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The Rugby Football League Championship was the major professional competition organized 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 In 1996 it was superseded by the Super League and the Rugby League National Leagues.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.
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-organized 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 organized 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 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.
|Season||Champions ||Titles||Decided by||Source|
|1896–01||Separate county leagues||N/A||N/A|
|1903–04||Bradford FC||1||League (play-off)|
|1915–19||No competition due to World War I||N/A||N/A|
|1922–23||Hull Kingston Rovers||1||Play-off|
|1924–25||Hull Kingston Rovers||2||Play-off|
|1939–45||War Emergency League during World War II||N/A||N/A|
|1978–79||Hull Kingston Rovers||3||League|
|1983–84||Hull Kingston Rovers||4||League|
|1984–85||Hull Kingston Rovers||5||League|
Note Bold donates club winning Challenge Cup in the same season; thus completing the Championship and Challenge Cup 'Double'.
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 Tigers, Catalans Dragons, 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 (WWII) Rugby Football League Championship wins are; Batley (1), Bradford FC (now the Association football club Bradford Park Avenue A.F.C.) (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).
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.
|1||Wigan||19||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|
|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||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 KR||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|
|15||Wakefield Trinity||2||1966/67, 1967/68|
Note. In the event of a tie, the team that won x amount of titles first is given preference.
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.
|1||Wigan||6||1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95|
|2||St Helens||3||1965/66, 1996, 2006|
Note. In the event of a tie, the team that won x amount of 'Doubles' first is given preference.
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