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 In 1996 it was superseded by the Super League and the Rugby League National Leagues.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.
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.
League Leaders and Champions
- Rugby League Premiership
- Rugby Football League Championship Second Division
- Rugby Football League Championship Third Division
- Super League
- Kingstone Press Championship
- All Four Cups