Championship Cup

Championship Cup
Northern Rail Cup
Current season or competition:
2011 National League Cup
Northern Rail Cup logo
Sport Rugby league football
Instituted 2002
Number of teams 26
Country  England
Holders Leigh Centurions (2011)

The Championship Cup, known as the Northern Rail Cup due to sponsorship by Northern Rail, is a rugby league football competition for clubs in the United Kingdom's Championship and Championship 1 leagues, formerly known as the Rugby League National Leagues. (The one French club in the Championship, Toulouse Olympique, does not participate in the cup at present.) The competition was founded in 2002, with Northern Rail buying the naming rights in 2005.



The Trans-Pennine Cup was a short-lived competition for professional British rugby league clubs outside Super League. It was played for during the period in which all non-Super League professional clubs were grouped into a single competition, the Northern Ford Premiership.

As part of the redevelopment of the Northern Ford Premiership competition; the National League cup was first held in 2002. It was known as the Buddies Cup, after its sponsors, a soft drinks manufacturer. Eighteen teams took part divided into three groups of six (East, West and Central).

The Northern Ford Premiership was replaced by National Leagues One and Two in 2003. The competition was known as the Arriva Trains Cup after sponsors Arriva Trains Northern). The twenty National League teams were divided into four groups (North, East, West and Central) of five teams each, while in 2004 there were five groups (North, East, West, Pennine, Yorkshire) of four teams each.

Northern Rail became the competitions sponsors in 2005 and the name Northern Rail Cup was adopted. Four teams from the then National League Three also entered the competition. There were no cross-group games in the 2005 competition; each team therefore played only six games in the group stages, with the top team from each of the first five groups progressing to the quarter-final directly. The second-placed team in each of these groups, plus the top team from group six (the group of teams from National League 3) played an additional round to determine the remaining three spots in the quarter-finals.

For 2006 there were seven groups. Groups one to six comprised the 22 teams in National Leagues One and Two and the two southern National League Three teams, Hemel Stags and St Albans Centurions. There were four teams in each regional division. The top two teams from groups one to six and the best three third-placed teams qualified for the last sixteen knock out stage along with the winner of group seven. Group seven comprised northern National League Three teams that choose to enter, and included three teams: Bramley Buffaloes, Warrington Wizards and Dewsbury Celtic.

In 2007 the competition adopted a new points system: Win – three points; Draw – two points; Loss by 12 points or fewer - one point. [1]

In 2009, the Northern Rail Nines tournament was started. Teams not involved in the Northern Rail Cup Final will enter a rugby league nines event with the trophy and plate final to be played as curtain raisers to the Northern Rail Cup Final at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool.


Below is a list of National League Cup records[1].

Most tries

  • 5 Paul Salmon (Barrow Raiders) v Workington Town 2002
  • 5 Neil Turley (Leigh Centurions) v Swinton 2003
  • 5 Neil Turley (Leigh Centurions) at Chorley Lynx 2004
  • 5 Jon Steel (Hull K.R.) at London Skolars 2005
  • 5 Byron Ford (Hull K.R.) v York City Knights 2006

Most goals

  • Gareth Moore (Batley Bulldogs RLFC) V Gateshead Thunder 2010 [2]

Most goals in a final

  • 10 John Wilshire (Salford City Reds) v Doncaster 2008 equaling the all time record for goals kicked in any final

Most points

  • 42 (5 tries, 11 goals) Neil Turley (Leigh Centurions) at Chorley Lynx 2004

Highest score

  • Gateshead Thunder 4 v 100 Batley Bulldogs RLFC – 2010 [3]

Highest away score

  • Gateshead Thunder 4 v 100 Batley Bulldogs RLFC – 2010 [4]

Closest score

  • Batley Bulldogs 25 v Widnes Vikings 24 – 2010 [5]

Most Final Appearances (Club)

  • Both Hull KR and Leigh Centurions have contested 4 Championship Cup Finals. Hull KR's 4th Final appearance was in 2006, whilst Leigh Centurions made their 4th appearance in 2011. Hull KR have not entered the competition since 2006 due to their Super League promotion, whilst Leigh Centurions have played the competition every season with the exception of their 2005 season in Super League.

Most Competition Wins (Club)

  • Leigh Centurions have won 3 Championship Cup Finals, from 4 final appearances.

Cup final results

Year Winner Score Runner Up Match Information
Date & Time Referee Venue Attendance
2002 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants 32 – 6 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers Chris Moyles Stadium 4,352
2003 Redscolours.svg Salford City Reds 36 – 19 Leigh colours.svg Leigh Centurions Spotland Stadium 6,486
2004 Leigh colours.svg Leigh 42 – 14 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers Spotland Stadium 4,383
2005 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 18 – 16 Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers Bloomfield Road 9,400
2006 Leigh colours.svg Leigh 22 – 18 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers Bloomfield Road 7,547
2007 Widnes colours.svg Widnes Vikings 54 – 6 Haven colours.svg Whitehaven RLFC Bloomfield Road 8,326
2008 Redscolours.svg Salford City Reds 60 – 0 Doncaster colours.svg Doncaster RLFC Bloomfield Road 6,328
2009 Widnes colours.svg Widnes Vikings 34 - 18 Barrowcolours.svg Barrow Raiders 12 July 2009 at 17:15 Gareth Hewer Bloomfield Road 8,720
2010 Batley colours.svg Batley Bulldogs 25 - 24 Widnes colours.svg Widnes Vikings 18 July 2010 at 16:00 Robert Hicks Bloomfield Road 8,138
2011 Leigh colours.svg Leigh Centurions 20 - 16 Faxcolours.svg Halifax RLFC 17 July 2011 at 17:00 Matt Thomason Bloomfield Road 8,822[6]

Total titles won

Club Winners Runners-up Winning years
Leigh colours.svg Leigh Centurions
2004, 2006, 2011
Widnes colours.svg Widnes Vikings
2007, 2009
Redscolours.svg Salford City Reds
2003, 2008
HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers
Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants
Batley colours.svg Batley Bulldogs

See also

External links


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