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
Bradford Park Avenue A.F.C.
Bradford Association Football Club is an English football club based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Its name derived from the old stadium on Horton Park Avenue in Bradford. However the club is known simply as Bradford, with the letters BFC adorning Leitchs grandstand. The present club is a reincarnation of the club played in the Football League from 1908 to 1970 before dropping to the Northern Premier League. The new entity, established in 1987, is part of the National League North for the 2015–16 season and plays its matches at the 3. Bradford Park Avenue is one of 35 clubs to compete in all four top tiers of English football, the new club started life at what was then the thirteenth tier, Division Three of the West Riding County Amateur League. The original club was formed in 1863 as the Bradford Football Club, playing rugby football, a member of the Rugby Football Union, Bradford FC became a founding member of the breakaway Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895. Bradford were runners-up the 1898 Challenge Cup in 1897–98, won the championship in 1903–04, the faction left the original club and formed a new Northern Union club, Bradford Northern. Bradford Northern applied for membership of the Northern Union, replacing Bradford FC, on 23 August 2012, Bradford Park Avenue was one of the parties interested in purchasing the Bradford Bulls. The club shared the West Yorkshire League championship with Hunslet in 1895–96, Bradford played in the FA Amateur Cup in 1896–97, progressing to the FA Cup in 1897–98 and 1898–99. The club entered the Yorkshire League in 1897–98, finishing next to last, bradfords first football club was closed down at the end of the 1898–99 season due to mounting losses. Despite the failure of this experiment, association-football success elsewhere prompted the club to abandon rugby in 1907. They were not accepted, instead joining the Southern League and filling a gap left by Fulham and their nearest opponents were Northampton Town, whose ground was 130 miles distant. In 1908, Bradford FC was elected to the Second Division of the Football League, the club was promoted to the First Division in 1914 after finishing second, and achieved its highest-ever league position at the end of the 1914–15 season. In 1914 Donald Bell played four games, but at the outbreak of war asked to be released to serve, rising to the rank of lieutenant, in 1916 he received the VC for conspicuous bravery on the Somme before being killed later that year. After the First World War the club began a decline, relegated to the Second Division in 1921. In 1928, the club were the Division 3N champions and were promoted back to the Second Division and they were relegated again in 1950, and placed in the Fourth Division after a 1958 reorganisation. Although the club won promotion to the Third Division in 1961, after several difficult seasons, in 1970 they were replaced in the Football League by Cambridge United
Leeds Rhinos R. L. F. C. is a professional rugby league club based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. They play their matches at Headingley Rugby Stadium. The club was simply as Leeds until the end of the 1996 season. They are also known as the Loiners, referring to the demonym for a native of Leeds. In 1895, Leeds was one of rugby clubs which broke away from the Rugby Football Union. Leeds joined the Super League in 1996 and became Leeds Rhinos in 1997, the club is owned by the same company that owns Yorkshire Carnegie rugby union team, who also play their home matches at Headingley. Leeds have won thirteen Challenge Cups, ten League championships and three World Club Challenge titles, jenkinson placed an advert in the Leeds Mercury inviting players to meet up at Woodhouse Moor a few days a week from 7 am to 8 am. That advert attracted more than 500 members, from this interest several clubs were formed, including Leeds St Johns. Leeds St Johns was formed in 1870 and was known as the Old Blue. The club played at the Militia Barracks from 1870 to 1888 before moving to Cardigan Fields, near Headingley, membership was originally confined to the church classes but was soon expanded. By 1887 St Johns had reached its first cup final, the Yorkshire Cup losing to Wakefield Trinity, the city of Leeds had an abundance of rugby football clubs and although members of the Yorkshire RFU, it was decided to form a ‘more local’ association. It was for this reason that the Leeds & District organisation was formalised when a meeting place at the Green Dragon Hotel. The foundation clubs were Bramley, Holbeck, Hunslet, Kirkstall, Leeds Parish Church, Leeds St John’s, in 1888 the Cardigan Estate was sold at auction and Lot 17a was purchased by a group of Leeds citizens, who intended to form the citys leading sports club. Lot 17a became what is now Headingley Stadium, Leeds St Johns played its final season under that name in 1889–90, before becoming the football section of Leeds Cricket, Football and Athletic Co Ltd the following season. With Headingley still being completed, Leeds first game was staged at Cardigan Fields, the first game at Headingley was played on 20 September 1890, when Manningham were beaten by one try and one dropped goal to nil. In 189227,654 spectators, a record in British rugby. A special general meeting was held in 1895 which voted decisively to support the breakaway Northern Union as a founder member, Leeds début in the Northern Union was a 6–3 success at Leigh on 7 September 1895, the inaugural day of the new competition. In 1901, the Leeds Parish Church team disbanded and put all of its players at Leeds disposal and that same year saw the formation of the Northern Rugby League, with a number of leading clubs leaving the Yorkshire League and the Lancashire League and joining the new 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
Salford Red Devils
Salford Red Devils R. L. F. C. is a professional rugby league club in Salford, Greater Manchester, England, who play in the Super League. Formed in 1873, they have won six Championships and one Challenge Cup and their home ground since 2012 has been the AJ Bell Stadium in Barton-upon-Irwell, before which they played at the Willows in Weaste. Before 1995, the club was simply as Salford, from 1995-98 Salford Reds. On a 1934 tour to France, the described the team as playing like devils. The club was founded in 1873 by the boys of the Cavendish Street Chapel in Hulme, using a local field, the boys organised matches amongst themselves before moving to nearby Moss Side. In an attempt to recruit new members, the link with the school was broken in 1875 and they moved to a new base on the Salford side of the River Irwell at Throstle Nest Weir in Ordsall. Two seasons later, they moved again to the west side of Trafford Road to a known as the Mile Field where they spent the 1877–78 season. Their next home was a north of the former Manchester Racecourse. Their first season there, 1878–79, was the last to be played under the Cavendish name, Cavendish became Salford Football Club in 1879. The first match as Salford was at Dewsbury on 4 October 1879, the following week heralded the first home match at New Barnes against Widnes, on 11 October 1879. The result was a draw with one try each, Salford struggled to attract support as there were few local players in the team. In 1881, they almost disbanded but instead merged with the Crescent Football Club, since the 1881 merger, only 62 matches were lost from 263 played in the remaining nine years of the decade. In 1889, Salford moved their headquarters to the nearby London, Salford switched from their traditional amber, black and scarlet hoops to red jerseys. The club became the first side to win the Lancashire League in 1892–93, only three members opposed the motion. Salford were admitted to the Northern Union on 2 June 1896 and their first competitive Northern Union match was on Saturday,5 September 1896, with a visit to Widnes. The Reds, competing in the Lancashire Senior Competition, lost 10–0 and their form improved and they finished third place in 1898–99. In 1900, Salford met old local rivals, Swinton, in the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final at Fallowfield, after a keenly fought contest, the result was a 16–8 win for Swinton. In 1900, Salford received notice to vacate New Barnes as the Manchester Ship Canal Company had purchased the land, Salford agreed a 14-year lease on 5 acres of land belonging to the Willows Estate Company, named after the abundance of willow trees in the area