1st August 2019, 16:34 | championship

Betfred Championship Preview

Betfred Championship Preview

The play-off push continues...

This weekend’s Betfred Championship action will open with a warm-up to the upcoming AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final at Wembley Stadium as Sheffield Eagles and Widnes Vikings go head-to-head following on from last weekend’s heroics.

The Vikings sealed a Wembley berth in dramatic fashion against Leigh Centurions, but their focus will now switch back to the Championship where they still sit just three points above the relegation zone. Sheffield have slipped to 7th and are now four points off the play-off places with five games remaining. Widnes’ win last weekend was their first on the road since the start of May while Sheffield’s was their second in their last five games.  

York City Knights currently sit 2nd in the Championship and face a tough trip to Cumbria against a relegation-battling Barrow Raiders. The Knights are unbeaten in their last six Championship fixtures but there hasn’t been more than seven points in each of their last four games. The Raiders will still be hoping they can make a late surge for survival but will need to end a four-game losing streak to potentially close the gap on Widnes.  

There are also tough away fixtures for fellow play-off hopefuls Toulouse Olympique and Featherstone Rovers who travel to Halifax and Dewsbury, respectively. Halifax welcome the French side on the back of a herculean effort against St Helens in the Coral Challenge Cup semi-finals last weekend. Fax’ have earned three points from their last two Championship outings while Olympique have won each of their last two scoring a mammoth 124 points in the process. 

Dewsbury Rams welcome Featherstone Rovers with a five-point buffer between themselves and the relegation places. The Rovers currently occupy the final play-off spot sitting three points above 6th placed Bradford. Both sides come into this fixture having lost just one of their last four outings however the Rams do have a 28-28 draw against Halifax included in that run.   

There was Wembley heartbreak for Leigh Centurions last weekend, and they will now be looking to bounce back in the Championship against an in-form Swinton Lions. The Centurions have won six of their last seven in the Championship while the Lions six of their last nine and are unbeaten in each of their last four.  

Bradford Bulls will be looking to keep their play-off hopes alive this weekend, but they face a tough test as they host table-topping Toronto Wolfpack who were crowned League Leaders’ Shield winners a fortnight ago. John Kear’s side had won four consecutive Championship fixtures before a late drop-goal defeat against York City Knights two weeks ago. The Wolfpack are looking to extend their winning run to 17 games.

Rochdale Hornets’ relegation can be confirmed this weekend if they are to lose to Batley Bulldogs. The Hornets now need to win every game this season, with Widnes not picking up another point and need a 771-point swing if they are to survive. The Bulldogs sit 11th on 13 points and will be looking to finish the season strongly after falling short on the road to Wembley. 

Friday 2nd August

Sheffield Eagles v Widnes Vikings (19:45)

Sunday 4th August

Barrow Raiders v York City Knights (15:00)

Bradford Bulls v Toronto Wolfpack (15:00)

Dewsbury Rams v Featherstone Rovers (15:00)

Halifax RLFC v Toulouse Olympique (15:00)

Leigh Centurions v Swinton Lions (15:00)

Rochdale Hornets v Batley Bulldogs (15:00)