Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field. One of the two codes of football, it originated in England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players. Its rules gradually changed with the aim of producing a faster, in rugby league, points are scored by carrying the ball and touching it to the ground beyond the opposing teams goal line, this is called a try, and is the primary method of scoring. The opposing team attempts to stop the side scoring points by tackling the player carrying the ball. In addition to tries, points can be scored by kicking goals, after each try, the scoring team gains a free kick to try at goal with a conversion for further points. Kicks at goal may be awarded for penalties, and field goals can be attempted at any time. Rugby league is a sport in Northern England, the states of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia, New Zealand.
The European Super League and Australasian National Rugby League are the club competitions. Rugby league is played internationally, predominantly by European and Pacific Island countries, the first Rugby League World Cup was held in France in 1954, the current holders are Australia. The first of these, the Northern Rugby Football Union, was established in 1895 as a faction of Englands Rugby Football Union. Similar breakaway factions split from RFU-affiliated unions in Australia and New Zealand in 1907 and 1908, renaming themselves rugby football leagues, in 1922, the Northern Union changed its name to the Rugby Football League and thus over time the sport itself became known as rugby league football. In 1895, a schism in Rugby football resulted in the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union, within fifteen years of that first meeting in Huddersfield, more than 200 RFU clubs had left to join the rugby revolution. In 1897, the line-out was abolished and in 1898 professionalism introduced, in 1906, the Northern Union changed its rules, reducing teams from 15 to 13 a side and replacing the ruck formed after every tackle with the play the ball.
A similar schism to that which occurred in England took place in Sydney, There, on 8 August 1907 the New South Wales Rugby Football League was founded at Batemans Hotel in George Street. Rugby league went on to rugby union as the primary football code in New South Wales. On 5 May 1954 over 100,000 spectators watched the 1953–54 Challenge Cup Final at Odsal Stadium, England, in 1954 the Rugby League World Cup, the first for either code of rugby, was formed at the instigation of the French. In 1966, the International Board introduced a rule that a team in possession was allowed three play-the-balls and on the tackle a scrum was to be formed. This was increased to six tackles in 1972 and in 1983 the scrum was replaced by a handover,1967 saw the first professional Sunday matches of rugby league played
Leigh Centurions is a professional rugby league club in Leigh, Greater Manchester, 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, 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
Rugby Football League
The Rugby Football League is the governing body for professional rugby league in England. The name Rugby Football League previously referred to the league competition run by the organisation. This has since been supplanted by Super League, the Championship, based at Red Hall in Leeds, it administers the England national rugby league team, the Challenge Cup, Super League and the Rugby League Championships. The social and junior game is administered in association with the British Amateur Rugby League Association, the Rugby Football League is a member of the Rugby League European Federation and as a senior Full Member has a combined veto power over the Council with France. The RFL is part of the Community Board, which has representatives from BARLA, Combined Services, English Schools Rugby League, eventually the Northern was dropped from its name at the beginning of the 1980s. The turnover of the RFL was reported as £27m in 2011, two days later, on Thursday 29 August 1895, representatives of 21 clubs met in the George Hotel, Huddersfield to form the Northern Rugby Football Union.
Twenty clubs agreed to resign from the Rugby Football Union, the Cheshire club, had telegraphed the meeting requesting admission to the new organisation and was duly accepted with a second Cheshire club, admitted at the next meeting. The 22 clubs and their years of foundation were, In 1908 the Northern Unions brand of rugby was taken up in Australia, the Union hosted touring sides from both countries before assembling a Great Britain representative team for a 1910 tour of Australia and New Zealand. These nations, particularly Australia, would go on to excel in the sport, the British Amateur Rugby League Association was created in 1973 in Huddersfield by a group of enthusiasts concerned about the dramatic disappearance of many amateur leagues and clubs. Fewer than 150 amateur teams remained with a mere 30 youth rugby league teams, the breakaway from the RFL was acrimonious and was strongly contested, with a vote 29-1 against recognising BARLA. Thanks to Tom Mitchell, this changed to a vote of approval for BARLA within 12 months.
Maurice Lindsay became the Chief Executive of the RFL in 1992, proposing the Super League, Lindsay returned to Wigan in 1999 for his second stint at the club after Sir Rodney Walker, chairman of the RFL, sacked him after a campaign to unseat him failed. The RFL accumulated losses of £1.9 million at the end of 2001, shortly before a restructuring of the governing body. Within a year of joining the RFL, he oversaw reunification with BARLA after nearly 30 years of division, Lewis left in 2012 to become Chief Executive of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. The RFL net value has been every year since 2004. The regional leagues may include winter competitions in addition, in 2012, the Rugby Football League were awarded the Stonewall Sport Award in recognition of their work in embracing inclusivity and tackling homophobia. They became the first UK sporting organisation to make the top 100 employers in the Stonewall Index that measures attitudes towards lesbian and bisexual staff. The RFL operates a system and is responsible for running the top three professional divisions as well as the National Conference League and various regional leagues below that
York City Knights
York City Knights R. L. F. C. is an English professional rugby league club based in York. They play their games at Bootham Crescent where they ground share with York City F. C. In the 2016 season they played in the League 1, on 19 March 2002, after completing 11 games, the York Wasps announced that they had folded. After a last-ditch take-over deal to save the Wasps collapsed, the RFL accepted the resignation on 26 March. A supporters trust working party was formed on 27 March and applied to the RFL to continue the 2002 Northern Ford Premiership fixtures. After hearing it would be impossible to meet requirements to return that season, on 5 May fans backed a proposal for a new club to apply for admittance to the league for 2003. The RFL accepted Yorks bid to play in the newly formed National League Two on condition that they had £75,000 in the bank by 31 August, the new club decided that the best way to raise cash was through a fans membership scheme. Former Great Britain star Paul Broadbent was revealed as player-coach, with the total standing at £70,000, John Smiths brewery came in with £5,000 as the club hit the target just hours before the deadline.
The full name of the new club was revealed to be York City Knights RLFC, John Guildford, majority shareholder of York building firm Guildford Construction, was revealed to be the majority shareholder. They played at Huntington Stadium, where the incarnation of York RL played. The Knights played their first game at home against Hull Kingston Rovers in the National League Cup on 19 January with a crowd of 3,105. In their first year, the Knights finished fourth with 11 wins and they made the National League Two play-offs but lost 50–30 to the Barrow Raiders. Paul Broadbent resigned as coach at the end of the season, richard Agar was appointed head coach for the following year. They made it all the way to the Challenge Cup Quarter Final, York made the semi finals of the Championship Cup, losing 32–0 to Hull Kingston Rovers. After finishing second in the league, and three points behind Barrow Raiders, the Knights entered the play offs and they lost 37–20 in the qualifying semi final to Halifax and beat Workington Town 70–10.
Mark Cain broke the record for most tries in a match and they were narrowly beaten in the play-off final by Halifax 34–30 at the Halton Stadium in Widnes. Agar left York to join Hull F. C. as an assistant coach, York appointed Mick Cook as their new head coach in 2005 as part of a partnership with Super League club Leeds Rhinos. Cooks side made it to the 5th Round of the Challenge Cup losing 62–0 to St. Helens 62–0 at Knowsley Road, at the end of the league season they were champions by three points and were promoted automatically to National League One for the first time
Wakefield Trinity R. L. F. C. is a professional rugby league club in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, that plays in the Super League. One of the original clubs that formed the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895. The club has played at Belle Vue Stadium in Wakefield since 1895 and has rivalries with Castleford Tigers, Wakefield Trinity won the Northern Union Challenge Cup for the first time in 1909, beating Hull 17–0 at Headingley. If the pre-war years were the post-war period was bright. The first Wembley final after the war produced a return to winning ways as Trinity, with such as Billy Stott, Herbert Goodfellow and Mick Exley. The club was not destined to return to Wembley until 1960 and had to slake its thirst for silverware on two Yorkshire Cup and two Yorkshire League victories in the 1950s. Wakefield returned to Wembley emphatically with a record 38–5 win v Hull under the guidance of coach Ken Traill, Wakefield won their third Challenge Cup victory two years in 1962, running out 12–6 winners v Huddersfield.
The successful defence of the Cup the next year iced a spectacular period in the history with three Wembley titles in four years. Further renown was arrested due to two Championship Final defeats in 1960 and 1962 v Wigan and Huddersfield respectively. One of Trinitys great servants, centre Neil Fox, who scored a record 6,220 points in his 23-year career was coming to prominence, however, in Trinitys up and coming side. The club were victorious in a dour 1962 Challenge Cup win over Huddersfield although the Fartowners went on to them the double a few days in the Championship final. With a victorious defence of the Cup in 1963, their fifth Challenge Cup title, Wakefield had still not been able to achieve the league championship title. The Holy Grail would be achieved in the 1966–67 season when a seasoned, Harold Poynton led side that included Neil and Don Fox, Gary Cooper and Ray Owen, defeated Saints in a replay. They repeated the feat the following year v Hull KR but were again denied the double when Leeds defeated them in the 1968 water splash final at Wembley.
Wakefield Trinity was founded by a group of men from the Holy Trinity Church in 1873, early matches were played at Heath Common, Manor Field and Elm Street before the club moved to Belle Vue in 1879. They were one of the initial 22 clubs to form the Northern Union after the split from the Rugby Football Union in 1895. Belle Vue was purchased in 1895, in order to provide a permanent base for Trinity, the money was provided by the Wakefield Athletic Club, and was initially used for cycling and athletics competitions. Trinity won the Northern Union Challenge Cup for the first time in 1909, the corresponding 1914 final saw the result reversed, with Hull winning 6–0
Salford Red Devils
Salford Red Devils R. L. F. C. is a professional rugby league club in Salford, Greater Manchester, 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 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
Dewsbury Rams R. L. F. C. are a professional English rugby league club based in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire which currently competes in the Kingstone Press Championship. They play their games at the Tetleys Stadium, on Owl Lane. The Rams main fanbase comes from their hometown of Dewsbury but hold a strong following in Shaw Cross as well as neighbouring Gawthorpe and Ossett, prior to the 1997 season, the club was known simply as Dewsbury R. L. F. C. The club won a title in 1972–73 after finishing the regular season in 8th place. The club has won the Challenge Cup twice. The idea of establishing a football club in Dewsbury originated among a few friends at a meeting at the Little Saddle Inn in 1875. Established with immediate effect, Dewsbury Athletic and Football Club enrolled between 30 and 40 members, the first home game, it is generally held, took place on 4 December 1875 in a field off Sugar Lane, opposite the future Crown Flatt. In a 13-a-side scratch game, the two outfits – one selected by the Captain and the other by the Vice-Captain – fought out a draw, the club soon realised they needed a ground and the following year secured a sub tenancy at Crown Flatt for £200.
During the course of the 1879–80 season the colours changed from blue and cardinal to black, crimson. 1881 saw the clubs first success in the Yorkshire Challenge Cup beating Huddersfield, when York paid a visit to Crown Flatt on 25 September 1886, the home team took to the field wearing white jerseys that incorporated the boroughs coat of arms. Crown Flatt was rapidly gaining the reputation as one of the ground in Yorkshire. This was further enhanced when the club purchased the famous Noahs Ark stand at a cost of £250, in 1888, the club amalgamated with Savile Cricket Club and United Clerks Cricket Club to form Dewsbury and Savile Cricket and Football Club. The Yorkshire Senior Competition was formed in 1892 and Dewsbury immediately became members and they made their Senior Competition début at Liversedge on 10 September 1892, Dewsbury were beaten 2–10. The club struggled and finished in the three due to financial problems. The arrival of competitive leagues meant that attendances were increasing connected to on-field success, Dewsbury failed to adapt to the new era, attendances from onwards topped 2,000 only on rare occasions.
By 1895, Dewsbury were sporting blue and white, at a special meeting convened at the Kings Arms Hotel, Market Place, on 2 September, they elected to remain in the Senior Competition. It was not a popular decision, a local journalist reported that there wasnt a single supporter who wouldnt say Let us have the Northern Union and the sooner the better. Dewsbury marginally improved their position in the league to 10th, next season however they were back at the bottom
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 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 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 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 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 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, the Final was lost 9–5 to the mighty Huddersfield team of All-Stars
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 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 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 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, Hunslet, 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 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
Hull Football Club, commonly referred to as Hull or Hull F. C. is a professional rugby league football club established in 1865 and based in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The club plays in the Super League competition and were known as Hull Sharks from 1996–99. Hull F. C. were one of the members of the Northern Rugby Football Union which was formed in 1895 in Huddersfield. Later that year moved to the Hull Athletic Clubs ground at the Boulevard, Airlie Street. Traditionally people from the west side of Hull support Hull F. C. while Hull Kingston Rovers are supported by the east half, Old Faithful is a traditional Hull F. C. terrace song. The team shares the KCOM Stadium with association football side Hull City and their mascot is the Airlie Bird. The club was formed in 1865 by a group of ex-schoolboys from York, most notably Anthony Bradley, the founders used to meet at the Young Mens Fellowship, at St. Mary’s Church in Lowgate. The vicar at that time was the Reverend Scott and his five sons made up the nucleus of the team, the club immediately took on members who were plumbers and glaziers.
Soon another team, Hull White Star, was formed and the two clubs merged, Hull Football Club was one of the first clubs in the north of England to join the Rugby Football Union. Hull F. C. nicknamed the All Blacks, were one of the initial 22 clubs to form the Northern Union after the split from the Rugby Football Union in 1895. The club moved from East Hull to the Hull Athletic Club at the Boulevard in 1895,8,000 people turned out to witness the first clubs match in which Hull F. C. beat Liversedge. Between 1908–10, Hull F. C. lost three consecutive Challenge Cup Finals, in the first, they failed to score against Hunslet who would go on to win All Four Cups whilst in the second they failed to score against Wakefield Trinity. In the third final of 1910, they held Leeds to a 7–7 draw at Fartown, a year the Airlie Birds won their first Challenge Cup, beating Huddersfield in the semi-final and Wakefield Trinity in the final held in Halifax. Playing alongside Billy on that day was John Jack Harrison VC, Harrison scored 52 tries in the 1914–5 season, a club record that still stands.
Twelve Hull F. C. players were killed during the First World War, Australian Jim Devereux became the first player to score 100 tries for Hull. In 1920, Batten was once again key in Hull F. C. s first ever Championship Final, the early-1920s were bittersweet years for the club. In 1921, Hull F. C. lost the Yorkshire County Cup but won the county championship, in the early 1930s, Hull F. C. had a full back and goal kicker called Joe Oliver. Oliver was so dependable with the boot that the crowd at one match spontaneously started singing the Gene Autry song, Hull F. C. supporters adopted the song as their battle cry from on
Hull Kingston Rovers
Hull Kingston Rovers R. F. C. are a professional rugby league club in Hull, formed in 1882. They were relegated from Super League to the Championship in the 2016 Million Pound Game, Hull Kingston Rovers are one of two professional rugby league teams in Hull. Hull F. C. play on the west side of the city, the River Hull is the divide between the two. Hull KRs nickname, the Robins, originates from their playing colours of red. Hull Kingston Rovers began in 1882 when a group of apprentice boilermakers in the Hessle Road area of Hull came together to start a team, Kingston Amateurs. Their first ground was a piece of wasteland in Albert Street, by 1885 Kingston Amateurs had played at three grounds, Albert Street, Anlaby Road and finally Chalk Lane. The club name was changed to Kingston Rovers as they entered the Times Cup in the 1885–86 season. A number of joined the league and the club entered the new Hull and District Rugby Union Cup. The club won its first trophy in the 1887–88 season by winning the Times Cup, the Rovers moved to their fourth ground, down Hessle Road.
In 1888–89,6,000 fans turned up to the cup game against Hull A at the Holderness Road ground, Rovers went through the next season losing just two games, defeating Britannia in the Times Cup final. Rovers beat Hull A for the first time in 1889–90, and moved to their fifth ground, the Red and Whites won the Times Cup for the third year running in 1891–92 beating York A in the final. 1892 saw Rovers play at the Boulevard for the first time, only one away win was recorded this season and six home wins, but Rovers entered the Yorkshire Cup for the first time although they were knocked out by Dewsbury in the second round. In 1893 Rovers played out of the Boulevard, and they lost to Bradford Northern that season in the first round of the Yorkshire Cup. Amos Law, a drop kicker joined the club from Cleckheaton and Huddersfield, while George William Lofthouse played at the age of 14, the youngest ever player to turn out for the senior side. In 1895 the Northern Football Union was founded, when the rugby union sides in the North of England broke away to form a league of their own.
Rovers, nicknamed the redbreasts did not join the new organisation and were promoted to the second division of the RFU finishing joint second. They moved to their first ground in East Hull in Craven Street off Holderness Road, in 1896–97, they were denied a place in the first division when several sides resigned but when the West Riding club dropped out, Rovers moved up. Hull KR amalgamated their resources with Albany Soccer Club, Rovers won the Yorkshire Cup for the first time beating Shipley 11–5 in the final