inevitably lead to professionalism. After the schism of 1895, the northern clubs were free to go-ahead, and they instigated the Northern Rugby Football Union Challenge Cup. In 1896 Fattorini's of Bradford were commissioned to manufacture the Challenge Cup at a cost of just £60. Fattorini's also supplied three-guineas winners' medals then valued at thirty shillings.

The first competition was held during the 1896–97 season (the second season of the new game), and 56 clubs entered to compete for the trophy. The first final was held at Headingley in Leeds, on 24 April 1897. Batley defeated St Helens 10–3[3] in front of a crowd of 13,492 (see picture). It is interesting to note that the St Helens side did not play in a standardised team jersey.

The competition was later interrupted by World War One, although it was held in 1915, when the season that had begun before the war was completed. It was then suspended until the end of hostilities. Initially, the final tie was held at one of the larger club grounds in the north, however, noting the excitement in Huddersfield that the town’s soccer team were playing at Wembley in the FA Cup Final and the increasing difficulty for any of the rugby league grounds to satisfy spectator demand to see the final tie, the rugby league authorities voted 13–10 to relocate to the recently built Wembley Stadium in London, aiming to emulate the FA Cup's success and to put the game on the national stage.[4]

The first final held at Wembley was in 1929 when Wigan beat Dewsbury 13–2 in front of a crowd of 41,500. At the start of World War two, rugby league suspended its season immediately, but the Challenge Cup took a single year’s break before restarting, on a limited basis and with the support of the authorities, as part of keeping up morale. The Challenge Cup finals, which took place in the game’s Northern heartland, got big crowds as the game raised money for Prisoners of War and for Lord Beaverbrook’s armaments programme.

The first ever Challenge Cup Final, 1897: Batley(l) vs St Helens(r)

In 1946, the Lance Todd Trophy was introduced and awarded to the man of the match. The first winner was Billy Stott of Wakefield Trinity the first winner of the trophy on the losing team was Frank Whitcombe of Bradford Northern in 1948. In itself, it is a prestigious trophy presented only at the Challenge Cup Final. The winner is selected by the members of the Rugby League Writers' Association present at the game and the trophy is presented at a celebratory dinner at The Willows, home of the Salford City Reds.

1954 saw the Challenge Cup final drawn and the replay set the record for a rugby league match attendance. The match was on 5 May and 102,569 was the official attendance at Odsal Stadium, although it's believed that up to 120,000 spectators were present to see Warrington defeat Halifax 8 – 4.

Wigan are well known for their successes in the Challenge Cup competition, having won more Challenge Cups than any other club with nineteen Challenge Cup final wins.

Until the 1993–94 season there were very few amateur clubs included in the cup, typically two. For part of the 1980s and the 1992–93 season the cup was solely for professional clubs. The competition was then opened up to large numbers of amateur clubs as part of a deal between the Rugby Football League and British Amateur Rugby League Association over bridging the gap between the professional and amateur leagues.

The move to a summer season for rugby league in 1996 did not see the Challenge Cup moved, and it became instead essentially a pre-season tournament, with the first Summer Cup Final held earlier in the season, on 27 August at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

In 1997, a Challenge Cup Plate took place for teams knocked out in the early rounds of the competition. The final took place at Wembley and was won by Hull Kingston Rovers who beat Hunslet Hawks 60–14.

The last cup final before Wembley's redevelopment saw the first appearance of a team from south of the Watford Gap, when the London Broncos were beaten by a record margin, 52–16 by the Leeds Rhinos.[2]

The redevelopment of Wembley Stadium led to the Cup Final utilising a variety of venues. The final is one of the biggest rugby league events of the year in Britain, along with the Super League Grand Final. The Challenge Cup final traditionally formed the end to the season, being played in late April or early May.

There was a belief that the Challenge Cup final taking place early in the season had led to a decline in the prestige of the cup,[5] so the timing of the competition was altered in 2005

On 26 August 2006 St Helens scrum-half Sean Long became the first player in the history of the Challenge Cup to collect a third Lance Todd trophy following his man-of-the-match performance in the final against Huddersfield Giants. His other Lance Todd trophy wins came in the 2001 and 2004 Challenge Cup Finals.

From 2009, the television rights to the Challenge Cup were sold to Australia's leading rugby league broadcaster, Channel Nine, as part of a new 3 year contract.

Current structure[edit]

The modern Challenge Cup has 8 rounds prior to the final. Teams are seeded, entering at different stages. The precise format has altered slightly from year to year, however the current format is as follows:[6][7]

  • Second round: The twenty first round winners play again.
  • Third round: The fourteen League 1 clubs enter the draw with the ten winners from the second round.
  • Fourth round: The twelve Championship teams enter the draw with the twelve third round winners.
  • Fifth round: The bottom four Super League teams enter the draw with the twelve fourth round winners.
  • Sixth round: The top eight Super League teams enter the draw with the eight fourth round winners.
  • Quarter Finals: Last eight.
  • Semi Finals: Played at neutral venues.
  • Final: Played at Wembley Stadium, on the Saturday of the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

Trophies and awards[edit]

The Challenge Cup Trophy[edit]

NRFU Challenge Cup first presented 1896–7

The Challenge Cup trophy was designed by silversmiths Fattorini & Sons of Bradford in 1897.[4] The trophy stood 36 inches high manufactured of solid silver and stood on a black ebony base approximately 8 inches deep.

Tony Collins, the Rugby Football League's archivist, stated in 2007 that, "Fattorini's weren't given any particular commission, just told to come up with something prestigious".[4] The trophy cost £60.[4] The average wage in 1897 was around £2 per week which suggests an equivalent 2007 price of £16,000, although Collins says, "if you wanted something made of silver and with that level of craftsmanship these days, it would be far more expensive. In terms of its subsequent value, the RFL got a bargain."[4]

The trophy currently presented to the winners after the final is not the original which had to be withdrawn due to its delicate condition.[4] As well as the silver wearing thin, it had lost its fluted top and the players on each of the handles had been damaged.[4] The original Fattorini trophy was last presented at the 2001 Challenge Cup Final to St Helens captain Chris Joynt after his team had beaten Bradford Bulls.[8] The original trophy is now stored at the RFL's headquarters at Red Hall and only used for promotional appearances.[4]

The trophy used today was created by Jack Spencer Goldsmiths of Sheffield in 800 man-hours and is an almost exact replica of the Fattorini piece.[4][8] One improvement made with the new version is that the small shields displaying each winning team and captain are now the same size, whereas they had been getting smaller as space ran out on the original.[4] The new trophy's neck has been strengthened.[8] The second trophy was first presented to Wigan, winners of the 2002 Challenge Cup Final.[8]

The winners of the Cup in looking after the trophy must "follow a certain code of practice," says Collins.[4] When not in a secure cabinet, the trophy must always be in the presence of someone.[4] When the trophy is taken out overnight, somebody must sleep in the same room and if taken in a car there must be two people in attendance.[4] Collins reveals that, "When it went down to France for some Catalans publicity photos, it even had its own seat on the plane."[4]

Lance Todd Trophy[edit]

Main article: Lance Todd Trophy

The Lance Todd Trophy, named in memory of Lance Todd, is awarded to the man-of-the-match in the Challenge Cup Final.[9] The winner is decided each year by those members of the Rugby League Writers' Association present at the match.[9]

The Trophy was first presented in 1946 to William "Billy" Stott of Wakefield Trinity.[9][10]

Challenge Cup Finals[edit]

In the seasons during the Second World War the final was played over two legs, with the aggregate score being used.

Year Winners Score Runner–up Venue Attendance
1896–97 Batley colours.svg Batley 10–3 Saintscolours.svg St Helens Headingley, Leeds 13,492
1897–98 Batley colours.svg Batley 7–0 Bradford Headingley, Leeds 27,941
1898–99 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham 19–9 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet Fallowfield, Manchester 15,763
1899–1900 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 16–8 Redscolours.svg Salford Fallowfield, Manchester 17,864
1900–01 Batley colours.svg Batley 6–0 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Headingley, Leeds 29,563
1901–02 Broughton Rangers 25–0 Redscolours.svg Salford Athletic Grounds, Rochdale 15,006
1902–03 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 7–0 Redscolours.svg Salford Headingley, Leeds 32,507
1903–04 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 8–3 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington The Willows, Salford 17,041
1904–05 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 6–0 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers Headingley, Leeds 19,638
1905–06 Bradford FC 5–0 Redscolours.svg Salford Headingley, Leeds 15,834
1906–07 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 17–3 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham Wheater’s Field, Broughton, Salford 18,500
1907–08 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet 14–0 Hullcolours.svg Hull Fartown, Huddersfield 18,000
1908–09 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 17–0 Hullcolours.svg Hull Headingley, Leeds 23,587
1909–10 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 7–7 Hullcolours.svg Hull Fartown, Huddersfield 11,608
Replay Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 26–12 Hullcolours.svg Hull Fartown, Huddersfield 19,413
1910–11 Broughton Rangers 4–0 Wigancolours.svg Wigan The Willows, Salford 8,000
1911–12 Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury 8–5 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham Headingley, Leeds 15,271
1912–13 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 9–5 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Headingley, Leeds 22,754
1913–14 Hullcolours.svg Hull 6–0 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity Thrum Hall, Halifax 19,000
1914–15 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 37–3 Saintscolours.svg St Helens Watersheddings, Oldham 8,000
1919–20 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 21–10 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Headingley, Leeds 14,000
1920–21 Leigh colours.svg Leigh 13–0 Faxcolours.svg Halifax Wheater’s Field, Broughton, Salford 25,000
1921–22 Rochdale colours.svg Rochdale Hornets 10–9 Hullcolours.svg Hull Headingley, Leeds 32,596
1922–23 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 28–3 Hullcolours.svg Hull Belle Vue, Wakefield 29,335
1923–24 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 21–4 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham Athletic Grounds, Rochdale 41,831
1924–25 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham 16–3 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers Headingley, Leeds 28,335
1925–26 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 9–3 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham Athletic Grounds, Rochdale 27,000
1926–27 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham 26–7 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton Central Park, Wigan 33,448
1927–28 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 5–3 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Central Park, Wigan 33,909
1928–29 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 13–2 Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury Wembley Stadium, London 41,500
1929–30 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 10–3 Saintscolours.svg St Helens Wembley Stadium, London 36,544
1930–31 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 22–8 Yorkcolours.svg York Wembley Stadium, London 40,368
1931–32 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 11–8 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton Central Park, Wigan 29,000
1932–33 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 21–17 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wembley Stadium, London 41,874
1933–34 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet 11–5 Widnes colours.svg Widnes Wembley Stadium, London 41,280
1934–35 Castleford colours.svg Castleford 11–8 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Wembley Stadium, London 39,000
1935–36 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 18–2 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wembley Stadium, London 51,250
1936–37 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 18–5 Cougscolours.svg Keighley Wembley Stadium, London 47,699
1937–38 Redscolours.svg Salford 7–4 Barrowcolours.svg Barrow Wembley Stadium, London 51,243
1938–39 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 20–3 Redscolours.svg Salford Wembley Stadium, London 55,453
1940–41 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 19–2 Faxcolours.svg Halifax Odsal Stadium, Bradford 28,500
1941–42 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 15–10 Faxcolours.svg Halifax Odsal Stadium, Bradford 15,250
1942–43 Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury 16–9 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Crown Flatt, Dewsbury 10,470
1942–43 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 6–0 Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury Headingley, Leeds 16,000
1942–43 Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury 16–15 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds (aggregate score) n/a
1943–44 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 3–0 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern Central Park, Wigan 22,000
1943–44 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern 8–0 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Odsal Stadium, Bradford 30,000
1943–44 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern 8–3 Wigancolours.svg Wigan (aggregate score) n/a
1944–45 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 7–4 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern Fartown, Huddersfield 9,041
1944–45 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 6–5 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern Odsal Stadium, Bradford 17,500
1944–45 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 13–9 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern (aggregate score) n/a
1945–46 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 13–12 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Wembley Stadium, London 54,730
1946–47 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern 8–4 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Wembley Stadium, London 77,605
1947–48 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 8–3 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern Wembley Stadium, London 71,465
1948–49 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern 12–0 Faxcolours.svg Halifax Wembley Stadium, London 95,050
1949–50 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 19–0 Widnes colours.svg Widnes Wembley Stadium, London 94,249
1950–51 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 10–0 Barrowcolours.svg Barrow Wembley Stadium, London 94,262
1951–52 Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town 18–10 Fevcolours.svg Featherstone Rovers Wembley Stadium, London 72,093
1952–53 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 15–10 Saintscolours.svg St Helens Wembley Stadium, London 89,588
1953–54 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 4–4 Faxcolours.svg Halifax Wembley Stadium, London 81,841
Replay Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 8–4 Faxcolours.svg Halifax Odsal Stadium, Bradford 102,569
1954–55 Barrowcolours.svg Barrow 21–12 Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town Wembley Stadium, London 66,513
1955–56 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 13–2 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 79,341
1956–57 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 9–7 Barrowcolours.svg Barrow 76,318
1957–58 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 13–9 Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town 66,109
1958–59 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 30–13 Hullcolours.svg Hull 79,811
1959–60 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 38–5 Hullcolours.svg Hull 79,773
1960–61 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 12–6 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 94,672
1961–62 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 12–6 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 81,263
1962–63 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 25–10 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 84,492
1963–64 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 13–5 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 84,488
1964–65 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 20–16 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet 89,016
1965–66 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 21–2 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 98,536
1966–67 Fevcolours.svg Featherstone Rovers 17–12 Barrowcolours.svg Barrow 76,290
1967–68 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 11–10 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 87,100
1968–69 Castleford colours.svg Castleford 11–6 Redscolours.svg Salford 97,939
1969–70 Castleford colours.svg Castleford 7–2 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 95,255
1970–71 Leigh colours.svg Leigh 24–7 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 85,514
1971–72 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 16–13 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 89,495
1972–73 Fevcolours.svg Featherstone Rovers 33–14 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern 72,395
1973–74 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 24 –9 Fevcolours.svg Featherstone Rovers 77,400
1974–75 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 14–7 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 85,098
1975–76 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 20–5 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 89,982
1976–77 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 16–7 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 80,871
1977–78 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 14–12 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 96,000
1978–79 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 12–3 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 94,218
1979–80 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 10–5 Hullcolours.svg Hull 95,000
1980–81 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 18–9 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 92,496
1981–82 Hullcolours.svg Hull 14–14 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 92,147
Replay Hullcolours.svg Hull 18–9 Widnes colours.svg Widnes Elland Road, Leeds 41,171
1982–83 Fevcolours.svg Featherstone Rovers 14–12 Hullcolours.svg Hull Wembley Stadium, London 84,969
1983–84 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 19–6 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 80,116
1984–85 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 28–24 Hullcolours.svg Hull 99,801
1985–86 Castleford colours.svg Castleford 15–14 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 82,134
1986–87 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 19–18 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 91,267
1987–88 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 32–12 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 94,273
1988–89 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 27–0 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 78,000
1989–90 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 36–14 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 77,729
1990–91 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 13–8 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 75,532
1991–92 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 28–12 Castleford colours.svg Castleford 77,286
1992–93 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 20–14 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 77,684
1993–94 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 26–16 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 78,348
1994–95 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 30–10 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 78,550
1996 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 40–32 Bullscolours.svgBradford 75,994
1997 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 32–22 Bullscolours.svg Bradford 78,022
1998 Sheffeagles colours.svg Sheffield Eagles 17–8 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 60,669
1999 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 52– 16 Broncoscolours.png London Broncos 73,242
2000 Bullscolours.svg Bradford 24–18 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Murrayfield, Edinburgh 67,247
2001 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 13–6 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Twickenham, London 68,250
2002 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 21–12 Saintscolours.svg St Helens Murrayfield, Edinburgh 62,140
2003 Bullscolours.svg Bradford 22–20 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Millennium Stadium, Cardiff 71,212
2004 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 32–16 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 73,734
2005 Hullcolours.svg Hull 25–24 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 74,213
2006 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 42–12 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Twickenham, London 65,187
2007 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 30–8 Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons Wembley Stadium, London 84,241
2008 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 28–16 Hullcolours.svg Hull 82,821
2009 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 25–16 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 76,560
2010 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 30–6 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 85,217
2011 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 28–18 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 78,482
2012 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 35–18 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 79,180
2013 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 16–0 Hullcolours.svg Hull 78,137
2014 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 23-10 Castleford colours.svg Castleford 77,914

Challenge Cup Champions[edit]

Clubs by number of wins (and when they last won and lost a final). Only the aggregate winner/loser for the years during the Second World War has been counted.

Club Wins Last win Runners-up Last final lost
1 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 19 2013 11 2004
2 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 12 2014 12 2012
3 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 12 2008 9 2002
4 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 8 2012 8 1990
5 Widnes colours.svg Widnes Vikings 7 1984 6 1993
6 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants 6 1953 4 2009
7 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 5 1987 7 1988
8 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 5 2003 6 2001
9 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 5 1963 3 1979
10 Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers 4 1986 2 2014
11 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C. 3 2005 12 2013
12 Oldhamcolours.svgOldham Roughyeds 3 1927 4 1926
13 Fevcolours.svg Featherstone Rovers 3 1983 2 1974
14 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton Lions 3 1928 2 1932
15 Batley colours.svg Batley Bulldogs 3 1901 0 -
16 Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury Rams 2 1943 1 1929
17 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet Hawks 2 1934 2 1965
18 Broughton Rangers §§ 2 1911 0 -
19 Leigh colours.svg Leigh Centurions 2 1971 0 -
20 Redscolours.svg Salford Red Devils 1 1938 6 1969
21 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 1 1980 5 1986
22 Barrowcolours.svg Barrow Raiders 1 1955 4 1967
23 Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town 1 1952 2 1958
24 Bradford §§ 1 1905 1 1898
25 Rochdale colours.svg Rochdale Hornets 1 1922 0 -
26 Sheffeagles colours.svg Sheffield Eagles 1 1998 0 -
27 Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons 0 - 1 2007
28 Broncoscolours.png London Broncos 0 - 1 1999
29 Cougscolours.svg Keighley Cougars 0 - 1 1937
30 Yorkcolours.svg York City Knights 0 - 1 1931
  • GOLD Denotes current holders
  • §§ Denotes club now defunct

The Double[edit]

In Rugby League, the term 'the Double' is referring to the achievement of a club that wins the Championship and Challenge Cup in the same season. To date, this has been achieved by nine different clubs.

Club Wins Winning Years
1 Wigan 7 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95, 2013
2 St Helens 3 1965/66, 1996, 2006
3 Huddersfield 2 1912/13, 1914/15 (All Four Cups)
4 Broughton Rangers 1 1901/02
5 Halifax 1 1902/03
6 Hunslet 1 1907/08 (All Four Cups)
7 Swinton 1 1927/28 (All Four Cups)
8 Warrington 1 1953/54
9 Bradford 1 2003
  • In the event of a tie, the team that won x amount of 'Doubles' first is given preference.


Final Records[edit]


  • Most wins: 19 by Wigan
  • Most finals: 30 by Wigan
  • Highest winning score: Leeds Rhinos 52 v London Broncos 16 in 1999
  • Lowest winning score: Broughton Rangers 4 v Wigan 0 in 1911
  • Widest margin: Leeds Rhinos 52 v London Broncos 16 in 1999
  • Most points aggregate: 72 by St. Helens 40 v Bradford Bulls 32 in 1996
  • Least points aggregate: 4 by Broughton Rangers 4 v Wigan 0 in 1911
  • Most tries by one team: 9, by Huddersfield v St. Helens in 1915, and Leeds Rhinos v London Broncos in 1999
  • Consecutive wins and finals: 8 by Wigan from 1988 to 1995
  • Consecutive final defeats: 3 by Hull (1908–10) and Leeds (2010-2012)
  • Most tries aggregate: 13 by St. Helens (8) v Bradford Bulls (5) in 1996
  • Biggest attendance: 102,569 Warrington v. Halifax (replay) at Odsal Stadium, Bradford in 1954


  • Most appearances: 11 by Shaun Edwards (Wigan – 1984, 85, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95; London Broncos – 1999)
  • Most wins: 9 by Shaun Edwards – (Wigan – 1985, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95)
  • Most goals: 8, by Cyril Kellett (Featherstone Rovers v Bradford Northern in 1973), and Iestyn Harris (Leeds Rhinos v London Broncos in 1999)
  • Most tries: 4 by Leroy Rivett (Leeds Rhinos v London Broncos in 1999)
  • Most points: 20, (2 tries, 7 goals) by Neil Fox (Wakefield Trinity v Hull in 1960), and (1 try, 8 goals) by Iestyn Harris (Leeds Rhinos v London Broncos in 1999)
  • Most goals in all finals: 21 by Frano Botica (Wigan, 1991 – 2, 1992 – 5, 1993 – 4, 1994 – 5, 1995 – 5)
  • Most tries in all finals: 6 by Kevin Iro (Wigan, 1988 – 2, 1989 – 2, 1990 – 2)
  • Most points in all finals: 46 by Frano Botica (Wigan, 1991 – 8pts, 1992 – 10pts, 1993 – 8pts, 1994 – 10pts, 1995 – 10 pts)

Round Records[edit]


  • Highest score: York City Knights 132 v Northumbria University 0 2011
  • Longest unbeaten run: 43 by Wigan (42 victories and 1 draw)


  • Most goals in a match: 22 by Jim Sullivan (Wigan v. Flimby and Fothergill) in 1925
  • Most tries in a match: 11 by George West (Hull Kingston Rovers v. Brookland Rovers in 1905)
  • Most points in a match: 56 (4 tries, 20 goals) by Chris Thorman (York City Knights v. Northumbria University in 2011)


The Challenge Cup has been sponsored since 1980, with the sponsor being able to determine the cup's sponsorship name. There have been six sponsors.

Media Coverage[edit]

The BBC first covered the final of this competition when Wigan beat Bradford in 1948. At that time though the only TV transmitter was in London, so fans up North never got to see it. It was another ten years before another final was covered when Wigan again won against Workington in 1958. The inception of Grandstand also saw coverage of earlier rounds start to be shown during the 1960s with ITV "World of Sport" even showing games as well for a short period. The BBC has been the predominant broadcaster though with them showing every Final LIVE since 1958 (except the 1982 Final Replay shown as highlights). Eddie Waring was the first commentator for BBC Coverage. When he retired, commentary was covered by Ray French and he continues to work for the BBC albeit in semi-retirement, with his last Challenge Cup Final in 2008. From 2009, the present day main commentator is Dave Woods. He usually commentates with Brian Noble, Jonathan Davies, Iestyn Harris or Ian Millward. Nowadays, BBC continue to broadcast the tournament with Clare Balding hosting from 2006 to 2012 until her move to Channel 4 Racing. Mark Chapman was secondary host in 2012 when Balding was unavailable for the cup and international matches, and previous hosts for the BBC are John Inverdale and Steve Rider.

Sky Sports now have the rights for the early rounds with one match each round and two quarter finals; while BBC also show one match in the early rounds, two quarter finals, both semi finals and the final.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ RFL. "About the Competition". Rugby Football League. Retrieved 2009-05-08. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b Demsteader, Christine (2000-10-01). "Rugby League's home from home". BBC Sport (UK: BBC). Retrieved 2009-12-04. 
  3. ^ Baker, Andrew (20 August 1995). "100 years of rugby league: From the great divide to the Super era". Independent, The. Retrieved 25 September 2009. 
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