Newcastle was a semi-professional rugby league club based in Newcastle upon Tyne in North East England.

The club played semi-professional rugby league for a total of 2 seasons, 1936–37 and 1937–38, possibly joining direct from non-league. They left the league at the end of season 1937–38.


There had been several rugby league teams based on Tyneside since the great rugby schism that resulted in the formation of rugby league. Wallsend RFC were an early non-league club and South Shields tried their luck, with the semi-professionals in the second division of the Rugby League in 1902-03 and 1903-04, neither club with any great success.[1]

Newcastle Rugby League FC joined the Rugby League for the 1936–37 season. The Pathe news cameras were out when Newcastle Rugby League FC opened their home programme with a great fanfare. The match was attended by many dignitaries including the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, This first match, played against Huddersfield on 7th Sept 1936, resulted in a 12-33 loss. A piece of film, only about a minute and a half duration, exists and the clip is described as, “M/S of the Lord Mayor of Newcastle walking along with other officials to open first rugby league game. M/S as he runs a flag up a pole, it says 'Newcastle Rugby League F. C.' M/S as the Newcastle team run out onto the pitch, various shots of the crowd as Huddersfield run out. Various shots of the match, Huddersfield win by 33 points to 12[2]

In their first season, 1936–37 Newcastle finished a lowly 29th out of 30 clubs, with only Featherstone Rovers below them.

In their second and last season, 1937–38 they again finished second bottom 28th and last out of 29 clubs, this time with Bramley below them.

Newcastle Rugby Club left the league at the end of season 1937–38.

An interesting, but unconfirmed, comment on the University of Sunderland website states "and in 1938, Newcastle moved South of the Tyne and played a season of matches at the White City Sports Stadium but did not rejoin the league after World War Two[1]". There is no apparent evidence or verification of this from any other source.

Notable playersEdit

Notable players for Newcastle included; James Cumberbatch, Norman Foster, and Emlyn Jenkins.


Newcastle RLFC played at a stadium also used as a greyhound stadium. This was possibly Brough Park Stadium,[3] which at the time was already home to both greyhound racing and Newcastle Diamonds speedway team.

According to "the Grounds of Rugby League"(Trevor Delaney,1991) Newcastle RLFC played at Brough Park in the 1936/37 season. For 1937/38 the team moved to the new White City Stadium in Gateshead.

Club league recordEdit

The league positions for Newcastle for the 2 full years in which they played semi-professional rugby league are given in the following table:[4]

Season Competition Pos Team Name Pl W D L PW PA Diff Pts % Pts No of teams in league Notes Ref
1936–37 RL 29 Newcastle 38 5 1 32 300 890 -590 11 30
1937–38 RL 28 Newcastle 36 2 4 30 206 750 -544 8 29

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 & resultsEdit

The following are just a few of Newcastle fixtures during the two seasons in which they played (semi) professional Rugby League:[5][6][7][8][9]

Season Date Competition Opponent Venue H/A Result Score Att Notes Ref
1936–37 7 September 1936 RL Huddersfield Home H Lost 12-33 [2]
1936–37 Sat 5 December 1936 RL Hull Home H Won 5-0 [5]
1936–37 Sat 19 December 1936 RL St. Helens Home H Lost 8-15 [8]
1936–37 Sat 6 February 1937 RL Hull The Boulevard A Lost 10-38 [5]
1936–37 Sat 24 April 1937 RL St. Helens Knowsley Rd A Lost 10-41 [8]
1937–38 Sat 2 October 1937 RL Wigan Central Park A Lost 9-51 [7]
1937–38 Sat 16 October 1937 RL Hull Home H Lost 6-27 [5]
1937–38 23 October 1937 RL Widnes Naughton Park A Lost 2-45 2 [9]
1937–38 13 November 1937 RL Widnes Home H Lost 0-15 [9]
1937–38 Sat 11 December 1937 RL Wigan Home H p 1 [7]
1937–38 Sat 26 February 1938 RL Hull The Boulevard A Lost 13-23 [5]
1937–38 Sat 12 March 1938 RL Wigan Home H Lost 3-19 [7]

Notes and CommentsEdit

1 This match was postponed due to frozen pitch. It was eventually replayed on Sat 12 March 1938
2 - Naughton Park was originally known as Lowerhouse Lane. 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.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "North East Rugby League Clubs".
  2. ^ a b Pathe Newsreel (1936). "Newcastle RLFC's opening fixture on film".
  3. ^ "Newcastle Geyhound Stadium". Archived from the original on 2011-09-29.
  4. ^ Jack Winstanley & Malcolm Ryding (1975). John Player Rugby League Yearbook 1975-76. Queen Anne Press.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Hull&Proud Fixtures & Results". Archived from the original on 2012-03-02.
  6. ^ "Warrington Wolves results and archives". Archived from the original on 2011-12-21.
  7. ^ a b c d 324 "Cherry and White" Check |url= value (help).
  8. ^ a b c "Saints Heritage Society".
  9. ^ a b c "Widnes Seasons in Review".

External linksEdit