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Neil_Ormston

First class match definition

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I thought it would be useful to define the scope of matches for inclusion in this phase of our work. I'd appreciate any thoughts, comments, or questions on points of clarity on the below.

Club matches (first-class): Games from matches & tournaments recognised by the RFL/NU, involving teams from member clubs. Matches & tournaments are recognised when the RFL/NU played a part in the organisation of them, or selection of the teams to participate. The status of the match at the time of kick-off determines its inclusion, regardless of whether the match or tournament concluded; thus games which were abandoned, or later expunged or ordered to be replayed are included. For tournaments involving both member clubs and non-member clubs (e.g. the Challenge Cup & National League Cup), rounds/groups involving exclusively non-member clubs are not classified as 'first-class' and are therefore excluded; for any rounds/groups involving member clubs all games are included, regardless of a club's status, with the same also applying for subsequent rounds.

Representative matches (first-class): Games from matches & tournaments recognised by the RFL/NU, involving teams organised and selected by the RFL/NU or its member clubs, leagues, counties and countries of the home nations (including Ireland), except where these involve a member club (as these are classified as a 'club match'). The status of the match at the time of kick-off determines its inclusion, regardless of whether the match or tournament concluded; thus games which were abandoned, or later expunged or ordered to be replayed are included.

For the avoidance of doubt, matches played in during World War One after the close of the 1914/5 seasons are NOT recognised, following the ruling by the Northern Union that games should only be played on a friendly basis until the cessation of hostilities; organised games resumed in early 1919. In contrast for the duration of World War Two matches are recognised (subject to meeting the above criteria), due to the continuation of league & county committees to approve fixtures and rule on matters of dispute (although certain regulations were relaxed to facilitate the continuation of games).

Edited by Neil_Ormston

For more information on the Rugby League Record Keepers' Club please visit our official website at www.rugbyleaguerecords.com

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45 minutes ago, BrisbaneRhino said:

So to clarify, if a Challenge Cup game involves two amateur side it is nit included, but a professional side vs amateur is?

As I read it, any all-amateur matches in a recognised first-class competition (ie Challenge Cup) where they are playing in a round in which professional clubs are also taking part, would count in the records. Yet in the earlier qualifying rounds before any professional teams have joined the tournament then it wouldn't count.

6 hours ago, Neil_Ormston said:

...... rounds/groups involving exclusively non-member clubs are not classified as 'first-class' and are therefore excluded; for any rounds/groups involving member clubs all games are included, regardless of a club's status

ie: The 1960 Challenge Cup first round involved 32 clubs - thirty professional and two amateur.  The two amateur clubs (Walney Central and Lock Lane) were drawn against each other.

If I have understood it right, that match would count due to professional clubs also being in that round.

If they had played each other in a qualifying round earlier in the competition and before the professionals joined, then it wouldn't count.

If I am correct in my view then I think the ruling is right.

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6 hours ago, RL does what Sky says said:

As I read it, any all-amateur matches in a recognised first-class competition (ie Challenge Cup) where they are playing in a round in which professional clubs are also taking part, would count in the records. Yet in the earlier qualifying rounds before any professional teams have joined the tournament then it wouldn't count.

ie: The 1960 Challenge Cup first round involved 32 clubs - thirty professional and two amateur.  The two amateur clubs (Walney Central and Lock Lane) were drawn against each other.

If I have understood it right, that match would count due to professional clubs also being in that round.

If they had played each other in a qualifying round earlier in the competition and before the professionals joined, then it wouldn't count.

If I am correct in my view then I think the ruling is right.

Yes, that is exactly correct RL.

The rationale is that the status of the match, not the clubs involved, determines whether to include this - it seems perverse to say if Leeds play Lock Lane in the first round in 1960 it's included, but if Walney Central play them it doesn't, and pretend there were only 15 matches in the first round.  It's also avoids the situation where two non-member clubs make it through to the final - it would be even more bizarre then to ignore it!  Whilst this might be far fetched in the context of amateur clubs in the Challenge Cup, that's exactly what happened in the World Club Championship in 1997, both the final (and indeed semi-finals) were contested by Australian clubs.  These games are therefore also included.

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This might already be known by someone else but if so, can anyone please enlighten me ?

As I understand it, (and taking that all matches have been approved by the appropriate governing bodies) if two first-class club teams play a friendly (ie Warrington v Wigan pre-season matches for the Locker Cup) then that is not shown as a first-class fixture for records purposes, yet if two first-class International teams play a "friendly" (as when Gt.Britain used to play France home and away every season but were not part of a competition) then those are counted in scoring and appearance records.

If so, it does appear a bit ambiguous that a player can appear in a club friendly but not have it counted on his record yet can play in an International friendly and can have it so recorded.

Edited by RL does what Sky says

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i think you find in all sports, international friendlies count for a "cap". so internationals count as a first class game, club friendlies do not. QED

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56 minutes ago, kev p said:

i think you find in all sports, international friendlies count for a "cap". so internationals count as a first class game, club friendlies do not. QED

Not knowing about how every sport rules on such matters I would assume that you are probably correct. However, I was wondering if such rules have been verified or that people have just acepted it that way without any guidance having ever been published.

.

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4 hours ago, RL does what Sky says said:

This might already be known by someone else but if so, can anyone please enlighten me ?

As I understand it, (and taking that all matches have been approved by the appropriate governing bodies) if two first-class club teams play a friendly (ie Warrington v Wigan pre-season matches for the Locker Cup) then that is not shown as a first-class fixture for records purposes, yet if two first-class International teams play a "friendly" (as when Gt.Britain used to play France home and away every season but were not part of a competition) then those are counted in scoring and appearance records.

If so, it does appear a bit ambiguous that a player can appear in a club friendly but not have it counted on his record yet can play in an International friendly and can have it so recorded.

What you describe is correct RL, apart from one subtle, but very important distinction, and that is around the use of the term 'friendly'.  This is commonly used these days to mean a match outside a formal competition, and is used for all such matches.  In fact, the Locker Cup you cite was never really described a friendly, but was called what it was - the Locker Cup match.  It's excluded from first-class matches because the governing body was never involved in the organising of the fixture.  So whilst they may have sanctioned it, they didn't stipulate when or where it would be played, or even the teams involved.  If Wire had decided they wanted to play Widnes for the Locker Cup, they could have done (though Wigan might not have been too happy!).

In contrast, when it comes to international matches that are not part of a competition, they are still organised, by definition, by the governing body, as their representative team.  There are instances where these are deemed to be not first-class - again, friendly tends not to be officially used, as they are usually described as something like an 'exhibition match', or 'challenge match'.  They might also be accompanied by more relaxed rules, such as unlimited subs.  The GB-France games were classified as internationals, or tests, not friendlies.


For more information on the Rugby League Record Keepers' Club please visit our official website at www.rugbyleaguerecords.com

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1 hour ago, Neil_Ormston said:

What you describe is correct RL, apart from one subtle, but very important distinction, and that is around the use of the term 'friendly'.  This is commonly used these days to mean a match outside a formal competition, and is used for all such matches.  In fact, the Locker Cup you cite was never really described a friendly, but was called what it was - the Locker Cup match.  It's excluded from first-class matches because the governing body was never involved in the organising of the fixture.  So whilst they may have sanctioned it, they didn't stipulate when or where it would be played, or even the teams involved.  If Wire had decided they wanted to play Widnes for the Locker Cup, they could have done (though Wigan might not have been too happy!).

In contrast, when it comes to international matches that are not part of a competition, they are still organised, by definition, by the governing body, as their representative team.  There are instances where these are deemed to be not first-class - again, friendly tends not to be officially used, as they are usually described as something like an 'exhibition match', or 'challenge match'.  They might also be accompanied by more relaxed rules, such as unlimited subs.  The GB-France games were classified as internationals, or tests, not friendlies.

Again no problem and thanks for the clarification. Yes, I used the term "friendly" as an overall description of any non-formal match.

There is however, one seemingly ambiguous occurance I have come across for which again you might have an explnation (although I am not expecting you to have an immediate solution to all matters) ... and I only refer to this particular incident as there also might be other similar situations.

I believe that Tour Matches (International team v club team) are recorded as first-class matches. However, on 22 April 1975, Oldham played England as a warm-up match for them before before going down-under for the first part of the 1975 World Cup. That match has not been given first-class status with the players' scoring and appearances not recorded as such.

Yet on 4 November 1975, prior to the second part of the 1975 World Cup in this country, Oldham played Australia, again as a warm-up game for them but for which the scoring and appearances have been included as a first-class fixture, while a similar situation also appears to have been the case for three matches Australia played in England (against Huddersfield, Salford and Cumbria) before the 1992 World Cup FInal.

Furthermore, on 18 October 1972 Oldham faced Great Britain as a warm-up match prior to that year's World Cup, while on 21 August 1985 they again played Great Britain as a warm-up prior to the Kiwis tour over here later that year.  These matches have not been included as a first-class match.

Therefore all four Oldham matches mentioned above, as well as the other three matches in 1992, were warm-up games for International teams prior to a World Cup or Test Series, yet where the opposition have been a foreign team then the games have been deemed first-class while those against their own country have not.

I would suspect that all these situations have just been accepted without any thought to the matter, but if such matches against one country are to be deemed first-class then surely that should apply to those against all countries.

Something to think about while you've nothing else to do !!! ?

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I guess the games against the 'home' international team might have been considered more as a trial game and not fully competitive?  Tour games are a bit odd generally - often GB squad players wouldn't play for their clubs against tourists, different rules for scoring and subs from normal domestic games have been quite common as well.

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8 hours ago, RL does what Sky says said:

Again no problem and thanks for the clarification. Yes, I used the term "friendly" as an overall description of any non-formal match.

There is however, one seemingly ambiguous occurance I have come across for which again you might have an explnation (although I am not expecting you to have an immediate solution to all matters) ... and I only refer to this particular incident as there also might be other similar situations.

I believe that Tour Matches (International team v club team) are recorded as first-class matches. However, on 22 April 1975, Oldham played England as a warm-up match for them before before going down-under for the first part of the 1975 World Cup. That match has not been given first-class status with the players' scoring and appearances not recorded as such.

Yet on 4 November 1975, prior to the second part of the 1975 World Cup in this country, Oldham played Australia, again as a warm-up game for them but for which the scoring and appearances have been included as a first-class fixture, while a similar situation also appears to have been the case for three matches Australia played in England (against Huddersfield, Salford and Cumbria) before the 1992 World Cup FInal.

Furthermore, on 18 October 1972 Oldham faced Great Britain as a warm-up match prior to that year's World Cup, while on 21 August 1985 they again played Great Britain as a warm-up prior to the Kiwis tour over here later that year.  These matches have not been included as a first-class match.

Therefore all four Oldham matches mentioned above, as well as the other three matches in 1992, were warm-up games for International teams prior to a World Cup or Test Series, yet where the opposition have been a foreign team then the games have been deemed first-class while those against their own country have not.

I would suspect that all these situations have just been accepted without any thought to the matter, but if such matches against one country are to be deemed first-class then surely that should apply to those against all countries.

Something to think about while you've nothing else to do !!! ?

I think you’ve highlighted the greyest of the grey areas here RL!  It is true that when club sides play domestic rep teams (England, Wales, GB), these are classified as friendlies (excluded from player records), but when against an overseas rep team are classed as a tour match (included in player records), which seems anomalous.  I wouldn’t say this has been accepted without thought though, as the RKC was active and closely linked to the RFL at the time of all the games you mentioned above.  Let me do some digging and see if I can get a strong rationale for why this is so.

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For more information on the Rugby League Record Keepers' Club please visit our official website at www.rugbyleaguerecords.com

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8 hours ago, Neil_Ormston said:

I think you’ve highlighted the greyest of the grey areas here RL!  It is true that when club sides play domestic rep teams (England, Wales, GB), these are classified as friendlies (excluded from player records), but when against an overseas rep team are classed as a tour match (included in player records), which seems anomalous.  I wouldn’t say this has been accepted without thought though, as the RKC was active and closely linked to the RFL at the time of all the games you mentioned above.  Let me do some digging and see if I can get a strong rationale for why this is so.

Just to give you an insight into the quality of the teams for Great Britain / England in those matches against Oldham, here are links to the programmes, courtesy of the Oldham RL heritage website. The national teams were certainly not just a group of "anybodys" brought together but were of real quality as befitting teams preparing for forthcoming important events ...

1972 Gt.Britain  https://heritagetrust.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2019/11/19721018-Great-Britain.pdf

1975 England    https://heritagetrust.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2019/11/19750422-England.pdf

1985 Gt.Britain  https://heritagetrust.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2019/11/19850821-Great-Britain.pdf

Although two of the above are shown as "Benefit Matches" for Ken Wilson and Mick Morgan, they were only deemed so by Oldham as a thanks to their players and it wasn't a case of the matches just being organise for that reason.

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5 hours ago, RL does what Sky says said:

Just to give you an insight into the quality of the teams for Great Britain / England in those matches against Oldham, here are links to the programmes, courtesy of the Oldham RL heritage website. The national teams were certainly not just a group of "anybodys" brought together but were of real quality as befitting teams preparing for forthcoming important events ...

1972 Gt.Britain  https://heritagetrust.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2019/11/19721018-Great-Britain.pdf

1975 England    https://heritagetrust.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2019/11/19750422-England.pdf

1985 Gt.Britain  https://heritagetrust.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2019/11/19850821-Great-Britain.pdf

Although two of the above are shown as "Benefit Matches" for Ken Wilson and Mick Morgan, they were only deemed so by Oldham as a thanks to their players and it wasn't a case of the matches just being organise for that reason.

Wire played England in 1975 as a WC warm-up, interesting a benefit match for Alex Murphy.  There might be something in this.  My suspicion is that it's to do with how the opponents were selected; it's certainly not a reflection of the quality of the teams on show.  It could also be something to do with the rules played as I noted before - I can't remember when 4 substitutions were introduced in internationals, but Oldham made 3 in the 1985 game; this is also advertised as a GBXIII, rather than just GB.  I've not got a definitive answer yet though, so this is speculative!


For more information on the Rugby League Record Keepers' Club please visit our official website at www.rugbyleaguerecords.com

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1 hour ago, Neil_Ormston said:

Wire played England in 1975 as a WC warm-up, interesting a benefit match for Alex Murphy.  There might be something in this.  My suspicion is that it's to do with how the opponents were selected; it's certainly not a reflection of the quality of the teams on show.  It could also be something to do with the rules played as I noted before - I can't remember when 4 substitutions were introduced in internationals, but Oldham made 3 in the 1985 game; this is also advertised as a GBXIII, rather than just GB.  I've not got a definitive answer yet though, so this is speculative!

Just like youself, all my thoughts are speculative.  I can't be certain about in Internationals but I believe the four substitutions rule was first introduced in 1981 (still only 2 players on the bench but 4 changes allowed), so would it take four years to go global ?  Yes, I wondered about the "Gt.Britain X111", yet (again only a thought) could that just be how Oldham named the team on their programme . Inside the programme is a full list of the GB squad from which the team for the Oldham game was selected ... and like any touring team when playing against a club side, they pick any 13 from their touring squad. However, all guesswork.

However, just to say, that whichever way all these matches are classed as, it isn't that I am fighting for one way or the other .. it's just one of those situations that causes interest in trying to solve a mystery.

Edited by RL does what Sky says

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The name of that side probably gives a clue to the fact it wasn't treated as a regular first class game.  Leeds played a "GB XIII" for David Ward's testimonial in 1982 (I think).  That GB side was pretty strong (they won 22-21 in a good game) but there was no suggestion it was anything other than a trial game.

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12 hours ago, RL does what Sky says said:

Just like youself, all my thoughts are speculative.  I can't be certain about in Internationals but I believe the four substitutions rule was first introduced in 1981 (still only 2 players on the bench but 4 changes allowed), so would it take four years to go global ?  Yes, I wondered about the "Gt.Britain X111", yet (again only a thought) could that just be how Oldham named the team on their programme . Inside the programme is a full list of the GB squad from which the team for the Oldham game was selected ... and like any touring team when playing against a club side, they pick any 13 from their touring squad. However, all guesswork.

However, just to say, that whichever way all these matches are classed as, it isn't that I am fighting for one way or the other .. it's just one of those situations that causes interest in trying to solve a mystery.

I appreciate your input RL.  It's important we're clear as to WHY things are included or not - these can become debating points, and some people might disagree, but it helps if the understanding is there.  This hasn't always had much visibility, and leads to some of the confusion (war-time games are the classic example).  In this instance, I can't provide the clarity, but I will get there, and share once I have it.

Usually, the use of "XIII" at the end of a name suggests it's either not the full strength team (or is in some way selected slightly differently), it's only deemed a friendly game, or possibly both, which is why I mentioned it here.  It's similar to the one BR refers to.

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To clarify another specific example, can anyone confirm that Auckland's 1987 tour games were classed as first class?  For Leeds it's important in terms of records because it featured Garry Schofield's debut (scored 2 tries), and also lesser lights Darren Stevens and Martyn Smithson - it was Smithson's only ever first team game so from a Club # perspective its important as well.   

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11 hours ago, BrisbaneRhino said:

To clarify another specific example, can anyone confirm that Auckland's 1987 tour games were classed as first class?  For Leeds it's important in terms of records because it featured Garry Schofield's debut (scored 2 tries), and also lesser lights Darren Stevens and Martyn Smithson - it was Smithson's only ever first team game so from a Club # perspective its important as well.   

Yes. Auckland tour 1987 were all first class fixtures 

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Thanks Mark.  I had trouble getting the Auckland teamlist vs Leeds - ended up getting it via the Warriors.

That was yet another violent tour game, probably because a number of players from both sides had played in the Leeds v NZ tour game two years earlier, which was the most violent match I've ever seen live.

Both Auckland 1987 and Queensland 1983 tours were 'first class'.  Are there any other similar tours which Leeds weren't involved in which also count as first class?

 

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11 hours ago, BrisbaneRhino said:

Thanks Mark.  I had trouble getting the Auckland teamlist vs Leeds - ended up getting it via the Warriors.

That was yet another violent tour game, probably because a number of players from both sides had played in the Leeds v NZ tour game two years earlier, which was the most violent match I've ever seen live.

Both Auckland 1987 and Queensland 1983 tours were 'first class'.  Are there any other similar tours which Leeds weren't involved in which also count as first class?

 

Ignoring Australia, Australasia & New Zealand tours, and a few more recent international sides that came over for various tournaments,, there's the following:

- Queensland 1983-84 

- PNG 1987-88

- Auckland 1987-88

- France 1988-89

- PNG 1991-92 (didn't play club teams)

- New Zealand Residents 2003

A total of 14 first-class games involving clubs across these tours.  For info I've got home and away teams for all these matches.


For more information on the Rugby League Record Keepers' Club please visit our official website at www.rugbyleaguerecords.com

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On 08/10/2020 at 15:55, BrisbaneRhino said:

Shame I never saw PNG. Who did they play on the 1987/88 tour?

Their first ever tour match was against the mighty Featherstone Rovers. It was all a bit of an anti-climax for them after that.

 

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On 19/06/2020 at 09:04, RL does what Sky says said:

Just like youself, all my thoughts are speculative.  I can't be certain about in Internationals but I believe the four substitutions rule was first introduced in 1981 (still only 2 players on the bench but 4 changes allowed), so would it take four years to go global ?  Yes, I wondered about the "Gt.Britain X111", yet (again only a thought) could that just be how Oldham named the team on their programme . Inside the programme is a full list of the GB squad from which the team for the Oldham game was selected ... and like any touring team when playing against a club side, they pick any 13 from their touring squad. However, all guesswork.

However, just to say, that whichever way all these matches are classed as, it isn't that I am fighting for one way or the other .. it's just one of those situations that causes interest in trying to solve a mystery.

From memory four subs were used for internationals in 1990.

Edited by rlno1

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