BBC2 Floodlit Trophy
SportRugby league
Country United Kingdom (RFL)
Last winnersHull (1979)
Most titlesCastleford (4 titles)
Broadcast partnerBBC TV

The BBC2 Floodlit Trophy (also known as the BBC2 Television Trophy) was an annual knockout competition for British rugby league clubs. Organised by the Rugby Football League (RFL), the competition was open to all professional clubs with floodlights installed.

First held in 1965–66, games were typically played during the middle of the week, and were broadcast on BBC television. Eight teams competed during the first season, but the tournament was quickly expanded as more teams erected floodlights at their grounds.

The competition's most successful club was Castleford, who won the trophy four times, including the inaugural tournament. The last staging of the competition was in 1979–80, won by Hull, before the competition was cancelled due to financial cutbacks by the BBC.


The tournament was not Rugby League's first foray into evening television; the 1955–56 season saw a tournament titled the Independent Television Floodlit Trophy. Eight clubs participated in a series of games played at football grounds in the London area, with Warrington eventually running out 43–18 victors over Leigh.

In 1965, the rugby league management committee agreed to the televising of a mid-week floodlit competition consisting of eight teams,[1] with director of BBC2, broadcaster David Attenborough, being instrumental in its creation. When the competition was first mooted only a few grounds were equipped with floodlights, but the tournament prompted several clubs to apply for loans from the Rugby Football League to install them.[2] The tournament was intended to coincide with the launch of BBC2 in the North of England.[3]

The tournament was played during the early part of the season. Each week, one match would be played under floodlights on a Tuesday evening; the second half of this match that would be broadcast live on BBC2. Non-televised matches were played at various times, depending on clubs' commitments in more prestigious tournaments. Despite the title many matches did not take place under floodlights; clubs such as Barrow and Bramley (for example) did not possess adequate lighting.[4]

The first season, 1965–66, eight clubs - Castleford, Leeds, Leigh, Oldham, St. Helens, Swinton, Warrington and Widnes took part.[5] Seven of the eight teams had floodlights and Leeds installed theirs the following season.

The four-tackles-then-a-scrum rule[6] was first introduced in the competition's second season, in October 1966, before being implemented in all competitions by December.

Castleford won the trophy in the first season, 1965–66 and won the trophy the most times, on three more occasions 1966–67, 1967–68 and 1976–77.

Despite disagreements over shirt sponsorship in the early 1970s, Rugby League remained a mainstay of BBC Television during the 1970s, and 1980s, although the commitment to the Floodlit Trophy decreased before financial cutbacks at the BBC lead to its cancellation after the 1979–80 competition.[4] In the last final, Hull F.C. beat local rivals Hull Kingston Rovers.

List of finals

Year Season Winners Score Runner-up Venue Date
1965 1965–66 season Castleford 4–0 St. Helens Knowsley Road, St. Helens Tuesday, 14 December 1965
1966 1966–67 season Castleford 7–2 Swinton Wheldon Road, Castleford Tuesday, 20 December 1966
1967 1967–68 season Castleford 8–5 Leigh Headingley, Leeds Saturday, 16 January 1968
1968 1968–69 season Wigan 7–4 St. Helens Central Park, Wigan Tuesday, 17 December 1968
1969 1969–70 season Leigh 11–6 Wigan Central Park, Wigan Tuesday, 16 December 1969
1970 1970–71 season Leeds 9–5 St. Helens Headingley, Leeds Tuesday, 15 December 1970
1971 1971–72 season St. Helens 8–2 Rochdale Hornets Knowsley Road, St. Helens Tuesday, 14 December 1971
1972 1972–73 season Leigh 5–0 Widnes Central Park, Wigan Tuesday, 19 December 1972
1973 1973–74 season Bramley 15–7 Widnes Naughton Park, Widnes Tuesday, 18 December 1973
1974 1974–75 season Salford 0–0 Warrington The Willows, Salford Tuesday, 17 December 1974
(replay) Salford 10–5 Warrington Wilderspool, Warrington Tuesday, 28 January 1975
1975 1975–76 season St. Helens 22–2 Dewsbury Knowsley Road, St. Helens Tuesday, 16 December 1975
1976 1976–77 season Castleford 12–4 Leigh Hilton Park, Leigh Tuesday, 14 December 1976
1977 1977–78 season Hull Kingston Rovers 26–11 St. Helens Craven Park, Hull Tuesday, 13 December 1977
1978 1978–79 season Widnes 13–7 St. Helens Knowsley Road, St. Helens Tuesday, 12 December 1978
1979 1979–80 season Hull F.C. 13–3 Hull Kingston Rovers The Boulevard, Hull Tuesday, 18 December 1979

Wins by club

Club Wins Winning years
1 Castleford 4 1965, 1966, 1967, 1976
2= Leigh 2 1969, 1972
St Helens 2 1971, 1975
4= Bramley 1 1973
Hull 1 1979
Hull Kingston Rovers 1 1977
Leeds 1 1970
Salford 1 1974
Widnes 1 1978
Wigan 1 1968


  1. ^ "Hicks will miss semifinal". The Guardian. London. 14 May 1965. p. 17. ProQuest 185064716.
  2. ^ "Two men can now be replaced". Liverpool Daily Post. 22 June 1965. p. 11 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  3. ^ "Northern viewers will get 'real choice' with BBC-2". The Guardian. London. 6 August 1965. p. 3. ProQuest 185085748.
  4. ^ a b Collins, Tony (2006). Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain: A Social and Cultural History. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781134221455.
  5. ^ Dawson, Neil. "BBC Floodlit Trophy". Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  6. ^ Fagan, Sean (10 February 2011). "Rugby League Helter Skelter". Tribe13. Archived from the original on 17 May 2011.