1895 Cup
Current season or competition:
2024 RFL 1895 Cup
SportRugby league
Formerly known asChampionship Cup
Instituted2019; 5 years ago (2019)
Inaugural season2019
Number of teams5
Nations England
 Wales
Holders Halifax Panthers (2023)
Most titles Featherstone Rovers
Sheffield Eagles
Leigh Centurions
Halifax Panthers
(1 title)
Broadcast partnerBBC (Final only)
Related competitionChampionship
League 1

The Rugby Football League 1895 Cup is an annual rugby league knockout tournament for clubs in the RFL Championship.

History and Format

There have been many cup competitions for the lower leagues of rugby league. In 2002 the Championship Cup was founded for Championship and League 1 clubs to compete in along with the Challenge Cup, with the aim to give the lower league clubs a competition they can realistically win. The Championship Cup folded in 2013 in anticipation for the 2015 league restructuring. There was no replacement for Championship clubs, though the League 1 Cup ran from 2015-2017 for teams from that league.

2019 tournament

The new competition, named in honour of the founding of the Northern Union in 1895, was put to the Championship and League 1 clubs 1895, to start in the 2019 season. [1][2] The inaugural 2019 tournament involved a qualifying first round for the eight League 1 clubs which entered, followed by a straight knock-out when the winners of that round joined the twelve Championship sides to make a last-16. The final was played at Wembley on 24 August immediately after the 2019 Challenge Cup final.[3][4]

Covid-19 era

However, this format lasted only one season as the 2020 competition did not take place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.[5] With Covid-19 still affecting the 2021 season, a new format which merged the early rounds of the tournament with the Challenge Cup was approved. In 2021, the four sides which progressed from the second round of the Challenge Cup also qualified for the 1895 Cup semi-finals.[6] An adapted version of this format was played in 2022 and 2023, to reflect the re-expansion of the Challenge Cup after Covid. In this version, the five qualifiers - including any amateur teams - from the fifth round of the Challenge Cup would qualify for the 1895 Cup. Any teams who reached the sixth round of the Challenge Cup would qualify directly to the semi-finals of the 1895 Cup, with two of the remaining qualified teams drawn into a play-off round before the semi-final stage.[7]

2024 format

A refreshed format for the 2024 Cup separated it back out from Challenge Cup, as the need to limit games post-Covid was reduced. This format introduced a group stage, into which thirteen Championship and eight League 1 clubs entered.[8] The group stage consists of seven groups of three, with winners and the best performing runners-up qualifying for the knock-out competition from the quarter-final stage.[9]

Results

Season Winners Score Runners-up Venue Attendance[a]
2019 Sheffield Eagles 36–18 Widnes Vikings Wembley Stadium 62,717
2020 Competition cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2021 Featherstone Rovers 41–34 York City Knights Wembley Stadium 40,000[b]
2022 Leigh Centurions 30-16 Featherstone Rovers Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 4,350
2023 Halifax Panthers 12-10 Batley Bulldogs Wembley Stadium

Team performance

Team Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
Featherstone Rovers 1 1 2021 2022
Halifax Panthers 1 0 2023 N/A
Leigh Centurions 1 0 2022 N/A
Sheffield Eagles 1 0 2019
Batley Bulldogs 0 1 2023
Widnes Vikings 0 1 2019
York City Knights 0 1 2021

Sponsors

In June 2019 it was announced that the cup would be sponsored by AB Sundecks, owned by former Leigh Centurions chairman Derek Beaumont.[10]


Notes

  1. ^ Attendance not separately recorded to that of the Challenge Cup Final
  2. ^ Attendance limited to half capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic

References

  1. ^ "RFL to introduce 1895 Cup as part of new-look Challenge Cup final day". 13 November 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  2. ^ "1895 Cup will ignite Wembley dream – Rimmer". RL News. 13 November 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  3. ^ "1895 Cup entrants and details announced". 20 December 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  4. ^ "RFL defend decision to play 1895 final after main game". League Weekly. No. 869. 18 March 2019. p. 21.
  5. ^ "Betfred Championship and League 1, and AB Sundecks 1895 Cup | Update". www.rugby-league.com. 6 September 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  6. ^ "Championship, L1 and Cups structure confirmed". Serious About Rugby League. 23 December 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  7. ^ Ibbetson, Stephen (28 February 2022). "Everything you need to know about the Challenge Cup fifth-round draw". Total Rugby League. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  8. ^ Olawumi, Ben. "Cornwall chief explains withdrawal from 1895 Cup, admits 'preference would have been to take part'". Love Rugby League. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  9. ^ Olawumi, Ben. "1895 Cup groups and fixtures revealed as tournament gears up for new format in 2024". Love Rugby League. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  10. ^ "Beaumont backs 1895 Cup as new title partner". 31 May 2019. Retrieved 9 June 2019.