The Castleford Tigers are a rugby league club in Castleford, West Yorkshire, that compete in the Super League, the top-level professional rugby league club competition in the Northern Hemisphere. The club have competed in the top division for the majority of their existence having only been relegated twice in their history, Castleford has won the Challenge Cup four times, their most recent major trophy was the 2017 Super League League Leaders Shield. Castleford have a rivalry with neighbours Featherstone Wakefield Trinity; the club has been based after moving from the Sandy Desert in Lock Lane. The club's current home colours are amber. Castleford RFC joined the Northern Rugby Football Union for the 1896–97 season, its second and remained in the ranks of the semi-professionals until the end of the 1905–06 season. 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 in the lower Yorkshire County Cup for several years before this date. They joined the League "code" around 1920 and played in these early years at the Sandy Desert ground, now used by amateur club Castleford Lock Lane youth and junior teams; the club went professional in 1926 and moved to their current home ground on Wheldon Road in 1927. The club soon started to make a mark on northern rugby, winning their first major trophy when they topped the Yorkshire League in 1932, followed by victory in the Challenge Cup in 1935. In 1938, they failed to take the cup; the Second World War meant the league was suspended soon after, Castleford abstained from league competition until the 1944–45 season. Castleford finished fourth in the national league in the 1962/63 season; the following season they lost 7–5 to Widnes in the Challenge Cup semi-final replay at Belle Vue, Wakefield in front of a 28,700 crowd after drawing at Station Road, Swinton in the first meeting of the two clubs.
Under the direction of coach George Clinton, Castleford won many fans in the'60s by playing an open and free-flowing style of rugby, earning them the nicknames "Classy Cas" and "High Speed Cas", the latter playing off the slogan for British Gas in use at the time. Castleford picked up where they left off when they were again beaten in the Championship finals in 1969, this time conceding defeat to arch-rivals Leeds. However, this loss seemed to spur the team on, 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 head coach in 1973 for a spell. Castleford's finished a respectable ninth in a one-division table but Sheridan stepped down following criticism from fans. During the late 1970s Castleford edged up the league, in 1986 they made it to the Premiership final, where they were beat Hull Kingston Rovers 15–14, they finished high over the next few years, 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 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 their style and were labelled'Classy Cas'; this enjoyable playing style was to come to fruition most spectacularly in 1994, when Castleford were dominating the league. As well as defeating a legendary Wigan team to take the Regal Trophy 33–2, they were semi-finalists in the Challenge Cup and were narrowly defeated in the Premiership final; that season John Joyner, was named Coach-of-the-Year by the RFL. St John Ellis scored a club record 40 league tries over the 1993–94 season; when a Super League was suggested, Castleford resisted a merger with Wakefield Trinity and Featherstone Rovers, became a founder member of the Super League in 1996. The team performed weakly at the start of the season causing the resignation of coach John Joyner, the team avoided relegation by a whisker in 1997 following the appointment of Stuart Raper.
The next season, they managed to frustrate the bleak predictions of pundits to move up the league, finishing sixth at the end of the season, after putting in some good performances and pleasing their fans with a sprinkling of victories. In 1999, they continued on this upward trajectory, finishing fifth, as well as making the semi-finals of both the Challenge Cup and the Grand Final play-offs; this became one of the most famous seasons in the clubs recent past, with fans still remembering it with reverence. The team included many home grown players such as current assistant Danny Orr, included that years Man of Steel winner Adrian Vowles. In 2000, the rise seemed to stall, as they repeated their fifth-place ranking and made the play-offs for a consecutive season. Raper left Castleford midway through the 2001 campaign to take charge of Wigan, his assistant Graham Steadman took over the reins as head coach. Castleford made the semi-final of the Challenge Cup in 2002, however the team was to fall down the table over the years to come.
Gary Mercer guided Castleford to five wins in their last 10 games after replacing Graham Steadman in 2004 but it was too little to save them from the drop as Castleford were relegated for the first time in the club's history. From the introduction of two divisions in the 1972–1973 Northern Rugby Football League season Castleford had spent 32 years in the top flight of British rugby league. Gary
Rugby league football is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field. One of the two codes of rugby, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players, its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators. In rugby league, points are scored by carrying the ball and touching it to the ground beyond the opposing team's goal line; the opposing team attempts to stop the attacking 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, field goals can be attempted at any time. Rugby league is the national sport of Papua New Guinea, is a popular sport in Northern England, the states of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia, South Auckland in New Zealand, southwest France and Lebanon.
The Super League and the National Rugby League are the premier club competitions. Rugby league is played internationally, predominantly by European and Pacific Island countries, is governed by the Rugby League International Federation; the first Rugby League World Cup was held in France in 1954. Rugby league football takes its name from the bodies that split to create a new form of rugby, distinct from that run by the Rugby Football Unions, in Britain and New Zealand between 1895 and 1908; the first of these, the Northern Rugby Football Union, was established in 1895 as a breakaway faction of England's Rugby Football Union. Both organisations played the game under the same rules at first, although the Northern Union began to modify rules immediately, thus creating a new faster, stronger paced form of rugby football. Similar breakaway factions split from RFU-affiliated unions in Australia and New Zealand in 1907 and 1908, renaming themselves "rugby football leagues" and introducing Northern Union rules.
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. Although many factors played a part in the split, including the success of working class northern teams, the main division was caused by the RFU decision to enforce the amateur principle of the sport, preventing "broken time payments" to players who had taken time off work to play rugby. Northern teams had more working class players who could not afford to play without this compensation, in contrast to affluent southern teams who had other sources of income to sustain the amateur principle. In 1895, a decree by the RFU banning the playing of rugby at grounds where entrance fees were charged led to twenty-two clubs meeting at the George Hotel, Huddersfield on 29 August 1895 and forming 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 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 Australia. There, on 8 August 1907 the New South Wales Rugby Football League was founded at Bateman's Hotel in George Street. Rugby league went on to displace rugby union as the primary football code in New South Wales and Queensland. On 5 May 1954 over 100,000 spectators watched the 1953–54 Challenge Cup Final at Odsal Stadium, England, setting a new record for attendance at a rugby football match of either code. 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 fourth 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 sponsors, Joshua Tetley and John Player, entered the game for the 1971–72 Northern Rugby Football League season. Television would have an enormous impact on the sport of rugby league in the 1990s when Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation sought worldwide broadcasting rights and refused to take no for an answer; the media giant's "Super League" movement saw big changes for the traditional administrators of the game. In Europe, it resulted in a move from a winter sport to a summer one as the new Super League competition tried to expand its market. In Australasia, the Super League war resulted in long and costly legal battles and changing loyalties, causing significant damage to the code in an competitive sporting market. In 1997 two competitions were run alongside each other in Australia, after which a peace deal in the form of the National Rugby League was formed; the NRL has since become recognised as the sport's flagship competition and since that time has set record TV ratings and crowd figures.
The objective in rugby league is to score more points through tries and field goals than the opposition within the 80 minutes of play. If after two halves of play, each consisting of forty minutes, the two teams are drawing, a draw may be declar