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
Leigh Centurions is a professional rugby league club in Leigh, Greater Manchester, England, who compete in the Super League. The club was founded in 1878 and is one of the original clubs that formed the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895. Leigh have been Rugby League Champions twice, in 1906 and 1982, the club was known simply as Leigh until the 1995-96 season, when it adopted the name Centurions. Leigh RFC was founded in 1878 by a surveyor named Fred Ulph, Leighs first practice match was on 5 October 1878 at Bucks Farm in Pennington and their first game was against Eccles two weeks later. In 1879, the moved to a field behind the Three Crowns in Bedford. Leigh came to the attention of the district in 1885 when they had a 23 match unbeaten run with 21 wins and 2 draws. As attendances grew, improvements were made to the ground and the slope was levelled. The club moved to Frog Hall Field, later known as Mather Lane in 1889, the pitch was drained and levelled, a 10 foot high hoarding was built around the ground and 500-seater stand was erected. The first game at Mather Lane was played on 7 September 1889 against Aspull, the 1894–95 season saw a new stand open on the south side in a momentous year for Rugby football. After years of arguments with the Rugby Football Union concerning player expenses,22 teams including Leigh decided to form a governing body – the Northern Union. The first season of the new game kicked off in September with Leigh recording a 6–3 loss against Leeds, Leigh had a great start in the new Union, they played well and the crowds increased, however they had mixed fortunes over the next few years. As the new century began, Leigh struggled and despite winning the West Lancashire and Border Towns Cup, in the 1904–05 season, there was a dispute with Wigan in the Challenge Cup game. The game was played on 4 March 1905 and Leigh won 3–0 in front of 13,000 spectators, Leigh were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player and ordered to replay without expenses and for Leigh the gate receipts to be given to the Northern Union. Wigan won the replay 5–0 and Leigh were so incensed that the club considered leaving the Northern Union, Leigh became a limited company as a result of this financial blow. In 1906, Leigh were Northern Union champions after a season with an 80% win rate, many clubs complained that Leigh had provided themselves with an easy fixture list, ducking the challenge of the stronger clubs and play-offs were brought in. In 1907–08, Leigh and Wigan were again in conflict in the Lancashire County Cup, an attendance record was set when 17,000 spectators watched Leigh and Wigan draw 3–3 at Mather Lane. Leigh lost the replay at Central Park but appealed for another replay because a Wigan player had left the field during the game without the referees permission, Leigh lost the second replay. In 1909, Mather Lane was upgraded when the embankment on the side was extended and raised giving the ground a capacity of 20,000 spectators
Founded in 1973 as New Hunslet, a replacement for the original Hunslet F. C. they became Hunslet in 1979 and played as Hunslet Hawks between 1995 and 2016. In July 1973, the original Hunslet club was wound up because no new location could be found that was financially viable. The £300,000 proceeds of the sale of Parkside were distributed to shareholders, the resurrected club had a new badge depicting a rising phoenix to symbolise their rebirth. The stay at the stadium was cut short when the owners closed the ground. In 1978, coach Bill Ramsey put a lot of pressure on the RFL, the club reverted to Hunslet for the 1979–80 season. After leaving Elland Road, Hunslet had a spell at Bramley. On 19 November 1995, the club, now known as Hunslet Hawks, moved to the South Leeds Stadium, on that day, Leigh were the guests at Hunslets first home game for twenty-two years. They then narrowly missed out on promotion from Division Two in 1996, coach Steve Ferres left to join Huddersfield and David Plange took over as player-coach. In 1997 the Hawks played in the first Challenge Cup Plate Final losing 60-14 to Hull Kingston Rovers and it was the Hawks first appearance at Wembley Stadium since 1965. Also in 1997, the Hawks were promoted to the First Division as champions, in 1999 as a possible merger between Hunslet and Bramley was debated. In 1999 Hunslet won the Northern Ford Premiership Grand Final against Dewsbury, 12–11, after that game the Hawks were denied entry to Super League by the Rugby Football League who cited a document called Framing the Future as justification. This caused a number of players to leave the club and for the attendance to fall by more than 1,200 to 800. A link-up with Leeds Rhinos saw Plange go to Headingley as Academy coach, Paul March was the player/coach at Hunslet, joining midway through the 2009 season following the resignation of Graeme Hallas. March guided Hunslet to a 6th-place finish and a spot in Championship 1. Hunslet travelled to Blackpool in the first week of the winning, 18–21, to set up an elimination semi-final against Oldham in which Hunslet were comfortably beaten. In 2010 Paul March led Hunslet to their first silverware for over 11 years by securing the Co-operative Championship 1 title, in 2012, Barry Eaton took over as coach. In 2014 Hunslet won the Grand Final after extra time against Oldham, Barry Eaton left in late January 2016 to join Leeds Rhinos and was replaced by his assistant coach and former Hunslet Hawks player Matt Bramald. Bramald left the club at the end of the 2016 season having completed his contract and he was replaced by former Hunslet player James Coyle
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
Keighley Cougars is a professional rugby league club from Keighley in West Yorkshire, England who compete in Kingstone Press League 1, the third tier of English rugby league. Their home ground, Cougar Park, has a capacity of 7,800. Before the 1991–92 season, the club was simply as Keighley RLFC. The club was formed at a meeting held on 17 October 1876 under the presidency of the Reverend Marriner, a committee was elected and the club was allowed the use of Holmes field in Lawkholme Lane. The first kick-off took place on Saturday afternoon,21 October, on 18 November 1876, the first game took place at Lawkholme Lane. The visitors were Crosshills and although the game ended in a draw, there are records, which say, the first important match appears to have been played on 13 January 1877 against Bingley. Under the scoring system of the day, the visitors won by two tries and two touchdowns to two touchdowns, Keighley also lost a further two games against Bingley. One of the earliest games of the season was a fixture with Kildwick on 13 October 1877 when Keighley won by one goal to five touchdowns. Other teams met during that season were Bradford Zingari, Manningham, Cleckheaton, Leeds Athletic, Skipton. Up to April 1878, Keighley and Bingley had met seven times with Keighley losing every match, at the annual meeting of the club in 1878, shortly after the headquarters had been moved to Dalton Lane, a second XV was formed. Keighley Athletic were formed on 27 October 1879, there was some rivalry with those who had set up the new club, but a couple of years later these differences had been settled, and on 24 March 1881 a merger was agreed between the two clubs. Keighley officially joined the Rugby Football Union on Tuesday,8 April 1879, a report of the game states that Bradbury attempted a drop goal, but the ball passed under the crossbar, and Bairstow, following up, touched down. By the end of season 1880–81, the membership of the club was 80, in 1882–83 the team had a most successful experience. Gate receipts reached £58 and expenditure was £32, in March 1882, the team figured in the Yorkshire Cup for the first time. They met Wakefield Trinity, who were one of the top sides, during that year, a match with Hunslet F. C. was played under Association rules which ended in a draw. It was probably the only Association game ever played by the towns club, in April 1885, the club merged with Keighley Cricket and Football Club, and from that time the club played on the Lawkholme Lane ground. Soon membership had risen to 300 and dressing rooms and headquarters were established at the Black Horse Hotel, the first game at Lawkholme took place on 10 October 1885, against Liversedge. The club reached one of its best seasons in 1892–93 when the team figured in several rounds of the cup, Leagues were being formed about this time and in 1893–94 Keighley had a try at the Intermediate Competition and finished sixth with a record of eleven wins and eleven defeats
Wigan Warriors R. L. F. C. is a professional rugby league club based in Wigan, Greater Manchester, England. The club competes in the Super League and are the current Super League Champions. formed in 1872 as Wigan Football Club, they are a founding member of the Northern Rugby Football Union following the schism from the Rugby Football Union in 1895. Wigan have won 21 League Championships,19 Challenge Cups and 4 World Club Challenge trophies, the club is the all-time most successful club in English rugby league. Wigan had a period of sustained success from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, winning the Challenge Cup eight seasons in succession, the club plays its home matches at the DW Stadium, having played at Central Park between 1902 and 1999. The current head coach is Shaun Wane, the captain is Sean OLoughlin. On 21 November 1872, Wigan Football Club was founded by members of Wigan Cricket Club following a meeting at the Royal Hotel, Wigan F. C. played on Folly Field, near Upper Dicconson Street. The first match took place on 30 November when members played against each other in a match at Folly Field. After a series of trial and practice matches, they travelled to Warrington to play their first competitive match on 18 January 1873, the game ended in a draw. Financial problems and an inability to recruit quality players led to the club amalgamating with Upholland F. C. in 1876, the club became Wigan & District F. C. The club moved and played its games at the then Wigan Cricket Club at Prescott Street just off Frog Lane. It is unlikely that the club fulfilled its fixtures in 1877 before finally disbanding at the end of the 1879 cricket season. On 22 September 1879, the club was reformed as Wigan Wasps by many ex-members of the original Wigan Football Club, the club moved away from Prescott Street back to Folly Field. In 1884, Wigan won its first trophy, the West Lancashire Cup, the club initially played in blue and white hooped jerseys before changing in 1886 to cherry and white hoops. In 1888 they hosted and beat a touring New Zealand side, Wigan were suspended by the RFU for breaking the strict amateur code despite their argument that broken-time payments were necessary to avoid undue hardship for their working class players. In 1895 Wigan joined with other clubs from Yorkshire and Lancashire to found the Northern Union which led eventually to the sport of rugby league and this was a result of the breakaway from the Rugby Football Union. This was when the Wasps tag was dropped and the club became known as Wigan. The County Championship was introduced in October 1895 with Cheshire entertaining Lancashire, the Red Rose side contained three players from Wigan, Winstanley and Unsworth and Brown. In 1896–97 due to the number of Northern Union teams the Northern League was abandoned in favour of two County Senior leagues