County Championship (rugby union)

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For the second tier of the English Counties competition, see County Championship Shield. For the third tier of the English Counties competition, see County Championship Plate.
Current season, competition or edition:
Bill Beaumont Cup 2013-14
Sport Rugby union
Founded 1889
Owner(s) Rugby Football Union
Country England
Most recent champion(s) Lancashire
Most titles Lancashire (23)

The County Championship is an annual rugby union competition in England between teams representing English counties. After restructuring in 2007 the top tier of the Championship has been known as the Bill Beaumont Cup, after the trophy awarded to the competition winners was named in honour of Bill Beaumont, a former England and British & Irish Lions captain.[1] Teams also compete for the County Championship Shield and County Championship Plate.

The English County Championship has a long history, being first officially recognised by the Rugby Football Union in 1889. The 2013 Championship was the 113th competition. The most successful county, Lancashire, has won the competition 23 times, followed by Gloucestershire (17) and Yorkshire (15). Gloucestershire and Lancashire (33 each) have made the most appearances in contested finals.

On four occasions the tournament final has been tied at full-time and a second leg rematch has been played. Two of these rematches were also tied and on these occasions (1907 and 1967) the finalists were declared joint winners. In 1991 the final match between Cornwall and Yorkshire was tied at full-time and extra time was played, with Cornwall winning 29-20. In 2001 the Championship did not take place due to the 2001 United Kingdom foot-and-mouth outbreak; instead Yorkshire and Cornwall were invited to play at Twickenham.

Structure[edit]

There was little formal structure to the first official years of the competition, with teams playing different numbers of matches and different opposition from across England. The winners were determined by a panel of judges from the RFU Committee. From 1892-1895, the four winners of four regional Championships (North East, North West, South East and South West) played a round robin to determine the overall winner of the County Championship.

A restructure in 1896, led to the creation of North and South regions only, the winners of these regional competitions playing a final for the County Championship. Another restructure in 1921 saw the formation of 5 regions and the knock-out stage of the championship extend to semi-finals and a final. The winners of the North East, North West and South East regions were entered into a semi-final draw along with the winners of a playoff between the winners of the South and South West regions.

Since 2007, the top 8 counties have been split into two regions of 4 teams, North and South, who play a round robin tournament, the winners of which compete for the English County Championship in the final. This format is repeated for the 8 counties that compete for the County Championship Shield. The 11 counties which compete for the County Championship Plate are split into 3 pools from which the winners and runner-up with the best record meet in semi-final matches.

Past winners[edit]

Year Winner Regional Winners
1889 Yorkshire
1890 Yorkshire
1891 Lancashire
1892 Yorkshire Kent, Lancashire, Midlands
1893 Yorkshire Cumberland, Devon, Middlesex
1894 Yorkshire Lancashire, Midlands, Somerset
1895 Yorkshire Cumberland, Devon, Midlands
Year Winners Home Team Score Away Team Venue Notes
1896 Yorkshire Surrey 4-16 Yorkshire Richmond
1897 Kent Cumberland 3-9 Kent Carlisle
1898 Northumberland Midlands 3-24 Northumberland Coventry
1899 Devon Northumberland 0-5 Devon Newcastle
1900 Durham County Devon 3-11 Durham County Exeter
1901 Devon Durham County 3-14 Devon West Hartlepool
1902 Durham County Gloucestershire 3-9 Durham County Gloucester
1903 Durham County Durham County 4-3 Kent West Hartlepool
1904 Kent Kent 8-6 Durham County Blackheath
1905 Durham County Durham County 9-8 Middlesex West Hartlepool
1906 Devon Devon 16-3 Durham County Exeter
1907 Title shared after replay drawn Durham County 3-3 Devon West Hartlepool
Devon 0-0 Durham County Exeter
1908 Cornwall Cornwall 17-3 Durham County Redruth
1909 Durham County Durham County 12-0 Cornwall West Hartlepool
1910 Gloucestershire Gloucestershire 23-0 Yorkshire Gloucester
1911 Devon Yorkshire 3-12 Devon Kirkstall, Leeds
1912 Devon Devon 29-0 Northumberland Devonport
1913 Gloucestershire Cumberland 3-14 Gloucestershire Carlisle
1914 Midlands Midlands 22-5 Durham County Leicester
1915-19 Competition suspended for WWI
1920 Gloucestershire Yorkshire 3-27 Gloucestershire Bradford
1921 Gloucestershire Gloucestershire 31-4 Leicestershire Kingsholm
1922 Gloucestershire North Midlands 0-19 Gloucestershire Aston Villa
1923 Somerset Somerset 8-6 Leicestershire Bridgwater
1924 Cumberland Cumberland 14-3 Kent Carlisle
1925 Leicestershire Gloucestershire 6-14 Leicestershire Bristol
1926 Yorkshire Yorkshire 15-14 Hampshire Bradford
1927 Kent Kent 22-12 Leicestershire Blackheath
1928 Yorkshire Yorkshire 12-8 Cornwall Bradford
1929 Middlesex Middlesex 8-8 Lancashire Twickenham
Lancashire 8-9 Middlesex Blundellsands Replay match
1930 Gloucestershire Lancashire 7-13 Gloucestershire Blundellsands
1931 Gloucestershire Gloucestershire 10-9 Warwickshire Gloucester
1932 Gloucestershire Durham County 3-9 Gloucestershire Blaydon-on-Tyne
1933 Hampshire Hampshire 18-7 Lancashire Boscombe
1934 East Midlands East Midlands 10-0 Gloucestershire Northampton
1935 Lancashire Somerset 0-14 Lancashire Bath
1936 Hampshire Northumberland 6-13 Hampshire Gosforth
1937 Gloucestershire Gloucestershire 5-0 East Midlands Bristol
1938 Lancashire Lancashire 24-12 Surrey Blundellsands
1939 Warwickshire Somerset 3-8 Warwickshire Weston-Super-Mare
1940-46 Competition suspended for WWII
1947 Lancashire Lancashire 8-8 Gloucestershire Blundellsands
Gloucestershire 3-14 Lancashire Kingsholm Replay match
1948 Lancashire Eastern Counties 0-5 Lancashire Cambridge
1949 Lancashire Lancashire 9-3 Gloucestershire Blundellsands
1950 Cheshire Cheshire 5-0 East Midlands Birkenhead Park
1951 East Midlands East Midlands 10-0 Middlesex Northampton
1952 Middlesex Middlesex 9-6 Lancashire Twickenham
1953 Yorkshire Yorkshire 11-3 East Midlands Bradford
1954 Middlesex Lancashire 6-24 Middlesex Blundellsands
1955 Lancashire Middlesex 8-14 Lancashire Twickenham
1956 Middlesex Middlesex 13-9 Devon Twickenham
1957 Devon Devon 12-3 Yorkshire Home Park, Plymouth
1958 Warwickshire Warwickshire 16-8 Cornwall Coundon Road, Coventry
1959 Warwickshire Gloucestershire 9-14 Warwickshire Memorial Ground Bristol
1960 Warwickshire Warwickshire 9-6 Surrey Coundon Road, Coventry
1961 Cheshire Devon 0-0 Cheshire Home Park, Plymouth
Cheshire 5-3 Devon Birkenhead Park Replay match
1962 Warwickshire Hampshire 6-11 Warwickshire Twickenham
1963 Warwickshire Warwickshire 13-10 Yorkshire Coundon Road, Coventry
1964 Warwickshire Warwickshire 8-6 Lancashire Coundon Road, Coventry
1965 Warwickshire Durham County 9-15 Warwickshire Hartlepool
1966 Middlesex Lancashire 0-6 Middlesex Blundellsands
1967 Title shared after replay drawn Surrey 14-14 Durham County Twickenham
Durham County 0-0 Surrey Hartlepool
1968 Middlesex Middlesex 9-6 Warwickshire Twickenham
1969 Lancashire Cornwall 9-11 Lancashire Redruth
1970 Staffordshire Staffordshire 11-9 Gloucestershire Burton on Trent
1971 Surrey Gloucestershire 3-14 Surrey Kingsholm
1972 Gloucestershire Warwickshire 6-11 Gloucestershire Coundon Road, Coventry
1973 Lancashire Gloucestershire 12-17 Lancashire Memorial Ground Bristol
1974 Gloucestershire Lancashire 12-22 Gloucestershire Blundellsands
1975 Gloucestershire Gloucestershire 13-9 East Counties Kingsholm
1976 Gloucestershire Middlesex 9-24 Gloucestershire Richmond Athletic Ground
1977 Lancashire Lancashire 17-6 Middlesex Blundellsands
1978 North Midlands North Midlands 10-7 Gloucestershire The Reddings, Moseley
1979 Middlesex Middlesex 19-6 Northumberland Twickenham
1980 Lancashire Lancashire 21-15 Gloucestershire Vale of Lune
1981 Lancashire North Midlands 3-7 Lancashire The Reddings, Moseley
1982 Northumberland Gloucestershire 6-15 Northumberland Kingsholm
1983 Gloucestershire Gloucestershire 19-7 Yorkshire Memorial Ground Bristol

From 1984 all Championship finals were played at Twickenham.

Year Winners Score Runner's Up Venue Notes
1984 Gloucestershire 36-18 Somerset Twickenham
1985 Middlesex 12-9 Notts, Lincs & Derby Twickenham
1986 Warwickshire 16-6 Kent Twickenham
1987 Yorkshire 22-11 Middlesex Twickenham
1988 Lancashire 23-18 Warwickshire Twickenham
1989 Durham County 13-9 Cornwall Twickenham
1990 Lancashire 32-9 Middlesex Twickenham
1991 Cornwall 29-20 Yorkshire Twickenham AET
1992 Lancashire 9-6 Cornwall Twickenham
1993 Lancashire 9-6 Yorkshire Twickenham
1994 Yorkshire 26-3 Durham County Twickenham
1995 Warwickshire 15-9 Northumberland Twickenham
1996 Gloucestershire 17-13 Warwickshire Twickenham
1997 Cumbria 21-13 Somerset Twickenham
1998 Cheshire 21-14 Cornwall Twickenham
1999 Cornwall 25-15 Gloucestershire Twickenham
2000 Yorkshire 16-9 Devon Twickenham
2001 Yorkshire 47-19 Cornwall Twickenham Challenge match
2002 Gloucestershire 26-23 Cheshire Twickenham
2003 Lancashire 24-18 Gloucestershire Twickenham
2004 Devon 43-14 Gloucestershire Twickenham
2005 Devon 22-16 Lancashire Twickenham
2006 Lancashire 32-26 Devon Twickenham
2007 Devon 27-6 Lancashire Twickenham
2008 Yorkshire 33-13 Devon Twickenham
2009 Lancashire 32-18 Gloucestershire Twickenham
2010 Lancashire 36-6 Gloucestershire Twickenham
2011 Lancashire 32-23 Hertfordshire Twickenham
2012 Hertfordshire 38-20 Lancashire Twickenham
2013 Lancashire 35-26 Cornwall Twickenham
2014 Lancashire 36-26 Cornwall Twickenham

Championships by county[edit]

County Outright Shared Total Runners-up Last won
Cheshire 3 3 1 1998
Cornwall 3 3 8 1999
Cumberland 1 1 2 1924
Cumbria 1 1 0 1997
Devon 9 1 10 6 2007
Durham 6 2 8 8 1989
East Midlands 2 2 3 1951
Eastern Counties 2
Gloucestershire 17 17 16 2002
Hampshire 2 2 2 1936
Hertfordshire 1 1 1 2012
Kent 3 3 3 1927
Lancashire 23 23 10 2014
Leicestershire 1 1 3 1925
Middlesex 8 8 7 1985
Midlands 1 1 1 1914
North Midlands 1 1 2 1978
Northumberland 2 2 5 1982
Notts, Lincs & Derby 1
Somerset 1 1 4 1923
Staffordshire 1 1 0 1970
Surrey 1 1 2 3 1971
Warwickshire 10 10 5 1995
Yorkshire 15 15 8 2008

Cumbria, a 1974 amalgamation of the former counties of Cumberland, Westmorland, and the Furness part of Lancashire, is shown separately from Cumberland and Lancashire.

Eastern Counties and Notts, Lincs & Derby have reached the final but have never won the championship.

Gloucstershire are the only county to have completed a "hat-trick of hat-trick" of county titles: 1920,1921,1922,1930,1931,1932,1974,1975 & 1976.

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ [1]