The League. The Bradford Bulls won with 40 points, seven more than the London Broncos. St Helens were next with 29 points and the Wigan Warriors on 28 points. The Leeds Rhinos were next with 27. All twelve sides went into the finals series.
The Challenge Cup. At the quarter finals stage, Oldhan lost out to Bradford 12-38, Warrington likewise against Salford 10-29, Keighley were defeated by Saints 0-14 and Leeds were victorious against Featherstone 32-12.
In the semi finals, St Helens easily won 50-20 in their match with Salford and Bradford prevailed against Leeds 24-10. The final attracted 78,000 fans to Wembley Stadium to witness Saints take the cup 32-22 at the expense of Bradford.
|Cup semi final Saints v Salford. (Pic St Helens Star)|
The Premiership Finals. The top four had a week off which the lower eight battled it out. The results were: Sheffield Eagles 26-16 Warrington Wolves, Halifax Blue Sox 18-23 Castleford Tigers, Salford 48-6 Paris St G, Leeds 42-16 Oldham Bears.
In came the top four to play the winners of the first round: Saints 26-12 Salford, Bradford 12-25 Castleford, London 16-58 Sheffield, Wigan 38-22 Leeds. So two of the top four lost.
The semi finals arrived. St Helens 32-18 Castleford and Wigan 22-10 Sheffield. Third and fourth from the league made the grand final, the two Lancashire arch rivals. Wigan took this one 33-20 and along with it the silverware. 33,000 were on hand at Old Trafford for the occasion. The crowds are much larger now.
Summary: St Helens took the Challenge Cup and being heavily involved in the other two competitions took 52 points and were the top team with my points system. Bradford were next with 42 points, with a league title and losing finalist in the cup. Wigan were the grand final winner but a poor cup run hurt their score 34 points.
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To see the 1996 season, simply click here.
To see the 1998 season, just click here.