Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Bradford Bulls : 1996 - 2018

This isn't going to be a deep study of the ups and downs of this great RL club. It's more a summary from a distance, using home attendances as a guide to it's history post SL's inception.

In 1995, the Bradford Bulls average attendance at home was 6,731 so SL certainly gave that a shot in the arm, with just over 10,000 in 1996. That was a 54% rise! Then up until the year 2000, things were going really well, peaking at 14,500 that year. Then numbers started to fall, despite strong on field success.

Yr Attendance +/- %

96 10,346 53.7

97 15,122 46.2

98 12,512 -17.3

99 13,216 5.6

00 14,519 9.9

01 11,992 -17.4

02 11,343 -5.4

03 14,936 31.7

04 13,495 -9.6

05 13,367 -0.9

06 11,263 -15.7

07 12,161 8.0

08 10,287 -15.4

09 9,677 -5.9

10 8,261 -14.6

11 13,352 61.6

12 11,761 -11.9

13 8,563 -27.2

14 6,891 -19.5

15 5,462 -20.7

16 4,621 -15.4

17 4,119 -10.9

18 3,476 -15.6

10,467 Avg

D1 Super League

D2 Championship

D3 League 1

In 2003 the Bulls won the treble and in 2005 the Grand Final, but that was the last time they won anything. Each year thereafter, there was a slight decline (in terms of performance) in evidence. The club went into administration in 2012 despite much generosity from the public to avoid that scenario.

It happened again in 2014 and 6 points were deducted, the club going into the division two Championship for the 2015 season. In that season they got agonisingly close to getting back into Super League through the middle 8's format but just missed out.

In 2016, it missed out on the qualifying tournament by one place, ensuring they were not being promoted. Late that year they went into administration again, leading to their then going into liquidation in early 2017. 12 points were deducted for 2017 as a result, which sent the club into the third division League 1.

Summary: The club spent heavily when it was at the top and as attendances started to fall, debts rose. Then as the club tried to return to the top, it didn't eventuate, sending the Bull into repeated financial trouble. It looks like the club will return to the Championship for 2019, but entry back into SL will be tighter from that year.

Hopefully the club has learned that heavy spending to get to the top is fraught with danger, because if it fails the likelihood of going bust is almost inevitable. Another hope is that the fans will return in greater numbers as the club improves its status. The fans have been fantastic and support their team well when they travel. The club couldn't ask for better supporters, so it's time to pay them back with success on the field. Success that is financially sustainable mind.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

UK Elite Teams By Season : 1979-80

The teams promoted to the first division for this year were Hull FC, Hunslet, York and Blackpool Borough. How would they fare in the elite competition? Time to find out.

The League. Bradford were top with 46 points, then came Widnes (45), Hull FC an amazing third along with Salford (39 each). Leeds were 5th (38), Leigh and Hull KR (33) and St Helens on 32 points. These sides would contest the premiership below.

So who went down? Wigan, Hunslet, York and Blackpool Borough. Three of the promoted went straight back down, a common occurrence with such a high percentage automatically sent up.

The Challenge Cup. The quarter finals games were: Salford 8-9 Widnes, Bradford 0-3 Hull FC, Halifax 7-3 Wakefield, Hull KR 23-11 Warrington.

On to the semis and Halifax went down to Hull KR 7-20 and Widnes likewise to Hull FC 5-10. The final at Wembley Stadium had 95,000 in attendance. In a low scoring affair, Hull KR won the derby match 10-5.

For a full coverage of the all Hull Challenge Cup final, the video awaits your viewing.

The League Cup. For this competition, the quarter finals went this way: Warrington 6-14 Widnes, Bradford 25-11 Leigh, Castleford 6-13 Salford and Wakefield 26-5 Workington.

In the semi final clashes, Widnes were too strong for Salford, winning 19-3 and Bradford overcame Wakefield 16-3. 9,900 came to Headingley, Leeds for the final. Bradford got the silverware with a 6-0 victory over Widnes.

Lancashire Cup: The regional cup came along and the teams that made the semi finals were Barrow and Workington (4-6 the score), and Warrington against Widnes (2-13). The final had 6,900 come along to Salford's stadium. There Widnes defeated Workington 11-0.

Yorkshire Cup: This other regional cup was held, with the semi finals favouring Leeds winning  away to Wakefield (12-7) and Halifax at home just got past Dewsbury (5-3). Leeds won the final at Headingley, Leeds in front of 9,100 spectators.

BBC Floodlight Trophy: This was the 15th and last installment of a television series and was held early on in the season. In the semi finals, Hull FC beat Leigh 9-6 and Hull KR overcame Saints 10-7. The final was held in Hull at the Boulevard ground before 18,500. Hull FC defeated KR 13-3.

The Premiership Finals. Here it is straight in to the quarter finals, with the top eight from the league locking horns. The first round was Bradford 30-0 St Helens, Hull FC 0-8 Leigh, Salford 13-27 Leeds and Widnes 20-10 Hull KR.

The semi finals were over two legs. Leeds beat Widnes 14-4 but amazingly lost the return match 3-14. Leigh lost both its matches to Bradford 12-14 at home 4-17 away. The final at Swinton attracted 10,200 to witness Widnes prevail against Bradford to the tune of 19-5.

Summary: I've assigned points for the season and here are the results. The most successful club was Widnes with 74 points. The won the Premiership final and Lancashire Cup. They also came second in the league and the losing finalist in the League Cup.

Bradford were next (58 points) with the league title and League Cup. They were losing finalist in the Premiership finals. Hull FC was losing finalist in the Challenge Cup and winner of the BBC FT. That earned them 48 points, ahead of town rival KR with 42 points. KR did take the Challenge Cup. The only other winner of a trophy was leeds with the Yorkshire Cup.

Rk Team Rd Fnl CC LC YL BBC Tot

1 Widnes 18 20 12 12 12

2 Bradford 20 16 6 16


3 Hull FC 16 6 16

10 48

4 Hull KR 10 6 20

6 42

5 Leeds 12 12


6 Salford 14 6 6 8


7 Leigh 11 12
2 29

8 Wakefield 7
6 8 4

9 Warrington 8
6 4 4

10 Halifax


11 St Helens 9 6

2 17

11 Workington 5

4 8

13 Castleford 6



14 Wigan 4


14 Dewsbury


14 Barrow


17 Hunslet 3


18 York 2


19 Blackpool 1


Totals 146 84 84 60 56 20 450

To see the season 1980-81, just click here.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

France Elite Teams By Season : 2017-2018

The French RL moved their competition over to summer, which more closely aligns the two main RL nations in Europe in terms of their seasons. Ten sides made up the Elite One division, the competition kicking off in December, 2017. The same sides competed as in the previous year.

Elite League: St Estève-XIII-catalan won the title with 40 points, ahead of Limoux on 45. Lézignan (40), Avignon (38), Carcassonne (35) and Albi (33) followed. These sides would form the phase finale contingent.

Lord Derby Cup: The quarter finals were: AS Carcassonne 8-10 FC Lézignan, Villegailhenc 20-28 Albi RL XIII, Limoux 30-18 Palau Broncos and St Estève-XIII-catalan 50-12 SO Avignon.

The semi finals had Albi going down to Limoux 16-28 and St Estève-XIII-catalan defeated Lézignan 38-26. The final was held at the Stade Gilbert Brutus stadium in Perpignan. The home side St Estève-XIII-catalan narrowly won 30-26 over Limoux. It was 16-12 at half time and 26-26 at the full time. Golden point extra time was played and the winning try was scored. 5,243 were in attendance.

The video above features highlights of the Lord Derby Cup grand final.

Grand Final Series: Known as the phase finale, six sides played for the grand final trophy. Avignon took on Carcassonne and won 18-16, while Lézignan defeated Albi 28-24.

Avignon progressed to a match with St Estève-XIII-catalan, the latter winning 23-16. However, St Estève had the victory taken off them due to playing two players that were not eligible. In the other game, Lézignan were too strong for Limoux, the final score 30-10.

The grand final was played at the municipal stadium, Albi, where Avignon took the trophy with a 34-28 victory over Lézignan. Avignon must be very happy to have even made the final, but to win against a more favoured rival was a real bonus.

Summary: I have allocated points to the teams in the Elite One League, Lord Derby Cup and grand final series. St Estève-XIII-catalan came out on top, just, with 52 points. Winning the league and cup final plus being semi finalist in the grand finals gave them the title of best team in france 2018.

Just behind was Limoux who came second in the league and lost in the two finals. So close but so far. Lézignan and Albi both took 40 points, with the former winning the Grand Final.

Rk Team Rnd Fls LD Tot

1 St Estève-Catalan 20 12 20 52

2 Limoux 18 16 16 50

3 Lézignan 16 12 12 40

3 Avignon 14 20 6 40

5 Albi 11 6 12 29

6 Carcassonne 12 6 6 24

7 Palau-de-Vidre 9
6 15

8 St-Gaudens 10


9 Villeneuve 8


10 Toulouse 7


11 Villegailhenc

6 6

Total 125 72 84 281