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The Rugby League Championship 1 (known as Co-operative Championship 1 due to sponsorship by the Co-operative Group) was formerly called National League Two. It is the third tier domestic competition in the United Kingdom, below the Championship.

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


Between 1999 and 2002 teams below the Super League took part in a single division known as the Northern Ford Premiership (NFP). In 2003, the NFP was completely re-organised into National Leagues 1 and 2. Teams that finished in the top ten of the NFP joined National League 1 and the bottom nine joined National League 2. They were joined by London Skolars from the Rugby League Conference who entered National League 2. York City Knights replaced the defunct York Wasps and joined National League 2 in 2003.

At the same time, National League Three was created with teams from the Rugby League Conference and from the BARLA amateur leagues. It was intended that there would be promotion and relegation between National League 2 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 1; thus the number of teams in this division remained at ten. Blackpool Panthers were elected to National League 2 for the 2005 season to replace the defunct Chorley Lynx. In order to "even up" the numbers a new team was admitted into the National League 2, a Welsh team called Celtic Crusaders, thus increasing this division to twelve teams.

In 2007, National League Three was scrapped and rebranded as the Rugby League Conference National Division.

The National League Two competition has been rebranded Co-operative Championship 1 for the 2009 season.


At the end of the season, two teams are relegated from the Championship, being replaced by the team finishing top of Championship 1 and the winner of a play-off structure involving the six teams finishing behind the league leaders in Championship 1. The play-offs are a top-six format.

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 League Three clubs were also admitted, in 2006 five League Three 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.[790207]

2009 structure

The RFL issued a media release mid November 2008 to announce a change in title to the competitions. With the introduction of Toulouse in the Championship, the title "National League" was no longer appropriate. Since the start of the 2009 season the National League competitions have become the Championship and Championship 1, with The Co-operative continuing their sponsorship of these competitions. There are ten teams in Championship 1.

Championship 1
Team Stadium City/Area
Blackpool Panthers Woodlands Memorial Groundmarker Lytham St Annesmarker, Lancashire
Doncaster RLFC Keepmoat Stadiummarker Doncastermarker, South Yorkshire
Hunslet Hawks South Leeds Stadiummarker Leedsmarker, West Yorkshire
Gateshead Thunder Thunderdomemarker Gatesheadmarker, Tyne and Wear
London Skolars New River Stadiummarker Haringey, London
Oldham Roughyeds Boundary Parkmarker Oldhammarker, Greater Manchester
Rochdale Hornets Spotland Stadiummarker Rochdalemarker, Greater Manchester
Swinton Lions Park Lanemarker Swintonmarker, Greater Manchester
Workington Town Derwent Parkmarker Workingtonmarker, Cumbria
York City Knights Huntington Stadiummarker Yorkmarker, North Yorkshire


See Rugby League Championship Third Division for winners of the old Third Division.

Season League Two Champions Also promoted to League One Relegated from League One
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
2007 Celtic Crusaders Featherstone Rovers Rochdale Hornets
Doncaster Lakers
2008 Gateshead Thunder Barrow Raiders
Doncaster RLFC
Dewsbury Rams
2009 Dewsbury Rams Keighley Cougars Gateshead Thunder
Doncaster RLFC


  1. Denotes that championship was not decided using a play-off; league position alone determined the title-holder.

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