Throwback Thursday: Happy 124th birthday rugby league

On this day in 1895, rugby league (then the Northern Rugby Football Union) was formed.

There were 22 founding clubs, who wanted to be able to pay their players to compensate their largely working class squads who would have to have time off work to play.

In the same year, the RFU had banned the playing of rugby at grounds where entrance fees were charged.

A total of 22 clubs met at the George Hotel on August 29, 1895, to form the NRFU – with 20 agreeing to resign. Dewsbury felt unable to comply, Stockport had telegraphed requesting admission and Runcorn were admitted at the next meeting.

The founding clubs were: Batley, Bradford, Brighouse Rangers, Broughton Rangers, Halifax, Huddersfield, Hull, Hunslet, Leeds, Leigh, Liversedge, Manningham, Oldham, Rochdale Hornets, Runcorn, Stockport, St Helens, Tyldesley, Wakefield Trinity, Warrington, Widnes, Wigan.

Seven of those clubs play in Super League today.

Within 15 years of the “schism”, more than 200 rugby union clubs left to join the Northern Union.

It became the Rugby Football League in 1922.