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1906–07 Northern Rugby Football Union season

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1906–07 Northern Rugby Football Union season

1906–07 Northern Rugby Football Union season
League Northern Rugby League
Number of teams 26
1906–07 Season
Champions Halifax
League Leaders Halifax
Runners-up Oldham
Top point-scorer(s) James Lomas (Salford) 280
Top try-scorer(s) Percy Eccles (Halifax) 41
< 1905–06 Seasons 1907–08 >

The 1906–07 Northern Rugby Football Union season was the twelfth season of rugby league football.

Rule changes

During a meeting held on 12 June 1906 at the George Hotel, Huddersfield, the members of the Northern Union agreed to adopt two rule changes that would distinguish the sport thereafter.[1] The Northern Union, motivated by the need to appeal to spectators to improve the game's finances and ensure its survival, and inspired by the attacking style of rugby displayed by the New Zealand rugby union team during their 1905 tour of Britain, revisited two areas of the game that were the focus of much debate: the optimum number of players per team and how play should continue once a tackle had been completed.[1][2]

  • The play-the-ball rule was introduced.[2] Previously after each tackle had been completed or a player had been "held" the rules mandated that a scrum be ordered by the referee.[2] These scrums had taken up a significant portion of game time and it was felt that the ball was hidden from spectators too often as a result, diminishing the game's entertainment value.[1][2]
The play-the-ball restored the early rugby football principle that play does not carry on when the player is no longer standing, but that a tackle is complete when a player is "held" on the ground or while on their feet.[2] The Yorkshire Post commented on 13 June 1906 that the, "proposals in the name of the Bradford Club, provided in effect for a return to the 'play the ball' rule".[2] In New Zealand, a newspaper column in The Truth on 10 November 1906 while describing the sport to its readers wrote, "the most excellent rule, that was obliterated from the earlier laws of the Union has again been introduced, 'That a player, when collared, must put the ball into play'."[2]
This version of the play-the-ball was used until the 1927–28 season when it was replaced by a 1926 Australian development in which the play-the-ball consisted of two defensive markers, the tackled player and the acting half-back.[2]
  • The Northern Union reduced the number of players on a team from fifteen to thirteen following approval by the clubs of a proposal by Warrington.[2][3] In New Zealand, a newspaper column in The Truth (10 November 1906) describing the sport noted the intention, "to make the game brighter from a spectacular view-point".[2]
There had been support, stronger among northern clubs, for a reduction in the number of players before the 1895 schism but this had not been taken any further because of the Rugby Football Union's threats of sanctions as part of their campaign against professionalism.[1] Since its founding, the NU had trialled games with different numbers of players at various times.[1]
  • If a ball was kicked out of play on the full, a scrum back where it had been kicked from would now be formed.[3]

Season summary

Halifax won their second Championship in this season and Warrington their second Challenge Cup in three years.

This season also saw the introduction of the Championship Play-offs at the end of the season. Similar to the current Grand Final system in today's Super League, it involved the top four clubs playing in two semi finals (1v4, 2v3) and then a final with the winners being declared champions. This system was used until 1961-62.

Liverpool City joined, but Brighouse Rangers, Castleford, Millom, Morecambe, and Normanton withdrew, reducing the competition to 27 teams. Pontefract resigned after 8 matches and their record was struck out. They had won 3 and lost 5, scoring 63 and conceding 154.[4]

Liverpool City became the first of only six teams to record no wins in a league season.Three of the others were in wartime leagues.[5]

Bradford had been playing at the Park Avenue ground until this year. A decision by the Park Avenue Directors to form a professional association football (soccer) club forced Bradford rugby club to reform and relocate at Greenfield Stadium later adding "Northern" to their name.[6]

There was no county league competition this season. Broughton Rangers beat Warrington 15–6 to win the Lancashire Cup, and Bradford F.C. beat Hull Kingston Rovers 8–5 to win the Yorkshire Cup.

New Zealand toured England this season. On 28 December 1907, they defeated Salford 9-2 in front of 9,000 spectators.[7]

Championship

Team Pld W D L PF PA Pts Pct
1 Halifax 34 27 2 5 649 229 56 82.35
2 Oldham 34 26 1 7 457 227 53 77.94
3 Runcorn 30 23 0 7 546 216 46 76.66
4 Keighley 24 17 1 6 431 231 35 72.91
5 Wigan 34 23 1 10 656 278 47 69.11
6 Leeds 30 19 2 9 424 301 40 66.66
7 Hunslet 32 21 0 11 520 354 42 65.62
8 Warrington 34 21 1 12 554 304 43 63.23
9 Broughton Rangers 30 17 1 12 496 235 35 58.33
10 Salford 32 18 0 14 462 349 36 56.25
11 Barrow 26 13 1 12 333 356 27 51.92
12 Widnes 20 9 1 10 221 320 19 47.50
13 Hull Kingston Rovers 32 15 0 17 390 366 30 46.87
14 Dewsbury 28 12 1 15 393 377 25 44.64
15 Leigh 28 12 1 15 318 311 25 44.64
16 Wakefield Trinity 28 12 1 15 348 409 25 44.64
17 Swinton 32 14 0 18 308 380 28 43.75
18 Bradford 30 12 2 16 387 367 26 43.33
19 Huddersfield 32 13 0 19 469 477 26 40.62
20 Rochdale Hornets 26 9 1 16 292 312 19 36.53
21 Batley 24 8 1 15 228 326 17 35.41
22 St Helens 26 9 0 17 374 353 18 34.61
23 Hull 32 11 0 21 337 515 22 34.37
24 York 24 5 0 19 217 514 10 20.83
25 Bramley 20 1 0 19 85 466 2 5.00
26 Liverpool City 30 0 0 30 76 1398 0 0.00
 

Champions

 

Play-offs

Championship Play-Off

Semi-finals Championship Final
               
1  Halifax 9  
4  Keighley 4  
     Halifax 18
   Oldham 3
2  Oldham 11
3  Runcorn 3  

Challenge Cup

Warrington beat Oldham 17-3 in the final at Broughton before a crowd of 18,500 to win their second Cup in three seasons. [8]

Sources

  • 1906-07 Rugby Football League season at wigan.rlfans.com
  • The Challenge Cup at The Rugby Football League website

References

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