Rugby Football League Championship

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Not to be confused with the current Rugby League Championship, currently known as the Kingstone Press Championship due to sponsorship by Kingstone Press Cider.

The Rugby Football League Championship was the major professional competition organised by the Rugby Football League in Great Britain. In 1996 it was superseded by the Super League and the Rugby League National Leagues. Winning Super League is still regarded as winning the championship, hence for completeness this article includes championships from the Super League era.

History[edit]

The first season of rugby league (1895–96) saw all the breakaway clubs play in a single league competition. The addition of new teams and the problems of travelling led to the league being split in two for the following season; into the Yorkshire League and the Lancashire League. This arrangement lasted until the 1901-02 season, when the top clubs from each league resigned and formed a single new competition. The following season the remaining clubs in the Yorkshire and Lancashire Leagues were re-organised to form a second division.

In 1905-06 the two divisions were re-combined into a single competition. Clubs played all the teams in their own county on a home-and-away basis, results counting towards the re-formed Yorkshire and Lancashire Leagues. They also organised inter-county fixtures on an individual basis; all results were collated into a single table for the Championship. In order to even up the competition a top-four play-off series was used to determine the Championship.

Apart from the interventions of the two world wars, this system was retained until the 1962-63 season, when the league briefly returned to a two divisional system. This lasted only two years, and in the 1964-65 season they returned to one large division subdivided into county leagues. The play-offs were expanded to the top 16 teams and the Harry Sunderland Trophy was introduced as the man-of-the-match award for the decider.

In the 1973-74 season they once again went back to two divisions. The play-off and the Yorkshire and Lancashire League were abandoned, and a new play-off type competition, the Premiership, was introduced.

In 1996 the championship was replaced by the Super League. The remaining clubs later went on to form the Rugby League National Leagues.

Championship winners[edit]

Season Champions [1] Titles Decided by Source
1895–96 Manningham 1 League
1896–01 Separate county leagues N/A N/A
1901–02 Broughton Rangers 1 League
1902–03 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 1 League
1903–04 Bradford 1 League (play-off)
1904–05 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham 1 League
1905–06 Leigh colours.svg Leigh 1 League
1906–07 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 2 Play-off
1907–08 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet 1 Play-off
1908–09 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 1 Play-off
1909–10 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham 2 Play-off
1910–11 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham 3 Play-off
1911–12 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 1 Play-off
1912–13 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 2 Play-off
1913–14 Redscolours.svg Salford 1 Play-off
1914–15 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 3 Play-off
1915–19 No competition due to World War I N/A N/A
1919–20 Hullcolours.svg Hull 1 Play-off
1920–21 Hullcolours.svg Hull 2 Play-off
1921–22 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 2 Play-off
1922–23 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 1 Play-off
1923–24 Batley colours.svg Batley 1 Play-off
1924–25 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 2 Play-off
1925–26 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 3 Play-off
1926–27 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 1 Play-off
1927–28 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 2 Play-off
1928–29 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 4 Play-off
1929–30 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 5 Play-off
1930–31 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 3 Play-off
1931–32 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 1 Play-off
1932–33 Redscolours.svg Salford 2 Play-off
1933–34 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 4 Play-off
1934–35 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 4 Play-off
1935–36 Hullcolours.svg Hull 3 Play-off
1936–37 Redscolours.svg Salford 3 Play-off
1937–38 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet 2 Play-off
1938–39 Redscolours.svg Salford 4 Play-off
1939–45 War Emergency League during World War II N/A N/A
1945–46 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 5 Play-off
1946–47 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 6 Play-off
1947–48 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 1 Play-off
1948–49 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 6 Play-off
1949–50 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 7 Play-off
1950–51 Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town 1 Play-off
1951–52 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 8 Play-off
1952–53 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 2 Play-off
1953–54 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 2 Play-off
1954–55 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 3 Play-off
1955–56 Hullcolours.svg Hull 4 Play-off
1956–57 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham 4 Play-off
1957–58 Hullcolours.svg Hull 5 Play-off
1958–59 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 3 Play-off
1959–60 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 9 Play-off
1960–61 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 1 Play-off
1961–62 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 7 Play-off
1962–63 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 5 League
1963–64 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 6 League
1964–65 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 3 Play-off
1965–66 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 4 Play-off
1966–67 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 1 Play-off
1967–68 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 2 Play-off
1968–69 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 2 Play-off
1969–70 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 5 Play-off
1970–71 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 6 Play-off
1971–72 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 3 Play-off
1972–73 Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury 1 Play-off
1973–74 Redscolours.svg Salford 5 League
1974–75 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 7 League
1975–76 Redscolours.svg Salford 6 League
1976–77 Fevcolours.svg Featherstone Rovers 1 League
1977–78 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 1 League
1978–79 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 3 League
1979–80 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern 1 League
1980–81 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern 2 League
1981–82 Leigh colours.svg Leigh 2 League
1982–83 Hullcolours.svg Hull 6 League
1983–84 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 4 League
1984–85 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 5 League
1985–86 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 4 League
1986–87 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 10 League
1987–88 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 2 League
1988–89 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 3 League
1989–90 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 11 League
1990–91 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 12 League
1991–92 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 13 League
1992–93 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 14 League
1993–94 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 15 League
1994–95 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 16 League
1995–96 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 17 League
1996 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 8 League
1997 Bullscolours.svg Bradford 3 League
1998 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 18 Play-off
1999 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 9 Play-off
2000 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 10 Play-off
2001 Bullscolours.svg Bradford 4 Play-off
2002 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 11 Play-off
2003 Bullscolours.svg Bradford 5 Play-off
2004 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 4 Play-off
2005 Bullscolours.svg Bradford 6 Play-off
2006 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 12 Play-off
2007 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 5 Play-off
2008 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 6 Play-off
2009 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 7 Play-off
2010 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 19 Play-off
2011 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 8 Play-off
2012 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 9 Play-off
2013 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 20 Play-off
2014 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 13 Play-off
Note
  • This table includes championships from the Super League era.

Note Bold donates club winning Challenge Cup in the same season; thus completing the Championship and Challenge Cup 'Double'.

Rugby Football League Championship and Super League success[edit]

As of the 2012 season, three of the fourteen clubs participating in the Super League have never won the Rugby Football League Championship or Super League, they are; Castleford, Catalans and London Broncos.

As of the 2012 season, twelve clubs not currently participating in the Super League have won the Rugby Football League Championship.

The five, of the twelve, clubs with pre-World War II Rugby Football League Championship wins are; Batley (1), Bradford (now the Association football club Bradford Park Avenue) (1), Broughton Rangers (now defunct) (1), Hunslet (2), Manningham (now the Association football club Bradford City) (1).

The four, of the twelve, clubs with both Pre- and Post-WWII Rugby Football League Championship wins are; Halifax (4, i.e. 2 pre- & 2 post-WWII), Leigh (2, i.e. 1 pre- & 1 post-WWII), Oldham (4, i.e. 3 pre- & 1 post-WWII), Swinton (6, i.e. 4 pre- & 2 post-WWII).

The three, of the twelve, clubs with Post-WWII Rugby Football League Championship wins are; Dewsbury (1), Featherstone Rovers (1), Workington Town (1).

Of these twelve former Rugby Football League Championship winning clubs, only four have ever participated in the Super League, they are; Halifax, Leigh, Oldham, Workington Town, all of whom have had Post-WWII wins.

Of these twelve former Rugby Football League Championship winning clubs, none have been granted Super League 2012 licences, and are therefore precluded from the Super League for the foreseeable future.

Club Wins Winning Years
1 Wigan 20 1908/09, 1921/22, 1925/26, 1933/34, 1945/46, 1946/47, 1949/50, 1951/52, 1959/60, 1986/87, 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95, 1995/96, 1998, 2010, 2013
2 St. Helens 13 1931/32, 1952/53, 1958/59, 1965/66, 1969/70, 1970/71, 1974/75, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2014
3 Leeds 9 1960/61, 1968/69, 1971/72, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012
4 Huddersfield 7 1911/12, 1912/13, 1914/15, 1928/29, 1929/30, 1948/49, 1961/62
5 Swinton 6 1926/27, 1927/28, 1930/31, 1934/35, 1962/63, 1963/64
6 Salford [2] 6 1913/14, 1932/33, 1936/37, 1938/39, 1973/74, 1975/76
7 Hull 6 1919/20, 1920/21, 1935/36, 1955/56, 1957/58, 1982/83
8 Bradford Northern/Bulls 6 1979/80, 1980/81, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2005
9 Hull Kingston Rovers 5 1922/23, 1924/25, 1978/79, 1983/84, 1984/85
10 Oldham 4 1904/05, 1909/10, 1910/11, 1956/57
11 Halifax 4 1902/03, 1906/07, 1964/65, 1985/86
12 Warrington 3 1947/48, 1953/54, 1954/55
13 Widnes 3 1977/78, 1987/88, 1988/89
14 Hunslet 2 1907/08, 1937/38
15 Wakefield Trinity 2 1966/67, 1967/68
16 Leigh 2 1905/06, 1981/82
17 Broughton Rangers 1 1901/02
18 Manningham 1 1895/96
19 Bradford 1 1903/04
20 Batley 1 1923/24
21 Workington Town 1 1950/51
22 Dewsbury 1 1972/73
23 Featherstone Rovers 1 1976/77

Note. In the event of a tie, the team that won x amount of titles first is given preference.

Rugby League '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 Bulls 1 2003

Note. In the event of a tie, the team that won x amount of 'Doubles' first is given preference.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Top Flight Champions". 13 July 2009. 
  2. ^ "Salford Red Devils: Official Club Website". Salford Red Devils. Retrieved 13 June 2012.