1897 Challenge Cup

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1897 Challenge Cup
Duration 6 Rounds
Number of teams 52
Winners Batley colours.svg Batley
Runners-up Saintscolours.svg St Helens

The 1897 Challenge Cup was the inaugural staging of the Northern Rugby Football Union's Challenge Cup and involved 52 clubs from across England. The tournament was played over six rounds in March and April 1897, culminating in the final which was won by Batley.[1]

Background[edit]

The Northern Union decided to hold a cup competition called the Northern Rugby Football Union Challenge Cup in July 1896,[2] the cup was commissioned from Bradford silversmiths and jewellers, Fattorini and Sons. Fattorini's designed the trophy themselves and it cost the Northern Union £60.[3]

Draw[edit]

The draw for the competition was made on 3 September 1896 although the matches were not due to be played until March and April 1897 over six consecutive weekends commencing 20 March 1897. All rounds were drawn at the same time with matches in the second and subsequent rounds given an identification letter such that ties for later rounds were expressed as, for example, "Q. Winner of Round C. v. winner of Round N."[4]

The team drawn first had the option to play at home or could agree to play at the opponent's ground, the semi-finals and final were to be played at neutral venues.[5]

First round[edit]

The first round involved 20 matches and 40 clubs. 12 clubs (Batley, Bradford Church Hill, Brighouse Rangers, Crompton, Heckmondwike, Liversedge, St Helens Recs, Stockport, Swinton Church, Thornton Rangers, Tyldesley and Werneth) were given a bye to the next round.

All 20 ties were played on 20 March 1897.

Home Score Away
Bradford 7–3 Oldham
Bramley 8–8 Morecambe[a]
Broughton Rangers 0–0 Warrington
Castleford 43–3 Allerton
Eastmoor 26–8 Oldham Juniors
Halifax 55–5 Stockport Rangers[b]
Holbeck 38–3 Latchford Rangers
Hull 9–0 Walkden
Hunslet 75–5 Broughton Recreation
Leeds 11–0 Rochdale St Clements
Leeds Parish Church 42–0 Runcorn Recreation[c]
Leigh 0–0 Wakefield Trinity
Manningham 31–3 Dukinfield
Rochdale Hornets 11–0 Waterhead Hornets
Runcorn 65–0 Warrington Loco
St Helens 66–0 Lees
Warrington St Mary's 0–28 Salford
Swinton 12–4 Huddersfield
Widnes 55–0 Atherton Hornets
Wigan 3–0 Radcliffe
Source:[6]
  1. ^ Morecambe gave up home advantage
  2. ^ Stockport Rangers gave up home advantage
  3. ^ Runcorn Recreation gave up home advantage

First round replays[edit]

The three games requiring replays were all played on Wednesday 24 March

Home Score Away
Bramley 6–4 Morecambe
Warrington 3–0 Broughton Rangers
Wakefield Trinity 13–4 Leigh
Source:[7]

Second round[edit]

The second round of 16 ties was played on Saturday 27 March 1897.

Game no Home Score Away
A Liversedge 9–4 Heckmondwike
B St Helens 17–3 Castleford
C Bramley 0–11 Batley
D Wigan 7–0 Manningham
E Widnes 11–0 Hull
F Tyldesley 9–3 Leeds
G Rochdale Hornets 8–0 St Helens Recs
H Thornton Rangers 4–52 Runcorn
I Swinton 15–0 Hunslet
J Warrington 24–0 Holbeck
K Leeds Parish Church 0–11 Halifax
L Bradford 68–3 Swinton Church
M Eastmoor 3–3 Stockport
N Brighouse Rangers 13–4 Wakefield Trinity
O Salford 30–0 Werneth
P Crompton 26–0 Bradford Church Hill
Source:[8]

Second round replay[edit]

Stockport and Eastmoor replayed the tie on Wednesday 31 March.

Game no Home Score Away
M Stockport 28–8 Eastmoor
Source:[9]

Third round[edit]

The third round of eight games was played on Saturday 3 April.

Game no Drawn as Home Score Away
Q C v N Batley 6–3 Brighouse Rangers
R G v I Rochdale Hornets 3–3 Swinton
S J v A Warrington 6–0 Liversedge
T M v O Stockport 8–0 Salford
U L v F Bradford 4–8 Tyldesley
V P v K Halifax 50–0 Crompton
W E v H Widnes 14–6 Runcorn
X B v D St Helens 11–0 Wigan
Source:[10]

Third round replay[edit]

Swinton and Rochdale replayed the drawn game on Wednesday 7 April.

Game no Drawn as Home Score Away
R G v I Swinton 10–0 Rochdale Hornets
Source:[11]

Fourth round[edit]

The quarter finals were played on Saturday 10 April 1897.

Game no Drawn as Home Score Away
AA S v V Warrington 10–8 Halifax
BB Q v W Batley 10–0 Widnes
CC R v T Swinton 3–0 Stockport
DD X v U St Helens 12–0 Tyldesley
Source:[12]

Semi-finals[edit]

The semi-finals were scheduled for Saturday 17 April. However, due to a waterlogged pitch, the tie between St. Helens and Swinton, due to be played at Broughton Rangers ground - Wheater's Field - was postponed until Monday 19 April, the game between Batley and Warrington, played at Fartown, Huddersfield did go ahead on a very soft pitch.[13]

17 April 1897
3:00pm
Batley 6–0 Warrington
Tries: Spurr (1), Davies (1) Report
Fartown, Huddersfield
Attendance: 5,500
Referee/s: J H Smith (Widnes)

After the game Warrington lodged a protest over the result, claiming that the game should have been postponed due to the state of the pitch and that the game having gone ahead, the referee allowed the game to end six minutes short. Both grounds of protest were dismissed by the Northern Union Committee.[14]

The rearranged game between St Helens and Swinton was played on Easter Monday, 19 April, watched by a crowd of 20,000 taking advantage of the bank holiday to attend.

19 April 1897
3:00pm
St Helens 7–0 Swinton
Tries: Little (1)
Drop goals: Jacques (1)
Report
Wheater's Field, Broughton
Attendance: 20,000
Referee/s: E Holmes

Final[edit]

The teams and the Challenge Cup photographed before the kick-off: Batley(l) vs St Helens(r)

The final took place on 24 April 1897 at Headingley, Leeds, the official attendance was 13,492, with gate receipts of £624.17s.7d.[15] Batley wore white shirts and black shorts and socks in place of their normal cerise and fawn colours. St Helens wore blue and white hooped shirts, white shorts and black socks.[16]

St Helens won the toss and elected to have Batley kick off, despite playing into the wind in the first half, Batley took the lead after five minutes when stand-off Joe Oakland, kicked a drop goal to give Batley a 4–0 advantage. Batley extended their lead to 7–0 when centre John Goodall scored the first try of the game, these were the only scores of the first half. Early in the second half St Helens scored a try when centre David Traynor took the ball on the halfway line and beat four Batley players before touching down, the St Helens fightback did not last long as Batley flanker John Munns scored Batley's second try to make the score 10–3 which remained the score at the final whistle.[17]

After the game the cup was presented by Mrs Louisa Waller, the wife of the president of the Northern Union, Henry Hirst Waller. Mrs Waller presented the Batley players with commemorative gold medals and the St Helens players with silver medals.[17]

24 April 1897
3:30pm
Batley 10–3 St Helens
Try: J. Goodall, Munns
Drop goal: Oakland
Manchester Guardian report Try: Traynor
Headingley, Leeds
Attendance: 13,492
Referee/s: J. H. Smith (Widnes)[18]
Touch Judges: H.H. Waller (Brighouse Rangers), J. P. Warren (Warrington)[17]

Squads[edit]

Batley Number St Helens
Name Height Weight Age Name Height Weight Age
Fullback
Arthur Garner 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) 10 st 7 lb (67 kg; 147 lb) 26 1 Tom Foulkes (c) 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) 11 st 10 lb (74 kg; 164 lb) 25
Three-quarter backs
Wattie Davies 5 ft 5 in (165 cm) 11 st 6 lb (73 kg; 160 lb) 23 2 Bob Doherty 5 ft 4 in (163 cm) 10 st 6 lb (66 kg; 146 lb) 28
Dai Fitzgerald 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) 12 st 0 lb (76 kg; 168 lb) 24 3 David Traynor 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) 12 st 4 lb (78 kg; 172 lb) 22
Jack Goodall (c) 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) 11 st 4 lb (72 kg; 158 lb) 22 4 Jim Barnes 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) 10 st 10 lb (68 kg; 150 lb) 21
Ike Shaw 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) 10 st 4 lb (65 kg; 144 lb) 29 5 Billy Jacques 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) 10 st 10 lb (68 kg; 150 lb) 22
Half-backs
Joe Oakland 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) 11 st 0 lb (70 kg; 154 lb) 21 6 Richard O'Hara 5 ft 5 in (165 cm) 11 st 0 lb (70 kg; 154 lb) 21
Harry Goodall 5 ft 7 12 in (171 cm) 11 st 7 lb (73 kg; 161 lb) 23 7 Freddie Little 5 ft 4 12 in (164 cm) 10 st 11 lb (68 kg; 151 lb) 26
Forwards
Mark Shackleton 6 ft 0 in (183 cm) 14 st 0 lb (89 kg; 196 lb) 27 8 Tom Winstanley 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) 14 st 1 lb (89 kg; 197 lb) 26
Jim Gath 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) 11 st 7 lb (73 kg; 161 lb) 21 9 Billy Briers 5 ft 6 12 in (169 cm) 11 st 11 lb (75 kg; 165 lb) 22
George Maine 5 ft 7 12 in (171 cm) 10 st 11 lb (68 kg; 151 lb) 21 10 William Winstanley 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) 12 st 8 lb (80 kg; 176 lb) 28
Bob Spurr 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) 12 st 7 lb (79 kg; 175 lb) 23 11 Tom Reynolds 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) 12 st 4 lb (78 kg; 172 lb) 27
Fred Fisher 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) 12 st 8 lb (80 kg; 176 lb) 24 12 Joe Thompson 5 ft 8 12 in (174 cm) 13 st 0 lb (83 kg; 182 lb) 24
Charlie Stubley 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) 12 st 7 lb (79 kg; 175 lb) 27 13 Peter Dale 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) 12 st 7 lb (79 kg; 175 lb) 25
J Littlewood 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) 12 st 0 lb (76 kg; 168 lb) 23 14 Sam Rimmer 5 ft 7 12 in (171 cm) 12 st 0 lb (76 kg; 168 lb) 27
John Munns 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) 13 st 4 lb (84 kg; 186 lb) 22 15 Bill Whiteley 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) 12 st 2 lb (77 kg; 170 lb) 25
Source:[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Huxley, John & Howes, David (1980). Encyclopedia of Rugby League Football. pp. 41–43. ISBN 0-7091-8133-7. 
  2. ^ "Northern Rugby Union. Competition and cup-tie rules"Paid subscription required. The Yorkshire Post (15,294). 3 July 1896. p. 7 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  3. ^ "Rugby League's precious metal". BBC Sport. 22 August 2007. 
  4. ^ "Northern Rugby Football Union: Draw for the Cup Competition"Paid subscription required. Huddersfield Chronicle (9,080). 4 September 1896. p. 4 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  5. ^ "Northern Union Cup Ties"Paid subscription required. Hull Daily Mail (3,415). 4 September 1896. p. 4 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  6. ^ "Northern Union Cup Competition. First Round"Paid subscription required. Yorkshire Evening Post (2047). 20 March 1897. p. 6 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  7. ^ "Football"Paid subscription required. Gloucester Citizen (71). 25 March 1897. p. 4 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  8. ^ "Northern Union Cup Competition. Second Round"Paid subscription required. Yorkshire Evening Post (2053). 27 March 1897. p. 6 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  9. ^ "Northern Rugby Union"Paid subscription required. North-Eastern Daily Gazette. 1 April 1897. p. 3 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  10. ^ "Northern Union Cup Competition. Third round"Paid subscription required. Yorkshire Evening Post (2059). 3 April 1897. p. 6 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  11. ^ "Northern Union Cup"Paid subscription required. The Morning Post (38,930). 8 April 1897. p. 3 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  12. ^ "Northern Union Challenge Cup. Fourth Round"Paid subscription required. The Sportsman (8618). 12 April 1897. p. 2 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  13. ^ "The Northern Union. Challenge Cup Competition (Semi-Final ties)"Paid subscription required. The Manchester Guardian (13,813). 19 April 1897. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com. 
  14. ^ "Football Notes. Rugby"Paid subscription required. Hull Daily Mail (3,598). 20 April 1897. p. 5 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  15. ^ Fletcher, Raymond & Howes, David (1992). Rothmans Rugby League Yearbook 1991–1992. p. 136. ISBN 0-356-17852-8. 
  16. ^ a b "The Northern Union Cup. Final Tie"Paid subscription required. Yorkshire Evening Post (2077). 24 April 1897. p. 4 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  17. ^ a b c "Northern Union Challenge Cup. Final Tie"Paid subscription required. Liverpool Mercury (15,388). 26 April 1897. p. 7 – via British Newspaper Archive. 
  18. ^ Hoole, Les (2015). The Rugby League Challenge Cup An Illustrated History 1897-1998. DB Publishing. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-78091-462-6.