Castleford RFC (1896)

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Castleford RFC
Club information
Full nameCastleford RFC
Founded1896; 126 years ago (1896)
Exited1907; 115 years ago (1907)

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.


Early history[edit]

The actual date of the founding of the club is uncertain. There is definitely a Castleford Rugby Union Club[1][failed verification] in existence long before the Great Schism,[2] 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.

Northern Union[edit]

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.

The next 2 seasons, 1898–99 and 1899–1900 saw them slip to 11th and 12th places respectively (out of 16 clubs).

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.[3]

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.[2]

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 the next two seasons 1903–04 and 1904–05 Castleford improved slightly finishing 7th (out of 19) and 9th (out of 14) respectively.

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.

The end[edit]

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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6]

Successor club[edit]

The successor team (who become Castleford Tigers) joined the league for the 1926–27 season. Many official records[7] 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[edit]

  • Thomas Bryan (VC) (21 Jan 1882 - 13 Oct 1945)
  • Isaac Cole (9 Apr 1886 – 30 Mar 1940) won a rugby league cap for England while at Castleford in 1906 against Other Nationalities


Club scoring record[edit]

In a Season
Details Season Competition Notes Ref
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

Club trophies[edit]

The club did not win any trophies.

Club league record[edit]

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
1899–1900 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.
1902–03 2nd Div 15 Castleford 34 9 4 21 105 268 −163 22 18
1903–04 2nd Div 7 Castleford 32 18 3 11 185 194 −9 39 17
1904–05 2nd Div 9 Castleford 26 9 3 14 104 199 −95 21 14
1905–06 RL 28 Castleford 20 3 2 15 45 325 −280 8 20 31

Heading Abbreviations
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[edit]

The following are just some of Castleford's fixtures for the eight seasons in which they played semi-professional rugby league :- [3] [6][8][9] [10]

Season Date Competition Opponent Venue H/A Result Score Att Notes Ref
1896–97 Sat 1896-12-12 YSC Hull Boulevard A Draw 0–0 [6]
1896–97 Sat 1897-03-13 YSC Hull H H Draw 8–8 [6]
1896–97 Sat 1897-03-27 CCR2 St. Helens A A Lost 3–17 [10]
1897–98 Sat 1897-12-04 YSC Hull H H Draw 8–8 [6]
1897–98 Sat 1898-02-26 CC R1 Wigan H H Won 18–2 [8]
1897–98 Sat 1898-04-02 YSC Hull Boulevard A Lost 0–8 [6]
1898–99 Sat 1898-10-22 YSC Hull H H Lost 8–21 [6]
1898–99 Sat 1899-01-28 YSC Hull Boulevard A Lost 0–21 [6]
1899–1900 Sat 1899-11-11 YSC Hull Boulevard A Lost 0–20 [6]
1899–1900 Sat 1900-02-17 YSC Hull H H Lost 0–8 [6]
1900–01 Sat 1900-11-24 YSC Hull H H Won 6–3 [6]
1900–01 Sat 1901-03-16 YSC Hull Boulevard A Lost 4–16 [6]
1900–01 Sat 1901-04-13 CC SF Warrington Broughton N Lost 5–21 1 [3]
1901–02 Sat 1902-03-22 CC R2 Wigan H H Won 16–0 [8]
1903–04 Sat 1903-12-12 RL St. Helens Knowsley Rd A Won 7–0 [10]
1903–04 Sat 1904-09-04 RL St. Helens A H Lost 3–31 [10]

Heading Abbreviations

CC Rx = Challenge Cup Round x; LC Rx = Lancashire Cup Competition; RL = Combined League: YSC = Yorkshire Senior Competition:

Notable players[edit]

Foster of Castleford played in The Rest's 5–7 defeat by Leeds in the 1901–02 Yorkshire Senior Competition Champions versus The Rest match at Headingley Stadium on Saturday 19 April 1902.[11]

Club honours[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History of Castleford RUFC". Archived from the original on 13 August 2011.
  2. ^ a b 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.
  3. ^ a b c "Warington History". Archived from the original on 6 July 2010.
  4. ^ Castleford & Pontefract Express, 31 December 1909
  5. ^ Pontefract & Castleford Express, Friday 26 July 1912
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Hull&Proud". Archived from the original on 7 March 2011.
  7. ^ "Castleford Tigers official history".
  8. ^ a b c "Cherry and White".
  9. ^ "Widnes History".
  10. ^ a b c d "Saints Heritage Society".
  11. ^ Dalby, Ken (1955). The Headingley Story – 1890–1955 – Volume One – Rugby. The Leeds Cricket, Football & Athletic Co. Ltd ASIN: B0018JNGVM

External links[edit]