Normanton (rugby league)

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Normanton was a semi-professional rugby league club based in Normanton, a small town within the City of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, England.

The club joined the Northern Union in 1898–99 and played for a total of five seasons until 1905–06. They played at the Mopsey Garth ground.[1]

The club started out as founder members of the Yorkshire Senior Competition Division 2 (East), and moved as the competition structures changed.


The first rugby club in Normanton was established in 1879 and used the Midland Hotel as its base.[2]

Together with 14 other clubs including Hull Kingston Rovers and Keighley, Normanton were one of the founders of the third division of the Yorkshire Senior Competition, then known as the Yorkshire Rugby Union Intermediate Competition, in 1893.

After the Great Schism[3] in 1895, Normanton remained true to the Rugby Football Union. until eventually following the majority of other Yorkshire clubs and joining the Northern Union in 1898. They, together with Eastmoor,[4] Featherstone Rovers, Goole, Hull Kingston Rovers, Kinsley, Outwood Parish Church, Ripon, Rothwell and York, were among the founders of the Yorkshire Second Competition (Eastern Section).

In season 1899–00 Normanton finished top of this league, and on the way beat Leeds in the first round of the Challenge Cup before losing to Batley in the second round.

In 1901–02 Normanton were elected into the Yorkshire Senior Competition where they finished a creditable 8th, one place above local rivals Castleford out of 14.

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.[5]

1901–02 Normanton, being one of the fortunate ones, joined the new second division and finished 12th out of 18 teams. In 1903–04 Normanton continued to play in the Second division, but struggled and finished in 17th and bottom place. The 1904–05 season was a little better and Normanton managed to finish 10th out of 14; one place below Castleford.

1905–06 saw the Rugby League revert to one single division of 31 clubs. Normanton finished in 26th position but in doing so ended the season in financial difficulties. The Northern Union allowed Millom and Normanton to cancel their game due to the cost of travelling. At the end of the season Normanton was forced to fold. (Millom, who finished one position below Normanton in 27th place also folded at the end of the season due to financial difficulties).

New club[edit]

A new club, Hopetown Rovers, was quickly formed in time for the new season. The new club joined the Wakefield and Dewsbury District League, using the Huntsman Inn as a base and playing on Normanton Common. Thus continuing the existence of a rugby league club in the town. The club later went through several transitions and name change including to Normanton ARLFC and finally Normanton Knights ARLFC in the early 1980s

Club league record[edit]

The league positions for Normanton for the five years in which they played semi-professional rugby league are given in the following table :-[6]

Season Competition Pos Team Name Pl W D L PW PA Diff Pts % Pts No of teams in league Notes Ref
1901–02 Yorks Senior 8 Normanton 28 14 [7]
Only limited County League information is available for this season.
1902–03 2nd Division 12 Normanton 34 12 4 18 160 228 -68 28 16
1903–04 2nd Division 17 Normanton 32 4 0 28 105 411 -306 8 17
1904–05 2nd Division 10 Normanton 26 9 1 16 105 228 -123 19 14
1905–06 RL 24 Normanton 24 4 2 18 50 280 -230 10 20.83 31

Heading Abbreviations
RL = Single Division; Pl = Games Played: W = Win; D = Draw; L = Lose; PF = Points For; PA = Points Against; Diff = Points Difference (+ or -); Pts = League Points
% Pts = A percentage system was used to determine league positions due to clubs playing varying number of fixtures and against different opponents
League points: for win = 2; for draw = 1; for loss = 0.

Several fixtures and results[edit]

The following are just a few of Normanton’s fixtures during the five season (and other times) in which they played semi-professional rugby league :- [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

Season Date Competition Opponent Venue H/A Result Score Att Notes Ref
1897–98 Sat 3 Sep 1898 Yorks Sec Comp (East) Derwsbury Mopsey Garth H Won 16-3 ? 1
1899–00 date unknown CC R1 Leeds venue unknown Won ?
1899–00 date unknown CC R2 Batley venue unknown Lost ?
1903–04 Sat 3 Oct 1903 2nd Div St. Helens Knowsley Rd A Lost 0-27 ? [10]
1903–04 Sat 30 Jan 1904 2nd Div St. Helens Mopsey Garth H Lost 6-8 ? [10]
1905–06 Sat 20 Jan 1906 RL St. Helens Knowsley Rd A Lost 3-28 ? [10]
1905–06 Sat 31 Mar 1906 RL St. Helens Mopsey Garth H Lost 5–9 ? [10]
1908–09 Sat 27 Feb 1909 Challenge Cup 1st Rd Hull Home H Lost 10-20 ? [8]
1911-12 17 Feb 1912 Challenge Cup 1st Rd Warrington Home H Drew 6-6 ? [9]
1911-12 19 Feb 1912 CC 1st Round replay Warrington Wilderspool A Lost 0-75 ? [9]

Notes and Comments[edit]

1 - This was one of the games played on the Inaugural Saturday of the new league
2 - Lowerhouse Lane is the original site of the current ground used by Widnes. It was renamed Naughton Park in 1932 in honour of club secretary, Tom Naughton - and later renamed Halton Stadium after being completely rebuilt in 1997.
3 - Wigan became sub-tenants of Springfield Park, which they shared with Wigan United AFC, playing their first game there on 14 September 1901 at which a crowd of 4,000 saw them beat Morecambe 12–0, and the last game on 28 April 1902 when Wigan beat the Rest of Lancashire Senior Competition. A temporary ground was necessary to span the period between moving from Folly Fields and the new ground at Central Park being constructed.

Normanton players who have turned professional[edit]

The following is an incomplete list of Normanton players who have turned professional.[12]

Notable players[edit]

Voyce of Normanton played in The Rest's 5-7 defeat to Leeds in the 1901–02 Yorkshire Senior Competition Champions versus The Rest match at Headingley Stadium on Saturday 19 April 1902.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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. p. 52.
  2. ^ "Normanton Knights History".
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Eastmoor Dragons ARLFC - Club Info - History 2".
  5. ^ 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. 37 and 38.
  6. ^ Jack Winstanley & Malcolm Ryding (1975). John Player Rugby League Yearbook 1975-76. Queen Anne Press.
  7. ^ a b "Cherry and White".
  8. ^ a b "Hull&Proud Fixtures & Results". Archived from the original on 2012-03-02.
  9. ^ a b c "Warrington Wolves results and archives". Archived from the original on 2011-12-21.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Saints Heritage Society".
  11. ^ "Widnes Seasons in Review".
  12. ^ "History - Normanton Knights 3". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  13. ^ Dalby, Ken (1955). The Headingley Story - 1890-1955 - Volume One - Rugby. The Leeds Cricket, Football & Athletic Co. Ltd ASIN: B0018JNGVM

External links[edit]