All Four Cups
There have been many different cups available that qualify as winning All Four Cups. To win "All Four Cups" in a single season was long regarded as the holy grail for a team. The feat was achieved on three occasions.
- Challenge Cup
- Rugby Football League Championship
- County league (Lancashire League or Yorkshire League)
- County cup (Lancashire Cup or Yorkshire Cup)
The first club to win All Four Cups was Hunslet, which they did in the 1907–08 season. They were captained by Albert Goldthorpe, who operated in the back line. Hunslet's forward pack of that season was equally (in)famous, going by the name of "The Terrible Six".
Hunslet did not top the championship table at the end of the season, coming behind Oldham, whom they defeated, 10–12, in a championship replay after the first match was drawn 7 apiece. They ran out 14–0 winners in the Challenge Cup Final in front of 18,000 spectators at Fartown, Huddersfield. They took the Yorkshire Cup by virtue of a 17–0 victory over Halifax.
The feat was next repeated by Huddersfield in the 1914–15 season by the Fartowners famous "Team of all Talents". This was the culmination of a staggering period of dominance in the game, as they had already picked up two championships, the challenge cup, three Yorkshire Cups and three Yorkshire league titles in the preceding five seasons.
They were captained by Harold Wagstaff, immortalised as the "Prince of Centres", and included several foreign internationals. They easily defeated Leeds, 35–2, in the Championship final, and managed an even greater margin of victory in the Challenge Cup, crushing St. Helens, 37–3, at Oldham.
The season saw Huddersfield's wing-three-quarter Albert Rosenfeld score an impressive 56 tries. However this figure paled into insignificance when it is remembered that Rosenfeld, a Jewish Australian who had come over to Britain with the 1908 Kangaroos, had scored 80 tries the previous season. This record has never yet been beaten.
The team of all the Talents could well have gone on to even greater exploits, however sadly the First World War intervened, and the team broke up. The Huddersfield club was unable to field a team, reforming only after the war ended.
The final team to win All Four Cups was Swinton, who thus became the only side ever to achieve a Lancashire version of the feat. The 1927–28 Northern Rugby Football League season saw the Lions sweep aside all before them, under the captaincy of centre Hector Halsall. They topped both the League and the Lancashire League, having already defeated Wigan in the Lancashire Cup. In a tense Challenge Cup final they squeezed past Warrington 5-3, and three weeks later the Holy Grail was achieved when they comfortably eased past Featherstone Rovers 11-0 to take the Championship.
The county leagues were abolished in 1970, and the county cups followed in 1993. New competitions have replaced them, and at times there have been up to six cups. Between 1970 and 1998 the four main trophies available to any British rugby league side:
The only team to win all the silverware on offer between 1970 and 1998 were Wigan, who achieved a four cup triumph in 1994–95. They won the championship, beat Leeds, 69–24, in the Premiership final, defeated Leeds again, 30–10, in the Challenge Cup Final and overcame Warrington 40-10 in the Regal Trophy final.
The Premiership final and Regal Trophy were abolished to make way for Super League in 1996. The Super League Grand Final was then introduced in 1998 and League Leaders Shield was first awarded in 2003. The World Club Challenge had also become a regular competition and took place at the start of the season From 1998 onwards the four main trophies available to any British rugby league side:
Bradford won the 2003 Challenge Cup, defeating Leeds Rhinos 22–20 in the final. They were the Super League leaders, and won the 2003 Grand Final, winning 25–12, against Wigan. In February 2004 they then won all Four Cups by beating Penrith Panthers, 22–4, in the World Club Challenge.
St. Helens were the last team to win All Four Cups in 2006. They beat Huddersfield Giants in the Challenge Cup 42-12, won the League Leader's Shield and defeated Hull F.C. 26-4 in the 3 Grand Final. In February 2007 they claimed All Four Cups for the first time in their history by beating Brisbane Broncos 18-14 in the World Club Challenge.
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- "All Four Cups". Huddersfield Rugby League Heritage. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
- "The History Of Rugby League". napit.co.uk. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- Baker, Andrew (20 August 1995). "100 years of rugby league: From the great divide to the Super era". The Independent. Retrieved 30 December 2013.