Rugby League Challenge Cup | History

rugby league challenge cup

The rugby league challenge cup is most endearing competition in England. This prestigious competition is opening in 1897.The challenge cup is known as the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and is the only knock-out tournament of its kind to include teams from all levels of the sport organized by the Rugby Football League. This historical cup is a truly family-friendly event for its fans. The tournament has batten to become Rugby League’s annual show-piece and one of Britain’s most popular sporting events. Rugby League fans come together from all over the country to watch the game at the top event of the Summer.


It is an eight-month long competition that starts out featuring many grassroots clubs and highest stage with the viewable Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, London. Held every year since 1896, without of 1915–1919 and 1939–1940 session. It includes amateur, semi-professional and professional clubs. The Rugby League Challenge Cup Final not only attracts fans and followers from both conflicting finalists but the whole Rugby League community. The first tournament was held during the 1896-1897 season, and 56 clubs played for the championship trophy.


The first challenge cup final was held at Headingley in Leeds, on 24 April 1897. Batley beat St. Helens 10–3, in front of a viewer of 13,492. It is interesting to remark that the St Helens side did not play in a standardized team jersey.  The contest was later obstructed by the Great War,  The season was completed before ending the first world war, and then It was  Stopped until the end of Warfare. The rugby league authorities Voted 13-10 to move to the New Wembley Stadium in London, inquiring to simulate the FA Cup’s success and to put the game on the national stage


After removing to Wembley stadium, The first Rugby League Challenge Cup final held at Wembley stadium was in 1929, when Wigan defeated Dewsbury 13–2 in front of a crowd of 41,500.  At the beginning of the Second World War, rugby league stopped its season instantly, but the Rugby League Challenge Cup took a one year’s break before restarting. In 1946, the Lance Todd Trophy was initiated and awarded to the man of the match.

The first victory was Billy Stott of Wakefield Trinity club and the first winner of the trophy for the losing team was Frank Whitcombe of Bradford Northern club in 1948. In itself, it is a prestigious trophy presented only at the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final. Until the 1993–94 season, there were very several amateur clubs included in the rugby challenge cup, especially two. In part of the 1980s, and the 1992–93 season the cup was only for professional clubs.

The Challenge Cup final took place at Wembley stadium for teams knocked out in the early rounds of the competition in 1997, and Hull Kingston Rovers defeated Hunslet 60-14. St. Helens was the first player in the history of the Challenge Cup to collect a third Lance Todd trophy following his man-of-the-match performance in the final against Huddersfield in 2006, and his other Lance Todd trophy wins came in the 2001 and 2004 Challenge Cup Finals.

The Present holder of the rugby league Challenge Cup is Hull, who beat Wigan 18-14 on 26 August 2017 at Wembley, to continue the holder trophy they won at the Wembley Stadium the previous year.