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Rugby Football League Championship First Division

The Rugby Football League Championship First Division was the top division of rugby league in England between 1895 and 1996, when it was replaced by the Super League.

RFL Championship
SportRugby league
Inaugural season1895–96
Ceased1996
Replaced bySuper League
HoldersWigancolours.svg Wigan
Most titlesWigancolours.svg Wigan (22 titles)
Relegation toRFL Second Division

HistoryEdit

1895–1904: FoundationsEdit

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.

1905–1970: RestructureEdit

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-offs were expanded to the top 16 teams and the Harry Sunderland Trophy was introduced as the man-of-the-match award for the decider.

1970–1995: Premiership and reintroducing Second DivisionEdit

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 however the team finishing top of the Championship were crowned champions. During this period in the late 1980s and early 1990s Wigan dominated both the Championship and Challenge Cup.

1996–present: Super LeagueEdit

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

ChampionsEdit

Season
Champions Score Runners-up
1895–96 Manningham
N/A
  Halifax
1896–97
County Leagues
1897–98
County Leagues
1898–99
County Leagues
1899–00
County Leagues
1900–01
County Leagues
1901–02 Broughton Rangers
N/A
  Salford
1902–03   Halifax   Salford
1903–04 Bradford F.C.   Salford
1904–05   Oldham Bradford F.C.
1905–06   Leigh   Hunslet
1906–07   Halifax 18–3   Oldham
1907–08   Hunslet 12–7   Oldham
1908–09   Wigan 7–3   Oldham
1909–10   Oldham 13–7   Wigan
1910–11   Oldham 20–7   Wigan
1911–12   Huddersfield 13–5   Wigan
1912–13   Huddersfield 29–2   Wigan
1913–14   Salford 5–3   Huddersfield
1914–15   Huddersfield 35–2   Leeds
1918–19
County Leagues
1919–20   Hull F.C. 3–2   Huddersfield
1920–21   Hull F.C. 16–14   Hull Kingston Rovers
1921–22   Wigan 13–2   Oldham
1922–23   Hull Kingston Rovers 15–5   Huddersfield
1923–24   Batley 13–7   Wigan
1924–25   Hull Kingston Rovers 9–5   Swinton
1925–26   Wigan 22–10   Warrington
1926–27   Swinton 13–8 St Helens Recs
1927–28   Swinton 11–0   Featherstone Rovers
1928–29   Huddersfield 2–0   Leeds
1929–30   Huddersfield 10–0   Leeds
1930–31   Swinton 14–7   Leeds
1931–32   St. Helens 9–5   Huddersfield
1932–33   Salford 15–5   Swinton
1933–34   Wigan 15–3   Salford
1934–35   Swinton 14–3   Warrington
1935–36   Hull F.C. 21–2   Widnes
1936–37   Salford 13–11   Warrington
1937–38   Hunslet 8–2   Leeds
1938–39   Salford 8–6   Castleford
1939–40
County Leagues
1940–41
County Leagues
1941–42
Wartime Emergency League
1942–43
Wartime Emergency League
1943–44
Wartime Emergency League
1944–45
Wartime Emergency League
1945–46   Wigan
N/A
  Huddersfield
1946–47   Wigan   Dewsbury
1947–48   Warrington 15–5   Bradford Northern
1948–49   Huddersfield 13–12   Warrington
1949–50   Wigan 20–2   Huddersfield
1950–51   Workington Town 26–11   Warrington
1951–52   Wigan 13–6   Bradford Northern
1952–53   St. Helens 24–14   Halifax
1953–54   Warrington 8–7   Halifax
1954–55   Warrington 7–3   Oldham
1955–56   Hull F.C. 10–9   Halifax
1956–57   Oldham 15–14   Hull F.C.
1957–58   Hull F.C. 20–3   Workington Town
1958–59   St. Helens 44–22   Hunslet
1959–60   Wigan 27–3   Wakefield Trinity
1960–61   Leeds 25–10   Warrington
1961–62   Huddersfield 14–5   Wakefield Trinity
1962–63   Swinton N/A   St. Helens
1963–64   Swinton   Wigan
1964–65   Halifax 15–7   St. Helens
1965–66   St. Helens 35–12   Halifax
1966–67   Wakefield Trinity 21-9   St. Helens
1967–68   Wakefield Trinity 17–10   Hull Kingston Rovers
1968–69   Leeds 16–14   Castleford
1969–70   St. Helens 24–12   Leeds
1970–71   St. Helens 16–12   Wigan
1971–72   Leeds 9–5   St. Helens
1972–73   Dewsbury 22–13   Leeds
1973–74   Salford N/A   St. Helens
1974–75   St. Helens   Wigan
1975–76   Salford   Featherstone Rovers
1976–77   Featherstone Rovers   St. Helens
1977–78   Widnes   Bradford Northern
1978–79   Hull Kingston Rovers   Warrington
1979–80   Bradford Northern   Widnes
1980–81   Bradford Northern   Warrington
1981–82   Leigh   Hull F.C.
1982–83   Hull F.C.   Hull Kingston Rovers
1983–84   Hull Kingston Rovers   Hull F.C.
1984–85   Hull Kingston Rovers   St. Helens
1985–86   Halifax   Wigan
1986–87   Wigan   St. Helens
1987–88   Widnes   St. Helens
1988–89   Widnes   Wigan
1989–90   Wigan   Leeds
1990–91   Wigan   Widnes
1991–92   Wigan   St. Helens
1992–93   Wigan   St. Helens
1993–94   Wigan   Bradford Northern
1994–95   Wigan   Leeds
1995–96   Wigan   Leeds

Winning records by clubEdit

Club Winners Winning seasons
1   Wigan 17 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
2   Huddersfield 7 1911/12, 1912/13, 1914/15, 1928/29, 1929/30, 1948/49, 1961/62
3   St. Helens 7 1931/32, 1952/53, 1958/59, 1965/66, 1969/70, 1970/71, 1974/75
4   Swinton 6 1926/27, 1927/28, 1930/31, 1934/35, 1962/63, 1963/64
5   Salford 6 1913/14, 1932/33, 1936/37, 1938/39, 1973/74, 1975/76
6   Hull F.C. 6 1919/20, 1920/21, 1935/36, 1955/56, 1957/58, 1982/83
7   Hull Kingston Rovers 5 1922/23, 1924/25, 1978/79, 1983/84, 1984/85
8   Oldham 4 1904/05, 1909/10, 1910/11, 1956/57
9   Halifax 4 1902/03, 1906/07, 1964/65, 1985/86
10   Warrington 3 1947/48, 1953/54, 1954/55
11   Leeds 3 1960/61, 1968/69, 1971/72
12   Widnes 3 1977/78, 1987/88, 1988/89
13   Hunslet § 2 1907/08, 1937/38
14   Wakefield Trinity 2 1966/67, 1967/68
15   Bradford 2 1979/80, 1980/81
16   Leigh 2 1905/06, 1981/82
17 Manningham § 1 1895/96
18 Broughton Rangers § 1 1901/02
19 Bradford F.C. § 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