Lancaster RFC

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Lancaster RFC was a semi-professional rugby league club based in Lancaster, Lancashire, England.

The club first became members of the Northern Rugby Football Union (now Rugby Football League) in 1897, and joined the semi-professional ranks in the Lancashire Senior Competition in 1901–02. They played in the 2nd Division for the following three seasons. At the end of season 1904–05 the club left the league. The club folded (or as described in news article - was ‘dissolved’[1]) shortly afterwards.


Early days[edit]

The original Lancaster RFC was formed in 1870.[1] The club, along with Morecambe Bay neighbours Barrow, Ulverston and Millom joined the Northern Union in 1897, forming a 'North West Rugby League'. Around the turn of the century there were seven Northern Union clubs in and around the city.

During the early years the club had two prominent players who gained international caps. These were: "Gentleman" Jim Leytham, who joined Lancaster RFC in 1897, and John Pinch.

Northern Union[edit]

Lancaster joined the ranks of the semi-professionals for the start of the 1901–02 season when they became members of the Northern Union. During that season they played in the Lancashire Senior Competition finishing in 10th position out of 17.

At the end of the 1901–02 season, the County Leagues elected 18 teams to join the new Division 2 (7 from Lancashire and 10 from Yorkshire and new member South Shields) with the existing second competition scrapped.[2]

In the 1902–03 season, Lancaster joined the new 2nd Division, where they would stay for the next three seasons. In the first season in this division, (1902–03), they finished 11th out of 18 clubs.

In the following two seasons the club managed a mid-table position of 13th out of 18 and a lowly position of 12th out of 14 in 1903–04 and 1904–05 respectively. Lancaster dropped out of the league after the end of the season 1904–05 season. In each of the four seasons, comparing with the results of its near neighbours, Lancaster finished below Millom and Barrow and above Morecambe in every season.

Centenary match[edit]

In 1904, Morecambe and Lancaster, very close neighbours, were drawn against each other in the first round of the Rugby League Challenge Cup.

100 years later the two clubs Morecambe (being represented by Heysham Atoms ARLFC[3]) and Lancaster agreed to play a centenary commemorative match; the winner would be presented with the "Morecambe Bay State of Origin Trophy".[4] And so on Tuesday 11 May 2004, at Lancaster City AFC’s Giant Axe Stadium, Morecambe (playing in the traditional black and white hoops) beat Lancaster (in red and white hoops) 24–15.[3]


Lancaster played at Quay Meadow, which was located behind the buildings on St Georges Quay. In 1905 the newly formed Lancaster Athletic FC played their first two matches at this stadium before moving to the Giant Axe Stadium.

Club league record[edit]

The League positions for Lancaster for the three years in which they played semi-professional rugby league are given in the following table:[5]

Season Competition Pos Team Name Pl W D L PW PA Diff Pts % Pts No of teams in league Notes Ref
1901–02 Lancs Sen Comp 10 Lancaster 17 13 [6]
Only limited County League information is available for this season.
1902–03 2nd Div 11 Lancaster 34 13 4 17 123 214 –91 30 18
1903–04 2nd Div 13 Lancaster 32 8 2 24 129 291 -162 18 17
1904–05 2nd Div 12 Lancaster 26 8 1 17 106 257 -151 17 14

Heading Abbreviations

RL = Single Division; Pl = Games Played: W = Win; D = Draw; L = Lose; PF = Points For; PA = Points Against; Diff = Points Difference (+ or -); Pts = League Points

% Pts = A percentage system was used to determine league positions due to clubs playing varying number of fixtures and against different opponents

League points: for win = 2; for draw = 1; for loss = 0.

Several fixtures and results[edit]

The following are just a few of Lancaster fixtures during the three seasons (and other times) in which they played semi-professional rugby league:[6][7][8][9][10]

Season Date Competition Opponent Venue H/A Result Score Att Notes Ref
1898–99 Sat 15-10-1898 Friendly St. Helens Quay Meadows H Won 8–2 [9]
1899–00 Sat 23-09-1899 Friendly St. Helens Knowsley Road A Lost 3–17 [9]
1899–00 Sat 14-04-1900 Friendly St. Helens Quay Meadows H Lost 8–15 [9]
1901–02 Sat 14-09-1901 Lancs Sen Comp St. Helens Knowsley Road A Lost 0–4 [9]
1901–02 Sat 28-09-1901 Lancs Sen Comp Wigan Springfield Park A Lost 0–11 3 [6]
1901–02 Sat 26-10-1901 Lancs Sen Comp St. Helens Quay Meadows H Won 17–4 [9]
1901–02 Sat 23-11-1901 Lancs Sen Comp Wigan Quay Meadows H Lost 2–5 [6]
1901–02 14-12-1901 Lancs Sen Comp Widnes Lowerhouse Lane A Lost 5–29 0 2 [10]
1901–02 09-04-1902 Lancs Sen Comp Widnes Quay Meadows H Lost 0–5 0 [10]
1903–04 Sat 26-12-1903 L OBJ St. Helens Quay Meadows H Won 10–3 [9]
1903–04 Sat 12-03-1904 CC R1 Morecambe Quay Meadows H Draw 0–0 4 [3][4]
1903–04 Wed 16-03-1904 CC R1 Replay Morecambe Moss Lane A Won 13–4 4 [3][4]
1903–04 Sat 19-03-1904 CC R2 Keighley Quay Meadows H Lost 0–8
1903–04 Wed 13-04-1904 2nd Div St. Helens Quay Meadows H Lost 2–12 [9]
1903–04 Sat 23-04-1904 2nd Div St. Helens Knowsley Road A Lost 2–35 [9]

Notes and comments[edit]

  1. Folly Fields is the stadium used by Wigan at the time until 1901. They then became sub-tenants of Springfield Park See below - Note 3.
  2. Lowerhouse Lane is the original site of the current ground used by Widnes. It was renamed Naughton Park in 1932 in honour of club secretary, Tom Naughton - and later renamed Halton Stadium after being completely rebuilt in 1997.
  3. Wigan became sub-tenants of Springfield Park, which they shared with Wigan United AFC, playing their first game there on 14 September 1901 at which a crowd of 4,000 saw them beat Morecambe 12–0, and the last game on 28 April 1902 when Wigan beat the Rest of Lancashire Senior Competition. A temporary ground was necessary to span the period between moving from Folly Fields and the new ground at Central Park being constructed.
  4. The original "Origin" game took place during the 1903/4 Rugby League Challenge Cup competition, where the two local teams played out an unusual 0–0 draw at Quay Meadow, only to be followed in the replay by a Lancaster win of 13 points to 4 at Moss Lane in Morecambe, approximately where Morrisons supermarket now stands. Lancaster progressed to the second round of the Cup, where they were defeated 8 points to nil by Keighley at Quay Meadow.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Jim Lytham". 
  2. ^ J C Lindley with personal recollections by D W Armitage (1973). 100 Years of Rugby - The History of Wakefield Trinity Football Club. The Wakefield Trinity Centenary Committee. pp. 37 and 38. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Heysham Atoms ARLFC". 
  4. ^ a b c "Preview of centenary match". 
  5. ^ Jack Winstanley & Malcolm Ryding (1975). John Player Rugby League Yearbook 1975–76. Queen Anne Press. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Cherry and White". 
  7. ^ "Hull&Proud Fixtures & Results". Archived from the original on 2012-03-02. 
  8. ^ "Warrington Wolves results and archives". Archived from the original on 2011-12-21. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Saints Heritage Society". 
  10. ^ a b c "Widnes Seasons in Review". 

External links[edit]