The Yorkshire League and the Lancashire League formed two sections of the Rugby Football League Championship for much of its history. Initially, the 22 clubs that broke away in 1895 played in one combined league; however, the following season saw the addition of many clubs, and the League was split into two separate county competitions.


This situation endured until 1901–02, when the top teams in each league resigned and formed a new combined first division. The following season, the remaining clubs formed a second division. From then until 1907, when there was another re-organisation, the county leagues were not played.

The new structure initiated for the 1907–08 season saw the clubs playing every other team in their own county home and away, and playing once each against the clubs from the other county. Results from all games counted towards the Rugby Football League Championship, whilst results within the county counted towards the respective county leagues.

The championship often included teams from outside the Yorkshire and Lancashire heartlands; these were allocated to a county league on a practical basis. Briefly, in the 1908–09 season, there were enough clubs from Wales to add a third Welsh League to the structure. The sole winner of this title was Merthyr Tydfil.

The Yorkshire and Lancashire Leagues were abandoned in 1970.

Lancashire League

Lancashire League
SportRugby league
Number of teams16
Country England
Last winners Wigan (18th title)
Most titles Wigan (18 titles)

See also: Rugby league in Lancashire

The RFL Lancashire League was an annual competition from 1895 to 1970 for professional rugby league teams in Lancashire. Other teams from Cheshire and Cumbria also competed in the league. During the period 1896–1901 the county leagues were played as there was no national league championship during this period. After they were played alongside the RFL Championship until 1970. Teams also competed in the Lancashire Cup.

To keep the number of teams equal in both county leagues, clubs from Yorkshire were often invited to play in the Lancashire League. Halifax joined the Lancashire League in 1930,[1] remaining there until the start of the Second World War. Following the demise of Belle Vue Rangers in 1955, it was initially decided that the Yorkshire League champions would compete in the Lancashire League during the following season,[2] but clubs were later elected into the league on a voluntary basis instead.[3]


Wins by club

Winners Count Years
1 Leeds 15 1901–02, 1927–28, 1930–31, 1934–35, 1935–36, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1950–51, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1960–61, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70
2 Huddersfield 11 1911–12, 1912–13, 1914–15, 1915–16, 1919–29, 1921–22, 1928–29, 1929–30, 1948–49, 1949–50, 1951–52,
3 Wakefield Trinity 7 1909–10, 1910–11, 1945–46, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1961–62, 1965–66
4 Halifax 6 1908–09, 1920–21, 1952–53, 1953–54, 1955–56, 1957–58
5 Hull 4 1918–19, 1922–23, 1926–27, 1935–36
6 Hunslet 3 1897–98, 1907–08, 1931–32
7 Castleford 3 1932–33, 1938–39, 1964–65
8 Batley 2 1898–99, 1923–24
9 Hull Kingston Rovers 2 1924–25, 1925–26
10 Bradford FC 2 1899–1900, 1900–01
11 Manningham 1 1895–96
12 Bradford Northern 1 1947–48


  1. ^ "Halifax a Lancashire Club in New Fixture Scheme". The Manchester Guardian. 15 May 1930. p. 5. ProQuest 478035335.
  2. ^ Mather, Harold (24 April 1956). "League To Remain As One Division". The Manchester Guardian. p. 18. ProQuest 479897046.
  3. ^ "Two Divisions Plan Again Rejected". The Manchester Guardian. 15 April 1958. p. 3. ProQuest 480268916.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j During the period 1896–1901 the county leagues were titled senior competitions. There was no national league championship during this period.
  5. ^ a b For the 1901–02 season the top teams from each senior competition resigned to form a single league championship. The lower clubs continued to contest separate county leagues for that year only.
  6. ^ a b c d During the 1962–63 and 1963–64 seasons, the RFL reverted to a two division structure. The county leagues were suspended and replaced with the Western and Eastern Divisional Championships.