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RFL Championship

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RFL Championship

Not to be confused with the Rugby League National Leagues, currently known as the Rugby League Championship (or Co-operative Championship due to sponsorship by The Co-operative Group).

The Rugby Football League Championship was the major professional competition organised by the Rugby Football League in Great Britain. In 1996 it was superseded by the Super League and the Rugby League National Leagues. Winning Super League is still regarded as winning the championship, hence for completeness this article includes championships from the Super League era.

History

The first season of rugby league (1895–96) saw all the breakaway clubs play in a single league competition. The addition of new teams and the problems of travelling led to the league being split in two for the following season; into the Yorkshire League and the Lancashire League. This arrangement lasted until the 1901-02 season, when the top clubs from each league resigned and formed a single new competition. The following season the remaining clubs in the Yorkshire and Lancashire Leagues were re-organised to form a second division.

In 1905-06 the two divisions were re-combined into a single competition. Clubs played all the teams in their own county on a home-and-away basis, results counting towards the re-formed Yorkshire and Lancashire Leagues. They also organised inter-county fixtures on an individual basis; all results were collated into a single table for the Championship. In order to even up the competition a top-four play-off series was used to determine the Championship.

Apart from the interventions of the two world wars, this system was retained until the 1962-63 season, when the league briefly returned to a two divisional system. This lasted only two years, and in the 1964-65 season they returned to one large division subdivided into county leagues. The play-off were expanded to the top 16 teams.

In the 1973-74 season they once again went back to two divisions. The play-off and the Yorkshire and Lancashire League were abandoned, and a new play-off type competition, the Premiership, was introduced.

In 1996 the championship was replaced by the Super League. The remaining clubs later went on to form the Rugby League National Leagues.

Championship winners

Season Champions [1] Titles Decided by Source
1895–96 Manningham 1 League
1896–01 Separate county leagues N/A N/A
1901–02 Broughton Rangers 1 League
1902–03 Halifax 1 League
1903–04 Bradford 1 League (play-off)
1904–05 Oldham 1 League
1905–06 Leigh 1 League
1906–07 Halifax 2 Play-off
1907–08 Hunslet 1 Play-off
1908–09 Wigan 1 Play-off
1909–10 Oldham 2 Play-off
1910–11 Oldham 3 Play-off
1911–12 Huddersfield 1 Play-off
1912–13 Huddersfield 2 Play-off
1913–14 Salford 1 Play-off
1914–15 Huddersfield 3 Play-off
1915–19 No competition due to World War I N/A N/A
1919–20 Hull 1 Play-off
1920–21 Hull 2 Play-off
1921–22 Wigan 2 Play-off
1922–23 Hull Kingston Rovers 1 Play-off
1923–24 Batley 1 Play-off
1924–25 Hull Kingston Rovers 2 Play-off
1925–26 Wigan 3 Play-off
1926–27 Swinton 1 Play-off
1927–28 Swinton 2 Play-off
1928–29 Huddersfield 4 Play-off
1929–30 Huddersfield 5 Play-off
1930–31 Swinton 3 Play-off
1931–32 St Helens 1 Play-off
1932–33 Salford 2 Play-off
1933–34 Wigan 4 Play-off
1934–35 Swinton 4 Play-off
1935–36 Hull 3 Play-off
1936–37 Salford 3 Play-off
1937–38 Hunslet 2 Play-off
1938–39 Salford 4 Play-off
1939–45 War Emergency League during World War II N/A N/A
1945–46 Wigan 5 Play-off
1946–47 Wigan 6 Play-off
1947–48 Warrington 1 Play-off
1948–49 Huddersfield 6 Play-off
1949–50 Wigan 7 Play-off
1950–51 Workington Town 1 Play-off
1951–52 Wigan 8 Play-off
1952–53 St Helens 2 Play-off
1953–54 Warrington 2 Play-off
1954–55 Warrington 3 Play-off
1955–56 Hull 4 Play-off
1956–57 Oldham 4 Play-off
1957–58 Hull 5 Play-off
1958–59 St Helens 3 Play-off
1959–60 Wigan 9 Play-off
1960–61 Leeds 1 Play-off
1961–62 Huddersfield 7 Play-off
1962–63 Swinton 5 League
1963–64 Swinton 6 League
1964–65 Halifax 3 Play-off
1965–66 St Helens 4 Play-off
1966–67 Wakefield Trinity 1 Play-off
1967–68 Wakefield Trinity 2 Play-off
1968–69 Leeds 2 Play-off
1969–70 St Helens 5 Play-off
1970–71 St Helens 6 Play-off
1971–72 Leeds 3 Play-off
1972–73 Dewsbury 1 Play-off
1973–74 Salford 5 League
1974–75 St Helens 7 League
1975–76 Salford 6 League
1976–77 Featherstone Rovers 1 League
1977–78 Widnes 1 League
1978–79 Hull Kingston Rovers 3 League
1979–80 Bradford Northern 1 League
1980–81 Bradford Northern 2 League
1981–82 Leigh 2 League
1982–83 Hull 6 League
1983–84 Hull Kingston Rovers 4 League
1984–85 Hull Kingston Rovers 5 League
1985–86 Halifax 4 League
1986–87 Wigan 10 League
1987–88 Widnes 2 League
1988–89 Widnes 3 League
1989–90 Wigan 11 League
1990–91 Wigan 12 League
1991–92 Wigan 13 League
1992–93 Wigan 14 League
1993–94 Wigan 15 League
1994–95 Wigan 16 League
1995–96 Wigan 17 League
1996 St Helens 8 League
1997 Bradford 3 League
1998 Wigan 18 Play-off
1999 St. Helens 9 Play-off
2000 St. Helens 10 Play-off
2001 Bradford 4 Play-off
2002 St Helens 11 Play-off
2003 Bradford 5 Play-off
2004 Leeds 4 Play-off
2005 Bradford 6 Play-off
2006 St Helens 12 Play-off
2007 Leeds 5 Play-off
2008 Leeds 6 Play-off
2009 Leeds 7 Play-off
2010 Wigan 19 Play-off
2011 Leeds 8 Play-off
2012 Leeds 9 Play-off
2013 Wigan 20 Play-off
Note
  • This table includes championships from the Super League era.

Note Bold donates club winning Challenge Cup in the same season; thus completing the Championship and Challenge Cup 'Double'.

Rugby Football League Championship and Super League success

As of the 2012 season, three of the fourteen clubs participating in the Super League have never won the Rugby Football League Championship or Super League, they are; Castleford, Catalans and London Broncos.

As of the 2012 season, twelve clubs not currently participating in the Super League have won the Rugby Football League Championship.

The five, of the twelve, clubs with pre-World War II Rugby Football League Championship wins are; Batley (1), Bradford (now the Association football club Bradford Park Avenue) (1), Broughton Rangers (now defunct) (1), Hunslet (2), Manningham (now the Association football club Bradford City) (1).

The four, of the twelve, clubs with both Pre- and Post-WWII Rugby Football League Championship wins are; Halifax (4, i.e. 2 pre- & 2 post-WWII), Leigh (2, i.e. 1 pre- & 1 post-WWII), Oldham (4, i.e. 3 pre- & 1 post-WWII), Swinton (6, i.e. 4 pre- & 2 post-WWII).

The three, of the twelve, clubs with Post-WWII Rugby Football League Championship wins are; Dewsbury (1), Featherstone Rovers (1), Workington Town (1).

Of these twelve former Rugby Football League Championship winning clubs, only four have ever participated in the Super League, they are; Halifax, Leigh, Oldham, Workington Town, all of whom have had Post-WWII wins.

Of these twelve former Rugby Football League Championship winning clubs, none have been granted Super League 2012 licences, and are therefore precluded from the Super League for the foreseeable future.

Club Wins Winning Years
1 Wigan 20 1908/09, 1921/22, 1925/26, 1933/34, 1945/46, 1946/47, 1949/50, 1951/52, 1959/60, 1986/87, 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95, 1995/96, 1998, 2010, 2013
2 St. Helens 12 1931/32, 1952/53, 1958/59, 1965/66, 1969/70, 1970/71, 1974/75, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006
3 Leeds 9 1960/61, 1968/69, 1971/72, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012
4 Huddersfield 7 1911/12, 1912/13, 1914/15, 1928/29, 1929/30, 1948/49, 1961/62
5 Swinton 6 1926/27, 1927/28, 1930/31, 1934/35, 1962/63, 1963/64
6 Salford[2] 6 1913/14, 1932/33, 1936/37, 1938/39, 1973/74, 1975/76
7 Hull 6 1919/20, 1920/21, 1935/36, 1955/56, 1957/58, 1982/83
8 Bradford Northern/Bulls 6 1979/80, 1980/81, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2005
9 Hull Kingston Rovers 5 1922/23, 1924/25, 1978/79, 1983/84, 1984/85
10 Oldham 4 1904/05, 1909/10, 1910/11, 1956/57
11 Halifax 4 1902/03, 1906/07, 1964/65, 1985/86
12 Warrington 3 1947/48, 1953/54, 1954/55
13 Widnes 3 1977/78, 1987/88, 1988/89
14 Hunslet 2 1907/08, 1937/38
15 Wakefield Trinity 2 1966/67, 1967/68
16 Leigh 2 1905/06, 1981/82
17 Broughton Rangers 1 1901/02
18 Manningham 1 1895/96
19 Bradford 1 1903/04
20 Batley 1 1923/24
21 Workington Town 1 1950/51
22 Dewsbury 1 1972/73
23 Featherstone Rovers 1 1976/77

Note. In the event of a tie, the team that won x amount of titles first is given preference.

Rugby League 'Double'

In Rugby League, the term 'the Double' is referring to the achievement of a club that wins the Championship and Challenge Cup in the same season. To date, this has been achieved by nine different clubs.

Club Wins Winning Years
1 Wigan 7 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95, 2013
2 St Helens 3 1965/66, 1996, 2006
3 Huddersfield 2 1912/13, 1914/15 (All Four Cups)
4 Broughton Rangers 1 1901/02
5 Halifax 1 1902/03
6 Hunslet 1 1907/08 (All Four Cups)
7 Swinton 1 1927/28 (All Four Cups)
8 Warrington 1 1953/54
9 Bradford Bulls 1 2003

Note. In the event of a tie, the team that won x amount of 'Doubles' first is given preference.

See also

References

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