BBC2 Floodlit Trophy

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The BBC 2 Floodlit Trophy (also known as the BBC 2 Television Trophy) was a competition for British rugby league clubs held between 1965 and 1980. It was designed specifically for television, and the then director of BBC2, broadcaster David Attenborough, was instrumental in its creation. When the competition was first mooted not many clubs were equipped with floodlights, but the tournament caused no fewer than twenty-one clubs to install them.

Contents

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.

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. [1]

The first season, 1965–66, eight clubs - Castleford, Leeds, Leigh, Oldham, St. Helens, Swinton, Warrington and Widnes took part. [2] Seven of the eight teams had floodlights and Leeds installed theirs the following season.

The four-tackles-then-a-scrum rule [3] 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. [1] In the last final, Hull F.C. beat local rivals Hull Kingston Rovers.

List of finals

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

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1965 was the inaugural season of the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competition. Castleford won the trophy by beating St. Helens with the score of 4-0. The match was played at Knowsley Road, Eccleston, St Helens, Merseyside. The attendance was 11,510 and receipts were £3,548. This was to be the first of Castleford's three victories in successive seasons in the first three Floodlit competitions.

1966 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy

1967 was the third occasion on which the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competition had been held.

1968 was the fourth occasion on which the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competition had been held.
This year was a new name on the trophy after Castleford's three year winning streak came to an end.
Wigan won the trophy by beating St. Helens by the score of 7-4
The match was played at Central Park, Wigan,. The attendance was 13,479 and receipts were £3,291
This was to be Wigan's only success in the competition.

1969 was the fifth occasion on which the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competition had been held.
This year was another new name on the trophy after the 1969 runner-up defeated the reigning cup-holders
Leigh won the trophy by beating Wigan by the score of 11-6
The match was played at Central Park, Wigan,. The attendance was 12,312 and receipts were £2,854
This was to be Wigan's last appearance in the final of the competition.

1970 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy

1971 was the seventh occasion on which the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competition had been held.
This year was another new name on the trophy
St. Helens won the trophy by beating Rochdale Hornets by the score of 8-2
The match was played at Knowsley Road, Eccleston, St Helens, Merseyside. The attendance was 9,255 and receipts were £2,493
This was St. Helens first victory after being runner-up in three of the previous six finals

1972 was the eighth occasion on which the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competition had been held.
This year was another new name on the trophy
Leigh won the trophy by beating Widnes by the score of 5-0
The match was played at Central Park, Wigan,. The attendance was 4,691 and receipts were £1,391
This was Leigh's first victory after being runner-up in two of the previous finals

1973 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy was the ninth occasion on which the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competition had been held.

1974 was the tenth occasion on which the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competition had been held. A new name was put on the trophy when Salford won by beating Warrington by the score of 10-5 in a replay. The final was played at The Willows, Salford,. The attendance was 4,473, receipts were £1913 and the score 0-0. The replay was at Wilderspool. The attendance was 5,778, receipts were £2434 and the score 10-5. This was the first floodlit final to require a replay after a drawn first match.

1975 was the eleventh occasion on which the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competition had been held.

1976 was the twelfth occasion on which the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competition had been held.

The 1977 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy was the thirteenth occasion on which the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competition had been held. This year there was another new name added when Hull Kingston Rovers won the trophy by beating St. Helens in the final by the score of 26-11. The match was played at Craven Park (1), in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire. The attendance was 10,099, and the receipts were £6,586.

1979 was the fifteenth occasion on which the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competition had been held.
This year, for the last time, a new name appeared on the trophy when Hull F.C. won the trophy by beating Hull Kingston Rovers by the score of 13-3
The match was played at Boulevard, in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire. The attendance was 18,500, and the receipts were £16,605
The attendance was a record for a BBC2 Floodlit Trophy, never to be beaten

References

  1. 1 2 Collins, Tony (2006). Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain: A Social and Cultural History. London: Routledge. ISBN   9781134221455.
  2. Dawson, Neil. "BBC Floodlit Trophy". wire2wolves.com. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  3. Fagan, Sean (10 February 2011). "Rugby League Helter Skelter". Tribe13. Archived from the original on 17 May 2011.