History of Rugby League in Castleford

All things related to the Castleford Tigers.
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Ken Smith
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History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by Ken Smith » Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:46 pm

As most of you probably know Rugby League was born at a meeting in the George Hotel, Huddersfield in 1895 after the northern rugby clubs voted to break away from the Rugby Union over the broken-time payments of expenses because many players couldn’t afford to continue missing work to play a wholly amateur game without some recompense. Initially it was called the Rugby Northern Union comprising 29 clubs. The new format of Rugby League was played in Castleford from 1896 until 1906 but not by the present club. Manningham were the first Champions though there had been 13 different Champions before the present Castleford club were admitted to the League in 1926 with only Oldham, Wigan and Huddersfield becoming Champions more than twice. There were 16 different Challenge Cup winners during that time with only Huddersfield and Leeds winning the trophy more than twice.

As expected Castleford made a poor start in their 1st Season finishing bottom of the League losing all their 18 away matches and winning only 5 of their home matches, the first being 37-25 against Bradford Northern on the 18th September. They did beat Leeds also 10-9 on the 4th December. The following season showed some improvement with Cas finishing 25th and winning twice away from home 15-0 at Bramley and 5-2 at Dewsbury. They actually won 7 home matches as opposed to 6 defeats with 3 drawn. They even reached the 3rd Round of the Challenge Cup beating Salford away 7-3 and Featherstone at home 3-0 before losing to the eventual League Champions Swinton 0-3 at home.

The following season 1928/29 Cas finished 21st with 26 points from their 34 matches. They also reached the Semifinal of the Yorkshire Cup having defeated Keighley 19-4 at home and York away 8-0 before losing at Featherstone 6-10. They also once reached the Semifinal of the Challenge Cup by beating non-league Whitehaven Recreation 31-7 at home, then sensationally League Champions elect Huddersfield 8-0 also at home. They then beat Wigan Highfield 8-0 at home but then lost 3-9 to Dewsbury at Huddersfield. The 1929/30 season though saw Cas drop to 26th with only 22 points from their 36 matches. It was not unusual for clubs to play 3 matches over 4 days at Christmas, and after losing 4-11 at home to Featherstone on Christmas Day, Cas lost 3-7 at Hunslet on Boxing Day, but beat League Champions elect St.Helens 5-0 at home only two days later.

Cas finished 20th in 1930/31 with 30 points from their 38 matches, although they did the double over Featherstone 7-0 at home on Christmas Day where they actually played 3 matches in 3 days, and 22-6 away on Good Friday where they played 3 matches in 4 days. It was certainly a gruelling time for part-time players in those days.The following season Cas finished 22nd with 29 points from their 38 matches losing all their away matches except for a draw at Hull on Easter Monday. On the bright side though Cas only lost 5 home matches and they did once again reach the Quarterfinal of the Challenge Cup beating Featherstone 6-2 at home and St.Helens Recreation 11-8 away. Note that there were two clubs from St.Helens and Wigan in those days. After beating Recreation, Cas beat second placed St.Helens 5-0 at home in a League match, but a week later lost 2-10 at home to Swinton in the Cup.

Now if the first 6 seasons in the League sounds depressing, the next 7 years showed a vast improvement, and I’ll review those tomorrow.

Ken Smith
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Re: History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by Ken Smith » Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:55 pm

Amended for you - Casmania

nottinghamtiger
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Re: History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by nottinghamtiger » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:07 am

Please, just keep the following instalments in the same thread.

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yorky
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Re: History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by yorky » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:30 am

great post & looking forward to the rest.

cogito ergo sum
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Re: History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by cogito ergo sum » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:33 am

By coincidence, I watched a YouTube feature last night, the history of Castleford Rugby League. Lots of archive footage and photographs. Lasts about 20 mins.

flow
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Re: History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by flow » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:08 am

Be interesting to compare attedances back in day

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old cas lass
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Re: History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by old cas lass » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:15 am

flow wrote:Be interesting to compare attedances back in day
Back in the day in the 60’s and 70’s we were getting around 2000. Now and again it would rise.
I can remember standing in the WRE with a ton of space around me. I think we started building fan base after the challenge cup wins. If my memory serves me right.

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Exiled
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Re: History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by Exiled » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:12 pm

Is this taken from one of the John Davis books?

Ken Smith
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Re: History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by Ken Smith » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:21 pm

The 1932/33 season was one of two halves. Although Cas won their first League game away to Huddersfield 7-2 they lost their next 3 before beating Huddersfield again 14-10. They received a bye in the First Round of the Yorkshire Cup, so by beating Bradford Northern 26-9 at home in the next round found themselves with a Semifinal tie at Headingley which unfortunately they lost 2-9 to the Loiners. By early December after losing at home to St.Helens 7-10 they had already lost 11 of their first 15 matches. The transformation started with a 4-4 draw at York as Cas went on an unbeaten League run of a further 17 matches including another 3 draws. The tough Christmas programme of 3 matches in 4 days produced another draw at Bramley, a 13-0 home win over Featherstone and a 9-6 win at Oldham. Further draws against York and at Keighley was followed by 9 successive League wins until Good Friday when they completed the double over Featherstone with a resounding 25-0 win. Despite losing a close encounter the following day 7-8 at Leigh, on Easter Monday they extracted revenge over Leeds 12-10 and won their next 2 matches against Hunslet and Batley before losing heavily at St. Helens 5-39 in their final match. However Cas finished 8th, their highest position thus far with 46 points from their 38 matches.

The following season saw a reverse of the previous one, for after winning 14 of their opening 22 matches Cas managed only 3 wins and a draw from their remaining 16.They were also beaten in the Second Round of both the Yorkshire Cup and the Challenge Cup.They did manage to beat Featherstone home and away, but that was little comfort as Fev finished bottom. Cas also beat Wakefield at home 15-3 and drew 13-13 away to them, but Trinity also had a bad season finishing 22nd to Cas’s 16th with 35 points from 38 matches.

The 1934/35 season Cas showed a big improvement in their League form winning 20 and drawing 3 of their 38 matches. They again did the double over Featherstone but it was their Cup form that will be remembered. In the Yorkshire Cup they beat Bradford Northern away 16-13 in a replay after a 9-9 draw, then Huddersfield 3-2 at home after a 6-6 draw, but lost at home to Wakefield 0-10 in the Semifinal. However Cas won there first silverware by winning the Challenge Cup. They had been fortunate with their Cup run as they beat non-league opposition in the First Round in the shape of Astley and Tyldesley Collieries who forfeited ground advantage. Having beaten the Collieries 33-4, Cas then beat Liverpool Stanley away 8-2 and Hunslet at home 10-3. The Semifinal was to be played at Swinton against Barrow who had surprisingly beaten favourites Wigan 13-4 in the previous round. Cas won 11-5 and then beat Huddersfield 11-8 at Wembley with tries from wingers Tom Askin and Bernard Cunniffe, and scrum half Les Adams, with captain Arthur Atkinson kicking a goal. Huddersfield having won 5 Challenge Cup Finals and never having lost one were overwhelming favourites, but Cas had already beaten them twice, once in the League and once in the Yorkshire Cup, so were undaunted by the test and finished worthy winners. For the record Cas finished 9th in the League, and were invited to play an exhibition match a week later in Paris against Lyon which they duly won 24-21.

The following season they entertained Lyon in a return exhibition match which they won 18-8 and started their defence of the Challenge Cup by defeating both Rochdale Hornets and Leigh in the first two rounds, but lost 4-5 to Salford in the Quarterfinal. Notable wins in the League included a double over newcomers Acton and Willesden, and another double over bottom placed Featherstone 18-5 and 16-0, plus a double over Wakefield 9-8 and 9-3.They also beat Leeds 31-3 at home on Good Friday as they finished the season in 12th position with 44 points from their 38 matches.

The next 3 years before the Second World War showed that Cas had finally arrived, and I’ll review those in the next few days if possible.

Ken Smith
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Re: History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by Ken Smith » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:14 am

Exiled
I have built up a data base of the history of Cas partly from John Davis’s excellent book, the Challenge Cup results from an old Cas programme circa 1970, and League Tables from Rothmans year books of which I have a large collection. With historical data before I was born that’s the only way I’ve been able to collate the data. From 1969 onwards I’ve been able to collect information from watching Cas thereafter.

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corvusxiii
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Re: History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by corvusxiii » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:06 pm

While you're all here can anyone confirm that the Cas club of 1896 was not the Cas RU club who had jumped to Northern Union but a newly founded operation distinct from the original RU club of 1895 and before. Cheers.
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Ken Smith
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Re: History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by Ken Smith » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:47 pm

Having won the Challenge Cup in 1935 Castleford had at last made made their mark, and the 3 seasons before the War showed a vast improvement in their League position. Having won ten of their first eleven matches, the only defeat being 2- 18 at Broughton Rovers, Cas found themselves in the top two positions.Their most satisfying wins were against local rivals Wakefield 33-13 and Leeds 20-8 both at home. There was some disappointment in losing to Halifax in the 1st Round of the Yorkshire Cup in September, but 4 days later Cas beat the team that were to eventually win the League, Salford 11-7. The return fixture with them in November however was won by Salford 2-0.This was followed by a defeat to the surprise team of the season Liverpool Stanley 7-23 on Merseyside. But Cas recovered to win their next 7 matches right up to Boxing Day. At that time Cas were still riding high with 18 wins from their first 21 League matches.

However the second half of the season saw a drop in form. Having won 10-5 at Bradford on New Year’s Day, Cas lost their unbeaten home record the next day to Wigan 0-7, what’s more Bradford Northern extracted revenge mid-January with a narrow 12-11 win at Wheldon Road. Cas started their Challenge Cup journey at Batley and needed a replay to reach the next round which saw them involved in another replay. Having drawn the home match 5-5 with Wigan, they lost 6-13 at Central Park. In between the two rounds of the Cup, Cas beat Liverpool Stanley 9-8, but suffered their 3rd home defeat to Hull 0-3. Away defeats to Leeds 2-9, Huddersfield 9-28 and Wigan 0-21 put a damper on the season, but Cas did get some revenge over Wigan as they won 13-10 in Lancashire. In the end though Cas had finished their season in 6th place with 52 points from 38 matches, their highest finishing position at that time.

The 1937/38 season also saw Cas lose in the 1st Round of the Yorkshire Cup, this time 6-8 at home to Dewsbury. Hunslet were to finish top of the League that season, yet Cas beat them away 13-3 and 26-10 at home in the first half of the season, but lost away matches at Huddersfield, St.Helens Recreation, Bradford and Hull, all teams that were to finish well below Cas in the League that season, yet they had a fine 14-3 win at Warrington who were riding high at the time. It seemed that Cas reserved their better performances against the better clubs especially away from home. After the Boxing Day fixture with York, Cas had won 14 of their 18 matches and were unbeaten at home. The return fixture on New Year’s Day with Warrington produced a 5-5 draw and Cas remained unbeaten at home in the League until mid-March with 13 wins and a draw in their 14 matches. The team to end that run was Dewsbury, their 3rd defeat to a team who had finished the previous season second from bottom.

After a 9-2 win at Wakefield, Cas had started their Challenge Cup campaign with home wins over Newcastle 18-9 and St.Helens 18-2 prior to that Dewsbury home defeat, and were awarded another home match in the Quarterfinal of the Challenge Cup, this time against Halifax. The match needed a replay, but Cas lost it 7-11. Usually after a Cup defeat a team struggles to win its next match, but Cas were to record their second biggest win of the season at home to Wigan 32-2. Thereafter though Cas’s season rather imploded with defeats at Keighley and Batley, plus double defeats against Leeds as Cas finished 7th in the League with 47 points from 36 matches.

The last season before the war was an excellent one, by far the best one at that time and certainly one of the best in the League until 2017. Again though Cas lost in the 1st Round of the Yorkshire Cup this time away to Hull KR and even more disappointingly 3-10 at Oldham in the 1st Round of the Challenge Cup. The League campaign started reasonably well with 6 wins from the first 7 matches, the one defeat being a 7-8 at Barrow. However it included home wins over Swinton 12-9, Wigan 15-13, Hull 9-4 and Warrington 12-8, all teams that were to finish in the top 9 at the season’s end. There was a stutter mid-season with away defeats at Salford, Batley and Keighley, plus a home draw against Bramley and a home defeat to Barrow, but Cas then went on a storming run to the season’s end with 20 wins, 2 draws and only 3 defeats in their remaining 25 League fixtures. The run included 3 wins in 4 days at Christmas against Huddersfield 22-0, Keighley 6-2 and at York 16-7.

Cas lost at Swinton, Wigan and Leeds, the latter 0-8 on Good Friday but extracted revenge on Easter Monday against the Loiners 20-11 at home. It was a trying time that Easter with 4 matches in 5 days, and Cas did well to win 11-8 on Easter Saturday and can be excused to only draw on the day after Easter Monday at home to Hunslet. However Cas recovered to win 19-0 at Huddersfield 4 days later. One can hardly imagine how tired the players must have been and remember there were no interchanges in those days. Cas then won their final League match of the season against Bradford Northern 16-5.
The season thus ended with Cas in 2nd place on 61 points from an astonishing 40 matches, only two points behind Salford, but two points ahead of Halifax. Cas thus went into the 4 match Championship Semifinal Playoff with a home tie against Halifax, and bearing in mind that they had only lost once at Wheldon Road all season, must have felt fairly confident of reaching the Final. It was to be the only meeting of the two clubs that season as Halifax played most of their matches over the other side of the Pennines. Cas didn’t disappoint their fans with a 21-4 win and became the Yorkshire League Winners for the second time, whilst Salford being the Lancashire League Winners for the fifth time beat Huddersfield 15-0. The following week Halifax won the Challenge Cup Final against Salford 20-3, so logic might suggest that Cas might have been favourites for the Championship Playoff Final to be played at Maine Road, Manchester the following week.Unfortunately Cas lost a close encounter 6-8.

The following season there was no official Rugby League Championship, but separate War Emergency Leagues in Yorkshire and Lancashire. Cas competed in only 4 of those 6 seasons as many players guested for clubs nearer their postings and I’ll briefly review those seasons later.

Ken Smith
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Re: History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by Ken Smith » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:06 pm

Casmania
I’ve just continued the review of The History of Rugby League in Castleford from 1939 to 1945 but it seems to have got lost somewhere. Is there anyway you are able to find it?

Casmania
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Re: History of Rugby League in Castleford

Post by Casmania » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:45 pm

I can't see anything other than the above.

I would suggest putting any future lengthy post into - say a word document. Then copying and pasting into the thread. That way you will always have a copy if the post doesn't submit correctly.
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