Championship 1

Championship 1
Championship 1
Current season or competition:
2011 Championship 1
Co-operative championship1.png
Sport Rugby league football
Inaugural season 2003
Number of teams 10
Countries  England
Champions Swinton Lions (2011)
Related competition Co-operative Championship
Challenge Cup
Northern Rail Cup

Championship 1, known as The Co-operative Championship 1 due to sponsorship by The Co-operative Group, is a rugby league competition based in the United Kingdom. It acts as the country's third-tier competition behind the Championship, with which it has a system of promotion and relegation. It is currently contested by ten teams, eight from England and two from Wales. It is organized by the Rugby Football League, the governing body for the sport in the UK.

The current incarnation of third-tier British rugby league dates to 2003, when the Northern Ford Premiership was divided into National League One and National League Two. With the addition of the French team Toulouse Olympique in 2009, the names were changed to the Championship and Championship 1, respectively. The current champions are Swinton Lions, who were promoted to the Championship along with play-off winners Keighley Cougars

Championship 1 teams are only allowed one quota player, other than Gateshead Thunder and London Skolars, to compensate for the lack of amateur clubs outside the rugby league heartlands from which to recruit.



Third-division rugby league competitions in the United Kingdom have existed periodically since 1991. The current incarnation was created in 2003 when the existing second-division competition below the Super League, the Northern Ford Premiership, was split into National Leagues One and Two. Teams that finished in the top ten of the NFP joined National League One and the bottom nine joined National League Two. They were joined by London Skolars from the Rugby League Conference who entered National League Two. York City Knights replaced the defunct York Wasps and joined National League Two in 2003.

At the same time, National League Three was created with teams from the Rugby League Conference and from the British Amateur Rugby League Association amateur leagues. It was intended that there would be promotion and relegation between National League Two and National League Three when League Three became more established.

At the end of the 2005 an extra team was relegated from Super League in order to accommodate French side Catalans Dragons. In turn an additional team was relegated from National League One; thus the number of teams in this division remained at ten. Blackpool Panthers were elected to National League Two for the 2005 season to replace the defunct Chorley Lynx. In order to even up the numbers in National League Two, the Welsh team Celtic Crusaders were admitted to the competition in 2005, first playing in the 2006 season and increasing the division to twelve teams.

In 2007, National League Three was scrapped and rebranded as the Rugby League Conference National Division. With the addition of the French team Toulouse Olympique to National League One in 2009, National Leagues One and Two were renamed to the Championship and Championship 1, respectively. South Wales Scorpions were admitted to Championship 1 for the 2010 season.


Championship 1 has a system of promotion and relegation with the Championship. At the end of the season, the bottom two teams in the Championship are relegated to Championship 1. Two Championship 1 teams are promoted: the team finishing top of the competition, and the winner of a top six play-offs competition between the six teams finishing behind the league leaders.

There is no promotion or relegation between Championship 1 and the Rugby League Conference at the present; current RFL policy is to expand the top two leagues gradually over time. As yet no clubs have been admitted to Championship 1 from the Rugby League Conference since the London Skolars.

A cup competition, the National League Cup, is played for by all clubs in the Championship and Championship 1; in 2005 four National League Three clubs were also admitted, in 2006 five League Three teams were admitted. The teams are organised into regional conferences, with knock-out stages following from the group stage. In 2007 four Rugby League Conference teams are scheduled to be included.

From 2007 the competition used a new points system:

Win – three points; Draw – two points; Loss by 12 points or fewer - one point.[1]


Championship 1
Team Stadium Capacity City/Area
Barrowcolours.svg Barrow Raiders Craven Park 7,600 Barrow, Cumbria
Doncaster colours.svg Doncaster Keepmoat Stadium 15,231 Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Gthundercolours.svg Gateshead Thunder Thunderdome 11,800 Gateshead, Tyne and Wear
Skolscolours.svg London Skolars New River Stadium 5,000 Haringey, London
Cruscolours.svg North Wales Crusaders Racecourse Ground 15,500 Wrexham, Wales
Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham Roughyeds Whitebank Stadium 2,000 (Developing) Oldham, Greater Manchester
Rochdale colours.svg Rochdale Hornets Spotland Stadium 10,249 Rochdale, Greater Manchester
Scorpions.png South Wales Scorpions The Gnoll 5,000 Neath, West Glamorgan, Wales
Haven colours.svg Whitehaven Recreation Ground 7,500 Whitehaven, Cumbria
Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town Derwent Park 10,000 Workington, Cumbria


The RFL plan to expand the game outside the heartlands from 2013 onwards. Sixteen clubs have expressed interest in joining the professional ranks, out of those the RFL have picked seven as potential inclusions; Medway Dragons, Hemel Stags, Bristol Sonics, Coventry Bears, Chester Gladiators and Oxford Cavaliers, who will be selected and announced one at a time over the next four months and will be given support from the RFL. There will also be no relegation from the Championship; instead clubs will be promoted from Championship 1 to make way for the new clubs. Minimum standards, such as a 3,000 stadium capacity, will apply in the 14-club Championship. The RFL have also announced Premier Sports have agreed to broadcast the Championships, taking over from Sky Sports.[1]


See Rugby Football League Championship Third Division for winners of the old Third Division.
Season Champions Also promoted Relegated from Championship Wooden Spoon
2003 Keighley Cougars none Dewsbury Rams
2004 Barrow Raiders1 none Keighley Cougars
2005 York City Knights1 none Barrow Raiders
Featherstone Rovers
2006 Dewsbury Rams1 Sheffield Eagles Oldham Roughyeds
York City Knights
Blackpool Panthers
2007 Crusaders Featherstone Rovers Rochdale Hornets
Doncaster Lakers
Blackpool Panthers
2008 Gateshead Thunder Barrow Raiders
Dewsbury Rams Hunslet Hawks
2009 Dewsbury Rams Keighley Cougars Gateshead Thunder
London Skolars
2010 Hunslet Hawks York City Knights Whitehaven
Keighley Cougars
Gateshead Thunder
2011 Swinton Lions Keighley Cougars Toulouse Olympique2
Barrow Raiders
Gateshead Thunder

See also


External links

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  • championship — (n.) 1825, position of a champion, from CHAMPION (Cf. champion) + SHIP (Cf. ship). Meaning competition to determine a champion is recorded from 1893 …   Etymology dictionary

  • championship — [n] contest for ultimate victor crown, crowning achievement, elimination, playoffs, showdown, title match, tournament, winner takes all*; concept 363 …   New thesaurus

  • championship — ► NOUN 1) a sporting contest for the position of champion. 2) the vigorous defence of a person or cause …   English terms dictionary

  • championship — [cham′pē ənship΄] n. 1. the act of championing; advocacy or defense 2. the position or title of a champion …   English World dictionary

  • Championship — The Championship redirects here. For the English football competition, see Football League Championship; for the English rugby league competitions, see Championship (rugby league) and Championship 1; for the English rugby union competition, see… …   Wikipedia

  • championship — noun 1 competition ADJECTIVE ▪ major ▪ international, national, regional, state, world ▪ British, European …   Collocations dictionary

  • championship — n. position of a champion 1) to hold; win a championship 2) to regain; retain a championship 3) to give up, lose, relinquish a championship 4) an individual; national; team; world championship * * * [ tʃæmpɪənʃɪp] lose national relinquish a… …   Combinatory dictionary

  • championship — [[t]tʃæ̱mpiənʃɪp[/t]] ♦♦ championships 1) N COUNT: usu supp N A championship is a competition to find the best player or team in a particular sport. ...the world chess championship. 2) N SING: the N The championship refers to the title or status… …   English dictionary

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