St Helens R.F.C.
St Helens Rugby Football Club is a professional rugby league club in St Helens, Merseyside currently competing in the Super League, the top tier of competition for rugby league in Europe. Formed in 1873, St Helens are one of the 22 original members of the Northern Rugby Football Union and have been champions on 13 occasions. St Helens are also the third most successful side in the Challenge Cup with 12 wins in 21 Final appearances, St Helens are founding members of the Super League and are one of only four teams to have appeared in every season since its creation in 1996. Since 1961 the clubs colours have been white, with a red V on the jersey. St Helens play their games at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens, having moved from their previous home, Knowsley Road. St Helens are one of the oldest members of the Rugby Football League, founded as St Helens Football Club on 19 November 1873 at the Fleece Hotel by William Douglas Herman, they played their first ever match on 31 January 1874 against Liverpool Royal Infirmary. They became known as St Helens Rangers up until the 1880s, the club moved from the City Ground in 1890 where they had shared with St Helens Recs when neither were members of the Northern Rugby Football Union. They defeated Manchester Rangers in the first match played at Knowsley Road, in 1895 the club were one of 22 clubs that resigned from the Rugby Football Union and established the Northern Union. The first match of the new code was an 8—3 win at home to Rochdale Hornets before 3,000 spectators and they played in a vertically striped blue and white jersey—a stark contrast to the well known broad red band which would become the kit for the club later. The club reverted to this kit for one season during the rugby league season in 1995. The Challenge Cup was launched in 1897 and it was St Helens who contested its first final with Batley, at Headingley, the Gallant Youths of Batley emerged victorious 10—3, with Dave Red Traynor scoring the lone St Helens try. Between 1897 and 1901, St Helens were not successful, even considered a mid—table side. They finished second to bottom in the 1900—01 Lancashire League season, in the 1901—02 season, however, they did finish third in the Lancashire league. In 1902–03, the combined Lancashire and Yorkshire leagues saw St Helens enter for the first time, St Helens were placed in Division 1 but finished next to bottom and suffered relegation. Promotion was gained at the 1st attempt, only for another year to see them finish once again in a relegation position. However the two Divisions became one League to save the club from a 2nd relegation, on 14 June 1913, St Helens Recs joined the Northern Union after defecting from rugby union and association football. The Recs were based individually at the City Road ground, after previously sharing with St Helens, before their move to Knowsley Road, the Recs played their first game on 6 September 1913. St Helens now had two rugby league teams
The Challenge Cup is a knockout rugby league cup competition organised by the Rugby Football League, held annually since 1896, with the exception of 1915–1919 and 1939–1940. It involves amateur, semi-professional and professional clubs, the final of the Challenge Cup at Wembley Stadium, London, is one of the most prestigious matches in world rugby league and is broadcast around the world. Abide with Me, sung before the game, has become a rugby league anthem, the current holders of the Challenge Cup are Hull F. C. who defeated Warrington 12–10 on 27 August 2016 at Wembley Stadium, the very first time they have won at Wembley. Wigan are the most successful club in the history of the competition, the clubs that formed the Northern Union had long been playing in local knock-out cup competitions under the auspices of the Rugby Football Union. However, the rugby union authorities refused to sanction a nationwide tournament, after the schism of 1895, the northern clubs were free to go-ahead, and they instigated the Northern Rugby Football Union Challenge Cup. In 1896 Fattorinis of Bradford were commissioned to manufacture the Challenge Cup at a cost of just £60, Fattorinis also supplied three-guineas winners medals then valued at thirty shillings. The first competition was held during the 1896–97 season, and 56 clubs entered to compete for the trophy, the first final was held at Headingley in Leeds, on 24 April 1897. Batley defeated St. Helens 10–3 in front of a crowd of 13,492 and it is interesting to note that the St Helens side did not play in a standardised team jersey. The competition was interrupted by the Great War, although it was held in 1915. It was then suspended until the end of hostilities, the first final held at Wembley was in 1929 when Wigan beat Dewsbury 13–2 in front of a crowd of 41,500. The Challenge Cup finals, which place in the game’s Northern heartland, got big crowds as the game raised money for prisoners of war. In 1946, the Lance Todd Trophy was introduced and awarded to the man of the match, the first winner was Billy Stott of Wakefield Trinity the first winner of the trophy on the losing team was Frank Whitcombe of Bradford Northern in 1948. In itself, it is a trophy presented only at the Challenge Cup Final. The winner is selected by the members of the Rugby League Writers Association present at the game and the trophy was presented at a dinner at the Willows. 1954 saw the Challenge Cup final drawn and the set the record for a rugby league match attendance. The match was on 5 May and 102,569 was the attendance at Odsal Stadium. Wigan are well known for their successes in the Challenge Cup competition, until the 1993–94 season there were very few amateur clubs included in the cup, typically two. For part of the 1980s, and the 1992–93 season the cup was solely for professional clubs, in 1997, a Challenge Cup Plate took place for teams knocked out in the early rounds of the competition
Warrington Wolves R. L. F. C. is a professional rugby league football club based in Warrington, England that competes in Super League. They play at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, having moved there from Wilderspool in 2003 and they are nicknamed The Wire in reference to the wire-drawing industry in the town. Warrington have local rivalries with Widnes, St. Helens and Wigan and they have won three League Championships and are the fourth most successful team in the Challenge Cup with eight victories, behind Wigan, St. Helens and Leeds. The current head coach at the club is Tony Smith, who joined in March 2009, under the heading Outdoor Sports – Football the Widnes Guardian of 25 January 1873 reports on a recent game between Warrington and Wigan at the unnamed ground of the former. On 6 December 1873 that same newspaper carried details of a derby between Warrington and Zingari and in subsequent weeks there were matches with Sale and Free Wanderers. This club folded after its ground was lost to development work, Warrington Zingari Football Club was formed in 1876 by seven young local men. When the earlier club folded, they decided to take the vacant Warrington Football Club name for the start of the 1877/8 season, another local club, Padgate Excelsior amalgamated with Warrington in 1881–82, and then Warrington Wanderers joined in 1884 to form a representative town side. In 1886, the club won its first silverware, the West Lancashire, on 28 August 1895, the Committee decided to join with 21 other clubs throughout Lancashire and Yorkshire to form a new Northern Union and resigned from the RFU. In 1900–01, Warrington reached the final of the Challenge Cup, a crowd of 29,000 turned out at Leeds to see Warrington battle hard but be beaten by two tries to nil. Warrington also appeared in the renamed South West Lancashire Cup against Leigh two days later, the strenuous game against Batley took its toll on the Warrington players and the match ended in a 0–0 draw, the replay never took place. In 1903–04, Warrington defeated Bradford Northern in a replay to earn a place in the final of the Challenge Cup. Warrington put up a performance against Halifax but lost 8–3. In 1904–05, Warrington beat Hull Kingston Rovers 6–0 to win the Challenge Cup final in front of a crowd of 19,638, in 1908,14 November the first touring Australian rugby league team visit Warrington. The Kangaroos embarked upon a massive six months tour of Britain taking in 45 matches and their timing was not good as the north of England was hit by strikes in the cotton mills, which badly affected attendances as fans could not afford to watch the pioneering Aussies. On Saturday 14 November 1908 Warrington played the Kangaroos, Warrington won the match 10-3, with Jackie Fish the hero scoring one try and Ike Taylor the other, Fish and George Dickenson kicked a goal each. A crowd of 5,000 watched the match at Wilderspool, the Australians came back to Wilderspool for revenge later in the tour but tries from Jack Fish, and John Jenkins earned the Wirepullers an 8-8 draw. Two members of the Kangaroo squad, Dan Frawley and Larry OMalley later signed for Warrington, Warrington have the best record of any club side against the touring Kangaroos with eight wins, one draw, and seven defeats from sixteen matches. In 1913, 5th challenge cup final, Warrington reached their fifth Challenge Cup Final, with wins over Keighley, Hull Kingston Rovers, Salford, the Final was lost 9–5 to the mighty Huddersfield team of All-Stars
Runcorn is an industrial town and cargo port in Cheshire, England, located within the Borough of Halton. In 2010, Runcorns population was estimated to be 61,000, the town is on the southern bank of the River Mersey, where the estuary narrows to form the Runcorn Gap. Directly to the north across the River Mersey is the town of Widnes, upstream and 8 miles to the northeast is the town of Warrington, and downstream 16 miles to the west is the city of Liverpool. Runcorn railway station is on a branch of the West Coast Main Line and provides frequent services to the Liverpool Lime Street, Birmingham New Street, and London Euston stations. The A533 road passes through the town from the south, crossing the Runcorn Gap over the Silver Jubilee Bridge, Runcorn was a small, isolated village until the Industrial Revolution. It was a resort in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Towards the end of the 18th century, a port began to develop on the bank of the River Mersey. During the 19th century, industries developed the manufacture of soap and alkali, quarrying, shipbuilding, engineering, in the early 20th century, the prime industries were chemicals and tanning. The original village has grown to include what were outlying villages, the earliest written reference to the town is in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, where it is spelled Rumcofan, literally meaning a wide cove or bay. This word is derived from the Old English words rúm and cofa, other historical spellings of Runcorn include Rumcoven, Ronchestorn, Runckhorne, and Runcorne. Little is known about the history of the settlement but isolated findings of objects from the Stone, Bronze. The earliest recorded event in its history is the building by Ethelfleda of a fortification at Runcorn to protect the frontier of her kingdom of Mercia against the Vikings in 915. The fort was built on Castle Rock overlooking the River Mersey at Runcorn Gap, following the Norman conquest, Runcorn was not mentioned in the 1086 Domesday survey, although surrounding settlements were. William the Conqueror granted the earldom of Chester to Hugh dAvranches who granted the barony of Halton to Nigel and it is likely that Nigel erected a motte and bailey castle on Halton Hill in the 1070s. In 1115, Nigels son, William Fitznigel, founded an Augustinian Priory at Runcorn, in 1134 the priory was moved to Norton, about 3.5 miles away. In 1391 the priory was raised to the status of abbey. During the Civil War Halton Castle was held for the Royalists by John Savage, 2nd Earl Rivers and it fell twice to Parliamentarian Roundheads. The first siege was led by Sir William Brereton in 1643, following this, a Council of War was held in Warrington in 1646 at which it was decided that the castle should be slighted
Swinton Lions R. L. F. C. are an English professional rugby league club from Swinton near Manchester. The club has won the Championship six times and three Challenge Cups, from 2016, Swinton Lions will compete in the Kingstone Press Championship, the second tier of European rugby league, after winning promotion from League 1. Prior to the 1996 season, the club was simply as Swinton R. L. F. C. The club was formed on Saturday,20 October 1866 when members of Swinton Cricket Club decided to take up football in the winter to keep fit. Other than a challenge against the local Lancashire Rifle Volunteers. In 1871 they joined the Rugby Football Union, under the name Swinton and their first game was against Eccles Standard, within 4 or 5 years the team became virtually unbeatable in the Manchester area and beyond. This rise in stature was surprising because Swinton and Pendlebury, at time, were nothing more than tiny colliery villages with a few cotton mills. However, it also had a number of local junior teams from which the club drew its talent. They moved from playing at a field in the Station Road area in 1873 to a known as Stoneacre. They have been known as the Lions ever since, having gone three years undefeated in the mid-1870s, the Lions gradually sought a tougher fixture list. In 1878 came the clubs first ventures into Yorkshire, and fairly soon the club was travelling throughout England taking on opponents as Oxford University, such was the Lions success that by the mid-1880s Swinton had become recognised as a national force and were considered the strongest team in Lancashire. The first rugby match under floodlights took place in Salford, between Broughton and Swinton on 22 October 1878, in 1886, they moved to Chorley Road, enabling the club to develop further. The new ground could accommodate larger crowds and the staging of County matches added to Swintons growing reputation. The Lions produced several England internationals and dozens more who gained representative recognition wearing the red rose of Lancashire, the Northern Union was then split into two county leagues, Lancashire and Yorkshire. In 1900, led by Jim Valentine, they won the Rugby League Challenge Cup defeating Salford at Fallowfield, on Saturday 8 September 1906, Swinton hosted a Pontefract team who arrived with only 12 players. The Lions scored 18 tries in a club record 76–4 victory and this record would stand for ninety years but three months later when the Lions visited Pontefract they lost 5–0. The period leading up to the Great War was not particularly auspicious for the Lions, financial crisis followed financial crisis and only the sale of the main stand saved the club from closure during 1917. The war took the lives of 13 Swinton players, but back home the Lions played on throughout in a attempt to stay afloat
Widnes Vikings R. L. F. C. is an English professional rugby league club based in Widnes, Cheshire which currently plays in the Super League, the top tier of European rugby league. The club plays its matches at the Select Security Stadium. Founded as Widnes Football Club, they are one of the original twenty-two rugby clubs formed the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895. The club enjoyed a period of success in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s, in 1989, after winning their third Rugby League Championship, Widnes became the first official World Club Champions by beating the Australian champions Canberra Raiders 30-18 at Old Trafford. Their traditional nickname is The Chemics after the industry in Widnes. They have a local rivalry with Warrington Wolves. The Farnworth & Appleton Cricket Club was formed in 1871 and four years later the members decided to embrace the burgeoning football code, the first known game for the new Farnworth and Appleton FC was in Widnes in January 1876 played under rugby rules against Northwich Victoria. A few weeks later a match was played at Drill Field. These are the two known fixtures in that truncated first season. By May 1876 the club had changed its name to Widnes FC, by the late 1870s the club was being referred to as The Chemicals—subsequently shortened to The Chemics. The first ground was on Albert Road behind what is now the Premier Wetherspoons pub, from around 1878–84 the club were based at the junction of Millfield/Peelhouse Lane, apart from season 1880–81 when they played on the Widnes Cricket Club ground at Lowerhouse Lane. From 1884–95 they rented a field at Lowerhouse Lane before moving to their third separate site on that road in October 1895, the first ever game at what later became Naughton Park was against Liversedge on Saturday 12 October 1895. In 1895, Widnes were founder members of the Northern Union which broke away from the Rugby Football Union and their first game was an away fixture against Runcorn which they lost 15–4. During the early years, the club often had to sell players to balance the books, the strength of junior rugby league in the area meant the club had a steady stream of new players to offset any losses. In 1902, the Lancashire and Yorkshire leagues were combined to form a second division and he scored an extraordinary try to win the game, dribbling the ball from inside his own half. Thirteen Widnes players were killed during the conflict, the clubs first ever success came when they won the Lancashire League trophy in the 1919–20 season. However, the 1920s saw the club almost go to the wall, local rivals Warrington donated their share of the traditional Easter and Christmas derby matches to keep Widnes afloat in 1927–28. In 1930, Widnes with 12 local-born players defied the odds to beat St. Helens 10–3 to bring home the Challenge Cup, the Kingsway housing scheme threatened the loss of Widnes ground