Rugby Football League Championship First Division

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RFL Championship
SportRugby league
Inaugural season1895–96
Ceased1996
Replaced bySuper League
HoldersSaintscolours.svg St. Helens
Most titlesWigancolours.svg Wigan (22 titles)
Relegation toRFL Second Division

The Rugby Football League Championship First Division was the top division of rugby league in England between 1895 and 1996, when it was replaced by the Super League.

History[edit]

1895–1904: Foundations[edit]

The first season of rugby league (1895–96) saw all the breakaway clubs play in a single league competition. The addition of new teams and the problems of travelling led to the league being split in two for the following season; into the Yorkshire League and the Lancashire League. This arrangement lasted until the 1901–02 season, when the top clubs from each league resigned and formed a single new competition. The following season the remaining clubs in the Yorkshire and Lancashire Leagues were re-organised to form a second division.

1905–1970: Restructure[edit]

In 1905–06 the two divisions were re-combined into a single competition. Clubs played all the teams in their own county on a home-and-away basis, results counting towards the re-formed Yorkshire and Lancashire Leagues. They also organised inter-county fixtures on an individual basis; all results were collated into a single table for the Championship. In order to even up the competition a top-four play-off series was used to determine the Championship.

Apart from the interventions of the two world wars, this system was retained until the 1962–63 season, when the league briefly returned to a two divisional system. This lasted only two years, and in the 1964–65 season they returned to one large division subdivided into county leagues. The play-offs were expanded to the top 16 teams and the Harry Sunderland Trophy was introduced as the man-of-the-match award for the decider.

1970–1995: Premiership and reintroducing Second Division[edit]

In the 1973–74 season they once again went back to two divisions. The play-off and the Yorkshire and Lancashire League were abandoned, and a new play-off type competition, the Premiership, was introduced however the team finishing top of the Championship were crowned champions. During this period in the late 1980s and early 1990s Wigan dominated both the Championship and Challenge Cup.

Champions[edit]

Season
Champions Score Runners-up
1895–96 Manningham
N/A
Faxcolours.svg Halifax
1896–97
County Leagues
1897–98
County Leagues
1898–99
County Leagues
1899–00
County Leagues
1900–01
County Leagues
1901–02 Broughton Rangers
N/A
Redscolours.svg Salford
1902–03 Faxcolours.svg Halifax Redscolours.svg Salford
1903–04 Bradford F.C. Redscolours.svg Salford
1904–05 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham Bradford F.C.
1905–06 Leigh colours.svg Leigh Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet
1906–07 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 18–3 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham
1907–08 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet 12–7 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham
1908–09 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 7–3 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham
1909–10 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham 13–7 Wigancolours.svg Wigan
1910–11 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham 20–7 Wigancolours.svg Wigan
1911–12 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 13–5 Wigancolours.svg Wigan
1912–13 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 29–2 Wigancolours.svg Wigan
1913–14 Redscolours.svg Salford 5–3 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield
1914–15 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 35–2 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds
1918–19
County Leagues
1919–20 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C. 3–2 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield
1920–21 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C. 16–14 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers
1921–22 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 13–2 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham
1922–23 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 15–5 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield
1923–24 Batley colours.svg Batley 13–7 Wigancolours.svg Wigan
1924–25 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 9–5 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton
1925–26 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 22–10 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington
1926–27 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 13–8 St Helens Recs
1927–28 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 11–0 Fevcolours.svg Featherstone Rovers
1928–29 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 2–0 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds
1929–30 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 10–0 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds
1930–31 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 14–7 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds
1931–32 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 9–5 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield
1932–33 Redscolours.svg Salford 15–5 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton
1933–34 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 15–3 Redscolours.svg Salford
1934–35 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 14–3 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington
1935–36 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C. 21–2 Widnes colours.svg Widnes
1936–37 Redscolours.svg Salford 13–11 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington
1937–38 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet 8–2 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds
1938–39 Redscolours.svg Salford 8–6 Castleford colours.svg Castleford
1939–40
County Leagues
1940–41
County Leagues
1941–42
Wartime Emergency League
1942–43
Wartime Emergency League
1943–44
Wartime Emergency League
1944–45
Wartime Emergency League
1945–46 Wigancolours.svg Wigan
N/A
Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield
1946–47 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury
1947–48 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 15–5 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern
1948–49 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 13–12 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington
1949–50 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 20–2 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield
1950–51 Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town 26–11 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington
1951–52 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 13–6 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern
1952–53 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 24–14 Faxcolours.svg Halifax
1953–54 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 8–7 Faxcolours.svg Halifax
1954–55 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 7–3 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham
1955–56 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C. 10–9 Faxcolours.svg Halifax
1956–57 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham 15–14 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C.
1957–58 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C. 20–3 Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town
1958–59 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 44–22 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet
1959–60 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 27–3 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity
1960–61 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 25–10 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington
1961–62 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 14–5 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity
1962–63 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton N/A Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1963–64 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton Wigancolours.svg Wigan
1964–65 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 15–7 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1965–66 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 35–12 Faxcolours.svg Halifax
1966–67 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 21-9 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1967–68 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 17–10 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers
1968–69 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 16–14 Castleford colours.svg Castleford
1969–70 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 24–12 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds
1970–71 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 16–12 Wigancolours.svg Wigan
1971–72 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 9–5 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1972–73 Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury 22–13 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds
1973–74 Redscolours.svg Salford N/A Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1974–75 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens Wigancolours.svg Wigan
1975–76 Redscolours.svg Salford Fevcolours.svg Featherstone Rovers
1976–77 Fevcolours.svg Featherstone Rovers Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1977–78 Widnes colours.svg Widnes Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern
1978–79 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers Wolvescolours.svg Warrington
1979–80 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern Widnes colours.svg Widnes
1980–81 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern Wolvescolours.svg Warrington
1981–82 Leigh colours.svg Leigh Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C.
1982–83 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C. HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers
1983–84 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C.
1984–85 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1985–86 Faxcolours.svg Halifax Wigancolours.svg Wigan
1986–87 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1987–88 Widnes colours.svg Widnes Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1988–89 Widnes colours.svg Widnes Wigancolours.svg Wigan
1989–90 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds
1990–91 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Widnes colours.svg Widnes
1991–92 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1992–93 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1993–94 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern
1994–95 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds
1995–96 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds

Winning records by club[edit]

Club Winners Runners-up Winning seasons
1 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 22 16 1908/09, 1921/22, 1925/26, 1933/34, 1945/46, 1946/47, 1949/50, 1951/52, 1959/60, 1986/87, 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95, 1995/96, 1998, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018
2 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 14 16 1931/32, 1952/53, 1958/59, 1965/66, 1969/70, 1970/71, 1974/75, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2014, 2019
3 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 11 11 1960/61, 1968/69, 1971/72, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017
4 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield 7 6 1911/12, 1912/13, 1914/15, 1928/29, 1929/30, 1948/49, 1961/62
5 Bullscolours.svg Bradford 6 7 1979/80, 1980/81, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2005
6 Redscolours.svg Salford 6 5 1913/14, 1932/33, 1936/37, 1938/39, 1973/74, 1975/76
7 Hullcolours.svg Hull 6 4 1919/20, 1920/21, 1935/36, 1955/56, 1957/58, 1982/83
8 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 6 2 1926/27, 1927/28, 1930/31, 1934/35, 1962/63, 1963/64
9 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 5 3 1922/23, 1924/25, 1978/79, 1983/84, 1984/85
10 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham 4 5 1904/05, 1909/10, 1910/11, 1956/57
10 Faxcolours.svg Halifax 4 5 1902/03, 1906/07, 1964/65, 1985/86
12 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 3 12 1947/48, 1953/54, 1954/55
13 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 3 4 1977/78, 1987/88, 1988/89
14 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet § 2 2 1907/08, 1937/38
14 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity 2 2 1966/67, 1967/68
16 Leigh colours.svg Leigh 2 0 1905/06, 1981/82
17 Fevcolours.svg Featherstone Rovers 1 2 1976/77
18 Bradford F.C. § 1 1 1903/04
18 Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town 1 1 1950/51
18 Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury 1 1 1972/73
21 Manningham § 1 0 1895/96
21 Broughton Rangers 1 0 1901/02
21 Batley colours.svg Batley 1 0 1923/24
24 Castleford colours.svg Castleford 0 3
25 St Helens Recs § 0 1
25 Broncoscolours.png London 0 1