BBC2 Floodlit Trophy

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The BBC 2 Floodlit Trophy (also known as the BBC 2 Television Trophy) was a competition for British rugby league clubs held between 1965 and 1980. It was designed specifically for television, and the then director of BBC2, broadcaster David Attenborough, was instrumental in its creation. When the competition was first mooted not many clubs were equipped with floodlights, but the tournament caused no fewer than twenty-one clubs to install them.

The tournament was not Rugby League’s first foray into evening television; the 1955-56 season saw a tournament titled the ITV Floodlit Competition. Eight clubs participated in a series of games played at football grounds in the London area, with Warrington eventually running out 43-18 victors over Leigh.

The tournament was played during the early part of the season. Each week one match would be played under floodlights on a Tuesday evening; the second half of this match that would be broadcast live on BBC2. Non-televised matches were played at various times, depending on clubs' commitments in more prestigious tournaments. Despite the title many matches did not take place under floodlights; clubs such as Barrow and Bramley (for example) did not possess adequate lighting.[1]

The first season, 1965-66, eight clubs - Castleford, Leeds, Leigh, Oldham, St. Helens, Swinton, Warrington and Widnes took part. [2] Seven of the eight teams had floodlights and Leeds installed theirs the following season.

The four-tackles-then-a-scrum rule[3] was first introduced in the competition's second season, in October 1966, before being implemented in all competitions by December.

Castleford won the trophy in the first season, 1965-66 and won the trophy the most times, on three more occasions 1966-67, 1967-68 and 1976-77.

Despite disagreements over shirt sponsorship in the early 1970s, Rugby League remained a mainstay of BBC Television during the 1970s and 1980s, although the commitment to the Floodlit Trophy decreased before financial cutbacks at the BBC lead to its cancellation after the 1979-80 competition.[4] In the last final, Hull FC beat local rivals Hull Kingston Rovers.

List of finals [5][edit]

Year Season Winners Score Runner-up Venue Date
1965 1965–66 season Castleford 4 - 0 St. Helens Knowsley Road, St. Helens Tuesday 14 December 1965
1966 1966–67 season Castleford 7 - 2 Swinton Wheldon Road, Castleford Tuesday 20 December 1966
1967 1967–68 season Castleford 8 - 5 Leigh Headingley, Leeds Saturday 16 January 1968
1968 1968–69 season Wigan 7 - 4 St. Helens Central Park, Wigan Tuesday 17 December 1968
1969 1969–70 season Leigh 11 - 6 Wigan Central Park, Wigan Tuesday 16 December 1969
1970 1970–71 season Leeds 9 - 5 St. Helens Headingley, Leeds Tuesday 15 December 1970
1971 1971–72 season St. Helens 8 - 2 Rochdale Hornets Knowsley Road, St. Helens Tuesday 14 December 1971
1972 1972–73 season Leigh 5 - 0 Widnes Central Park, Wigan Tuesday 19 December 1972
1973 1973–74 season Bramley 15 - 7 Widnes Naughton Park, Widnes Tuesday 18 December 1973
1974 1974–75 season Salford 0 - 0 Warrington The Willows, Salford Tuesday 17 December 1974
(replay) Salford 10 - 5 Warrington Wilderspool, Warrington Tuesday 28 January 1975
1975 1975–76 season St. Helens 22 - 2 Dewsbury Knowsley Road, St. Helens Tuesday 16 December 1975
1976 1976–77 season Castleford 12 - 4 Leigh Hilton Park, Leigh Tuesday 14 December 1976
1977 1977–78 season Hull Kingston Rovers 26 - 11 St. Helens Craven Park, Hull Tuesday 13 December 1977
1978 1978–79 season Widnes 13 - 7 St. Helens Knowsley Road, St. Helens Tuesday 12 December 1978
1979 1979–80 season Hull 13 - 3 Hull Kingston Rovers The Boulevard, Hull Tuesday 18 December 1979

References[edit]

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