Castleford Tigers R. L. F. C. are an English rugby league club in Castleford, West Yorkshire, that plays in Super League. Formed in 1926, the club were members of the Super League in 1996 and have won the Challenge Cup four times. Their most recent major trophy was the 1994 Regal Trophy, Castleford have a rivalry with neighbours Featherstone Rovers, Wakefield Trinity and Leeds. The club have played at Wheldon Road in Castleford, since 1927 and their home colours are black and orange. Castleford RFC joined the Northern Rugby Football Union for the 1896–97 season, its second, not much is known about the original Castleford club, except that they have no connection with the present Castleford Tigers RLFC. Castleford joined the league for the 1926–27 season, many official records state that they were founded at this time but they had played successfully in the lower Yorkshire County Cup for several years before this date. They actually joined the League code around 1920 and played in early years at the Sandy Desert ground.
The club went professional in 1926 and moved to their current home ground on Wheldon Road in 1926. The club soon started to make a mark on northern rugby, winning their first major trophy when they topped the Yorkshire League in 1932, in 1938, they made it to the Championship finals, but failed to take the cup. The Second World War meant the league was suspended soon after, Castleford finished fourth in the national league in the 1962/63 season. Castleford picked up where left off when they were again beaten in the Championship finals in 1969. However, this seemed to spur the team on, and 1969 and 1970 saw Castleford win the Challenge Cup for two consecutive years, with clubs legends Alan Hardisty and Keith Hepworth leading the team. John Sheridan was appointed coach in 1973 for a spell. Castlefords finished a respectable ninth in a table but Sheridan stepped down following criticism from fans. During the late 1970s Castleford edged up the league, and in 1986 they made it to the Premiership final and they finished consistently high over the next few years, and finished in the top four clubs in the Championship for four years during 1990–1995.
Darryl van der Velde took Castleford to the Challenge Cup final Wembley where they were defeated by Wigan in 1992, a year later, Darryl van der Velde left to become chief executive of the South Queensland Crushers, he was succeeded by his assistant John Joyner. Through the Darryl van der Velde and early Joyner years Castleford were lauded for there style and were labelled Classy Cas and this enjoyable playing style was to come to fruition most spectacularly in 1994, when Castleford were dominating the league. As well as defeating legendary Wigan team to take the Regal Trophy 33–2 and that season John Joyner, was named Coach-of-the-Year by the RFL
1954 Rugby League World Cup
The 1954 Rugby League World Cup was rugby league footballs first World Cup and was held in France in October-November 1954. Officially known as the Rugby World Cup, four nations competed in the tournament, France, Great Britain, a group stage was held first, with Great Britain topping the table as a result of points difference. They went on to defeat France in the final, which was held at Paris Parc des Princes before approximately 31,000 spectators. The prime instigators behind the idea of holding a rugby league cup were the French. The first rugby league cup was an unqualified success. It was played in a good spirit, provided an excellent standard of play and was a fitting celebration of Frances 20th anniversary as a rugby league-playing nation. The trophy, which was donated by the French, was eight million francs. The World Cup was a French initiative, led by Paul Barrière, who donated the Rugby League World Cup trophy himself, they had been campaigning for such a tournament since before the Second World War.
Teams from Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand and the United States were invited to join the hosts, however, the tournament was not held until 1954, with all teams except the United States participating. The uncertainty of the outcome was of particular interest. In the early 1950s all four competing nations were quite capable of beating each other – no test series in the period was a foregone conclusion, if there were a favourite it was Australia who had just won back the Ashes. However, in 1953 they had lost series to both the French and the Kiwis, while Great Britain had defeated New Zealand on the half of their 1954 Australasian tour. The captains for this event were Puig-Aubert, Cyril Eastlake, Clive Churchill. The referees were Warringtons Charlie Appleton and Rene Guidicelli, Rugby League – Contributing to New Zealands Future. Archived from the original on 1 October 2010
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 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, 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 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
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
Barrow Raiders R. L. F. C. is an English professional rugby league team from Barrow-in-Furness, which is coached by Paul Crarey. The club was formed in 1875 as Barrow Football Club, for the 1995-96 and 1996 seasons the club was known as Barrow Braves, adopting its current name for the 1997 season following a merger with Carlisle Border Raiders. Barrow Raiders compete in Kingstone Press League 1, the tier of European rugby league. It is thought that Tom H. Baynes, a clerk, was the driving force behind the clubs foundation. As well as being a player, he was the first Barrow team coach. Early practice matches games were played in a field loaned by a farmer as well as the Parade Ground. At the 1883 annual general meeting, Cavendish Park got the vote over the Parade Ground as a permanent home on account of its playing surface. The first grandstand there was erected in 1893, and another one in 1893, in April 1897, the team switched from rugby union to rugby league following a unanimous vote at the club.
Barrow joined the Second Division of the Lancashire Senior Competition and became champions in their first season and they lost a test match against Morecambe, the bottom club in the First Division and failed to gain promotion. They were eventually promoted at the end of the 1899–1900 season, in 1908, the club nearly doubled their attendance record to 12,000 in a third round Challenge Cup match against Hunslet. In 1914, Cavendish Park was requisitioned by the authorities for the war effort, Barrow moved to Little Park, three miles from the centre of town. The first match there was a 31–2 victory over Bramley, the league at this time was suspended and clubs were forced to arrange their own fixtures in an unofficial war league. After World War I, Barrow had mixed fortunes and when the league resumed in 1919–20, over the next decade, despite having several county and national players, Barrows form suffered and its league position was poor. In 1929, it had been realised that rugby league in Barrow was approaching a precarious period and this was in part due to industrial depression but Little Parks location.
The directors made an appeal to the town, and approached the mayor, commander G. W. Craven, a local war hero, started an appeal fund with a donation of £500. In a short time the club bought a site, where the Jute Works stood for £2,500. Craven Park was built in 1931, largely as a result of the efforts of supporters,500 of whom volunteered to construct the ground, the total cost of the building project came to £7,500 which was an unbelievable figure in those days. 1937–38 saw Barrow reach the finals of the Lancashire County Cup for the first time and that season was a time of great opportunity for the Barrow team but was to end in disappointment
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
Featherstone Rovers R. L. F. C. are a professional rugby league club in Featherstone, West Yorkshire, who play in the Kingstone Press Championship. Featherstone is a former coal mining town with a population of around 16,000. Known as Fev or Flat Cappers, the club has produced junior players who have gone on to play for Super League clubs. Their local rivals are Castleford and Wakefield Trinity, and in the Championship Halifax, the club have won the Challenge Cup three times, in 1967,1973 and 1983, and been League Champions once, in 1977. Featherstone Trinity RUFC were formed in 1889, Featherstone Trinity played their first game on the New Inn fields against Castleford Mill Lane Rovers. The following season in 1890, Featherstone went 19 games without defeat and they dropped the Trinity to become simply Featherstone RUFC in 1894. Featherstone voted to join the Northern Union in 1898 and became the towns first rugby league team, a new club, Featherstone Rovers, was formed in the Railway Hotel in 1902, reformed in 1906 and joined the Northern Union in 1907.
The club was made up of local miners and between 1912 and 1913 played at the Featherstone Main Colliery Welfare Ground. In 1913 Featherstone Rovers merged with Purston White Horse, Featherstone became a semi-professional club on 14 June 1921, beating Bradford Northern in their first game as a senior club. Their first game at Post Office Road attracted 4,000 fans, the finished 24th in their first season. They finished 12th, 23rd, 17th, 15th, 11th and 3rd in 1927–28 Rovers reached the Championship final after just seven seasons, Rovers ended the 1928–29 season finishing 25th, although they reached a cup final, beaten by Leeds in the Yorkshire Cup decider. The 1930s were a decade for Featherstone, finishing in the bottom half of the league in every season. Rovers first major silverware was won in 1939–40, when they lifted the Yorkshire County Cup and they finished 7th in the Yorkshire Emergency War League both in 1939–40 and 1940–41. The counties united in 1941–42 and Rovers finished 12th and they were a mid table side during these few years finishing 8th, 13th and 14th.
After two seasons in charge, former player Bill Sherwood gave way to a new coach, and the decided to go for a big name. Bill Sherwood re-assumed the coaching role for three seasons until 1951. Eric Batten came in as player-coach in the summer of 1951, from rock bottom strugglers, Featherstone were gradually transformed into a fit and competitive side, capable of matching the best in the league on their day. Rovers first visit to Wembley Stadium was in the 1952 Challenge Cup Final and they were defeated 18–10 by Workington Town in front of a crowd of 72,093
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
Huddersfield Giants R. L. F. C. are an English professional rugby league club from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, the birthplace of rugby league, who play in the Super League competition. They have won 7 Championships and 6 Challenge Cups, but have not won a trophy since 1962. The club was known as Huddersfield Barracudas from 1984–88 and Huddersfield-Sheffield Giants for the 2000 season and they play in a distinctive strip of a claret shirt with thin gold hoops, claret shorts and claret and gold hooped socks. They have rivalries with Warrington Wolves, Leeds Rhinos, Bradford Bulls and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. The earliest record of a match being played in the Huddersfield area is in 1848. Hepworth won a close game which exhibited the usual amount of confusions, bloody noses, etc. There appears to have no formal structure to sport in the Huddersfield area until the opening of the Apollo Gymnasium on 3 August 1850. In 1864 the Apollo Gymnasium was turned into the Gymnasium Theatre, the athletes of the gymnasium responded by forming a more organised athletics association.
In an advertisement headed Huddersfield Athletic Club they invited gentlemen desirous of becoming members to a meeting at 8 oclock on the evening of 16 November 1864 at the Queen Hotel. The meeting went ahead, a hundred names were registered and a committee was formed, within a month a new gymnasium was in service in a basement on Back John William Street. On 27 January 1866 twenty members of the Huddersfield Athletic Club agreed to play a match against twenty of the Huddersfield Rifle Corps at Rifle Field in Trinity Street. Although the result was a draw, a large crowd was attracted. In light of this, the Huddersfield Athletic Club agreed to start a football section which was to start at the beginning of December 1866. Initially the Huddersfield Athletic Club made no contribution to the support of the football club, as the football club grew, it became a useful recruiting tool for the Huddersfield Athletic Club. In 1869 six matches were played and by 1870 three of the players had been selected to represent Yorkshire.
By 1872 there were so many players that a team was formed. The growth in popularity of the club and the need for better facilities led to the Huddersfield Athletic Club approaching St Johns Cricket Club with a proposal to merge the two clubs, St Johns Cricket Club had been formed in 1866 at Hillhouse and had moved to Fartown ground. By 1875, when talks began, over £800 had been spent on developing the new ground
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 supplied three-guineas winners medals 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 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
Halifax R. L. F. C. is a semi-professional rugby league club in Halifax, West Yorkshire, which formed in 1873. Halifax were one of the original twenty-two rugby clubs formed the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895. They have been Rugby League Champions four times and have won the Challenge Cup five times and they have rivalries with neighbours Bradford and Huddersfield and with fellow Championship side Featherstone Rovers. Known as Fax, the colours are blue and white hoops, white shorts and blue. They share the Shay stadium with the football club, Halifax Town. The club was founded as Halifax in 1873, after winning the first Yorkshire Cup in 1878, they went on to win it on another four occasions. Several players were picked for the Yorkshire County side in these years, in 1886, the club moved to Thrum Hall, which would be their home ground for the next 112 years. The first game there was played on 18 September 1886 against Hull F. C. Halifax were founding members of the breakaway Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895.
In 1896, Halifax lost out on winning the first ever Rugby Football League Championship by a single point, in 1902–03, they achieved the double by winning the Challenge Cup and finishing top of Division One. They won the cup again the season, and were the first ever Championship play-off winners in 1906–07. Halifax won their first Wembley Challenge Cup final in 1931, beating York 22–8, an estimated 100,000 people lined the route to a civic reception at the town hall. Towards the end of the 1937 season and Mitcham folded after just one season in the league. The club had made a number of signings from the New Zealand All Blacks, including George Nepia and Charles Smith. In 1938, Halifax reached the semi-final of the Challenge Cup, in 1939, Halifax became the last team to win the Challenge Cup final before the war. Favourites Salford were beaten 20–3 in front of a record 55,453 spectators, in 1947 Halifaxs Hudson Irving died from a heart attack while playing at Dewsbury. In 1949, Halifaxs David Craven died after breaking his neck playing against Workington Town, the 1949 Challenge Cup final was sold out for first time as 95,050 spectators saw Bradford Northern beat Halifax.
In the 1950s, Halifax were Championship runners-up three times, beat Hull F. C. in Yorkshire Cup finals in 1954 and 1955, Halifax were unbeaten at their home ground of Thrum Hall between December 1952 and November 1956. After securing a Yorkshire league and cup double in 1955–56, the club was in sight of winning All Four Cups, Wembley was reached after a 11–10 Challenge Cup semi-final victory over Wigan at Odsal and Halifax beat St. Helens 23–8 in the Championship semi-final
The Rochdale Hornets are one of the original twenty-two rugby clubs that formed the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895, making them one of the worlds first rugby league clubs. Their main local rivals are Oldham Roughyeds, Salford City Reds, a Rochdale Athletic Club was formed in 1866 and held its first festival on the cricket ground at Merefield. Rugby football first took place as a game about 1866 or 1867. Within a year they were all playing alongside new members when working class men were allowed to join as well, other clubs quickly followed, among them Rochdale Wasps and Rochdale Juniors. In 1871, Rochdale Juniors and Rakebank merged to form Rochdale United, on 20 April 1871, the directors of Rochdale Wasps, Rochdale United and Rochdale Football Club met at the Roebuck Hotel in the town centre to form a senior team that would represent the town. Rochdale Butterflies and Rochdale Grasshoppers were suggested as names for the new club before Rochdale Hornets was agreed on, the original team colours were amber and black.
In 1875, Hornets played at Mr R. Kershaws Athletic Grounds in Vavasour Street, the club very quickly took a leading position in the game in Lancashire. Hornets had an open approach to membership and were able to insist on gate money as they played on an enclosed field. In June 1879, Rochdale Rovers threw in their lot with the Hornets, a ground was taken at Oakenrod for the 1879–80 season but owing to poor gates, Rochdale Hornets returned to Rochdale Cricket Club ground. In 1881 no fewer than 57 rugby clubs played in Rochdale and district, by the 1890s, the players were almost all working class. Rochdale moved to the Athletic Grounds in Milnrow Road, which opened on 9 June 1894 and their first game at their new home took place in September 1894 against Crompton. They were founder members of the Northern Union in 1895, Hornets made a poor start under the new regime and finished bottom of the league table, for a good number of years they lost many more matches than they won. They became tenants of the Athletics Grounds in 1900, between the 7–9 March 1901, a three-day bazaar was held at the town hall where around £1,000 was raised to help pay for the clubs debts.
Incidents from the played on 22 March 1901 resulted in the ground being suspended by the Northern Union. The players went on strike on 29 March 1902 as empty coffers meant that they went unpaid, Rochdale Hornets refused to travel to Dewsbury on 1 October 1904 on account of a smallpox outbreak, and were subsequently fined £20. Rochdale purchased the Athletics Grounds in 1913, Hornets won the Lancashire County Cup in 1911 and 1914. Between 10 October 1914 and 6 March 1915, Hornets played 25 games without defeat, shortly after this streak was broken by a defeat to Wigan, Hornets beat Broughton Moor 75–13 in a cup-tie on 13 March 1915, it was their biggest margin of victory since 1871. Twenty-five Rochdale players enlisted for the First World War, one of whom, Rugby League came back to Rochdale following the Great War on Christmas Day 1918 when Rochdale played a friendly game