Castleford RFC (1896)
Castleford RFC was a semi-professional rugby league club based in Castleford in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. They joined the Northern Union in 1896–97 for its second season and remained in the ranks of the (semi) professionals until the end of the 1905–06 season.
Not much is known about the original Castleford club, except that they have no connection whatsoever with the present Castleford Tigers RLFC.
The actual date of the founding of the club is uncertain. There is definitely a Castleford Rugby Union Club in existence long before the Great Schism, and they played in the old Yorkshire Cup competition, winning "T’owd tin pot" once and finishing runners up once before 1900. They are believed to have played fixtures at the Castleford Sports Stadium.
As the Northern Union’s second season approached, they decided to split into two regional competitions. This was partly due to the success and increasing number of teams wishing to change codes and join, and partly to cut down on the travelling costs for clubs and spectators alike. For this second season eight new teams joined the league, Bramley, Castleford, Heckmondwike, Holbeck, Leeds Parish Church, Morecambe, Swinton, and Salford.
Castleford joined the ranks of the semi-professional rugby league clubs when they were admitted to the Yorkshire Senior Competition for season 1896–97 and in this their first season finished in mid-table in 9th position out of 16 clubs.
1897–98 Saw them continue in the same division finishing slightly better in what was to be their highest ever position of 6th out of 16.
Their fifth season 1900–01 and the start of the new millennium saw them slip back to second bottom (of the 16 clubs. But things were different in the end of season Challenge Cup competition, where, on 13 April 1901 on a neutral ground, Castleford reached the semi-final stage where they lost to Warrington by 21-5.
At the end of the season the top seven sides from both the Lancashire and the Yorkshire Senior in the 1900–01 competitions of the NRFU, resigned and merged into a new league for 1901–02. In doing so they formed the Northern Rugby League and with that the name "rugby league" was officially used for the first time. The remaining clubs together with several additions from the lower leagues continued in the Lancashire and Yorkshire Senior Leagues.
The new clubs were Altrincham, Birkenhead Wanderers, Lancaster, Morecambe and Radcliffe joined the Lancashire ranks, and Dewsbury, Goole, Heckmondwike, Keighley, Normanton, Sowerby Bridge and York joined the Yorkshire side (with Leeds Parish Church folding).
This season 1901–02 in what was effectively Division 2 (East), Castleford finished mid-table 9th out of the 14 clubs.
At the end of the 1901–02 season, the County Leagues elected 18 teams to join the new Division 2 (7 from Lancashire and 10 from Yorkshire and new member South Shields) with the existing second competition scrapped.
In season 1902–03 Castleford joined the new 2nd Division, where they would stay for the next three seasons. In the first season in the new second division (1902–03) Castleford finished 15th out of the 18 clubs.
In 1905–06 the Rugby League combined the divisions to form one united league. In this, Castleford’s final season in the semi-professional ranks, they finished 28th out of the 31 clubs. Castleford dropped out of the league at the end of the season.
At this time several of the clubs were struggling financially, Castleford’s near neighbours Normanton cancelled their final game against Millom, both clubs cited the costs of travel, and both clubs folded at the end of this season.
A new Northern Union club was formed in late December 1909, from a meeting held at the Garden House Hotel. They decided to enter for the Yorkshire Junior NU Cup and commenced with an ordinary engagement with York on 1 January 1910 which resulted in a 22-5 defeat. The Yorkshire Junior NU Cup tie against Knottingley was won 39–0, however the RL ordered a replay due to Castleford fielding ineligible players. This team disbanded in September 1910 due to the difficulty in signing on players.
The formation of a further Castleford club commenced in July 1912 and had its headquarters at the George and Dragon Hotel, Bridge Foot and a playing area behind the Aire and Calder Hotel, off Wheldon Road. The team was entered into two leagues, these being the Leeds & District and the Dewsbury & Wakefield. Their opening game was on 7 September 1912 against Outwood Church.
There are very few mentions of Castleford after their dropping out of the semi-professional leagues. One item of note, in the 1913-14 season on Saturday 28 February in the Challenge Cup 1st Round, Wigan travelled to a Castleford team and beat them 27-8.
The successor team (who become Castleford Tigers) joined the league for the 1926-27 season. Many official records state that they were founded at this time (June 1926) but they had played successfully in the lower Yorkshire County leagues for several years before this date. They actually joined the League "code" around 1920 and played in these early years at the Sandy Desert ground. They have no connection with this, the earlier team of the same name.
Players of note
Isaac Cole (born 9 April 1886 — 30 March 1940) won a rugby league cap for England while at Castleford in 1906 against Other Nationalities
Club scoring record
|In a Season|
|Highest League Position||6||1897–98||Yorks Sen Comp||out of 16 clubs|
|Lowest League Position||28||1905–06||RL||out of 31 clubs|
|Most League Points||33||1897–98||Yorks Sen Comp||out of possible 60 = 55%|
|Least League Points||8||1905–06||RL||out of possible 40 = 20%|
|Most Points Scored (PF)||256||1897–98||Yorks Sen Comp||In 30 games = 8.53/game|
|Most Points Conceded (PA)||331||1900–01||Yorks Sen Comp||In 30 games = 3.07/game|
|or||325||1905–06||RL||In 20 games = 2.25/game|
|Least Points Scored (PF)||45||1905–06||RL||In 20 games = 2.25/game|
|Least Points Conceded (PA)||161||1896–97||Yorks Sen Comp||In 30 games = 5.93/game|
|Best Points Difference||48||1897–98||Yorks Sen Comp||In 30 games|
|Worst Points Difference||-280||1905–06||RL||In 20 games|
The club did not win any trophies.
Club league record
|Season||Competition||Pos||Team Name||Pl||W||D||L||PW||PA||Diff||Pts||%||No of teams in league||Notes||Ref|
|1896–97||Yorks Sen Comp||9||Castleford||30||11||6||13||178||161||17||28||16|
|1897–98||Yorks Sen Comp||6||Castleford||30||16||1||13||256||208||48||33||16|
|1898–99||Yorks Sen Comp||12||Castleford||30||10||4||16||159||214||-55||24||16|
|1899–00||Yorks Sen Comp||11||Castleford||30||11||3||16||155||199||-44||25||16|
|1900–01||Yorks Sen Comp||15||Castleford||30||5||4||21||92||331||-239||14||16|
|1901–02||Yorks Sen Comp||9||Castleford||21|
|Only limited County League information is available for this season.|
Pl = Games Played: W = Win; D = Draw; L = Lose; PF = Points For; PA = Points Against; Diff = Points Difference (+ or -); Pts = League Points
League points: for win = 2; for draw = 1; for loss = 0.
Several fixtures and results
|1896–97||Sat 27/03/1897||CCR2||St. Helens||A||A||Lost||3-17|||
|1897–98||Sat 26–02-1898||CC R1||Wigan||H||H||Won||18-2|||
|1900–01||Sat 13–04-1901||CC SF||Warrington||Broughton||N||Lost||5-21||1|||
|1901–02||Sat 22–03-1902||CC R2||Wigan||H||H||Won||16–0|||
|1903–04||Sat 12-12-1903||RL||St. Helens||Knowsley Rd||A||Won||7–0|||
|1903–04||Sat 09–04-1904||RL||St. Helens||A||H||Lost||3-31|||
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- "History of Castleford RUFC". Archived from the original on 13 August 2011.[not in citation given]
- J C Lindley with personal recollections by D W Armitage (1973). 100 Years of Rugby - The History of Wakefield Trinity Football Club. The Wakefield Trinity Centenary Committee. pp. 34 and 35.
- "Warington History". Archived from the original on 6 July 2010.
- Castleford & Pontefract Express, 31 December 1909
- Pontefract & Castleford Express, Friday 26 July 1912
- "Hull&Proud". Archived from the original on 7 March 2011.
- "Castleford Tigers official history".
- "Cherry and White".
- "Widnes History".
- "Saints Heritage Society".
- Dalby, Ken (1955). The Headingley Story - 1890-1955 - Volume One - Rugby. The Leeds Cricket, Football & Athletic Co. Ltd ASIN: B0018JNGVM