4th July 2019, 15:23 | championship

Betfred Championship Preview

Betfred Championship Preview

A huge weekend at both ends of the Betfred Championship...

It’s a huge weekend at both ends of the Betfred Championship with the top eight sides all facing one of their fellow promotion hopefuls while each of the bottom six will face off in their fight for survival.  

Featherstone Rovers and Leigh Centurions’ recent runs have placed them firmly amongst the play-off places. The Rovers’ recent loss to Barrow saw them lose pace on Leigh but they did recover with a 18-24 win last weekend at Halifax. John Duffy’s side have now won eight of their last nine and know a victory could move them into 2nd place. 

York City Knights also have their eyes set on 2nd heading to Sheffield on Friday evening, currently sitting level on points with Toulouse and Leigh. The Knights have won four out of five since Summer Bash but were beaten by the Eagles earlier this season. This could prove to be crucial fixture for Mark Aston’s Sheffield side who may end up four points adrift of the play-off places should they fail to pick up a victory at the Olympic Legacy Park.  

French side Toulouse Olympique face a tough test as they welcome a buoyant Bradford Bulls following their biggest win of the season over Widnes last weekend. Toulouse now find themselves fighting for 2nd spot which they had held comfortably for a large period of the season. 

Kieran Purtill will be looking for an immediate response from his Widnes Vikings side following their hammering at the hands of Bradford last weekend. They welcome basement club Rochdale Hornets this weekend who still only have a solitary victory to their name in the Championship. While it may now take something remarkable for the Hornets to survive, Widnes are one of five teams trying to avoid the second relegation spot and know points this weekend are vital. 

Swinton Lions came away from last weekend’s Manchester derby against Rochdale with a 28-36 victory which moved them into 10th. They host 9th place Batley Bulldogs on Sunday with both sides knowing two points would be huge in the quest to avoid the drop. Swinton are enjoying their best run of the season with three wins in six and some narrow losses to promotion contenders while Batley have now lost four consecutive Championship fixtures.

Dewsbury Rams and Barrow Raiders are also in the thick of the relegation scrap both sitting on nine points. The Rams – who have been sat mid-table for the majority of the season – have slid down the table after just one win in their last seven Championship outings. Despite defeat last weekend, Barrow have won three of their last five in the league and another win this weekend could see them move out of the bottom two for the first time in over two months.  

Incidentally, Toronto Wolfpack’s game against Halifax on Saturday will have the minimal implications on the league table. Toronto will be hoping to maintain their ten-point lead at the top of the Championship and in turn move one weekend closer to lifting the League Leaders’ Shield. Halifax now find themselves stuck between the promotion race and relegation battle but do have a Coral Challenge Cup semi-final on the horizon.  

Friday July 5

Sheffield Eagles v York City Knights (7:45pm)

Saturday July 6

Toronto Wolfpack v Halifax RLFC (6pm)

Toulouse Olympique v Bradford Bulls (7pm) 

Sunday July 7

Dewsbury Rams v Barrow Raiders (3pm)

Featherstone Rovers v Leigh Centurions (3pm)

Swinton Lions v Batley Bulldogs (3pm)

Widnes Vikings v Rochdale Hornets (3pm)