7th February 2020, 15:56 | championship
The Betfred Championship will see a new kick-off time of 6:15pm on a Sunday evening introduced in 2020, with games being showcased live on Our League, and first up we will see play-off hopefuls Featherstone Rovers and Halifax do battle.
Featherstone came within 80 minutes of promotion in 2019 losing out in the Million Pound Game to Toronto in Canada but did lose Head Coach Ryan Carr in the off-season. However, they started the season strongly – under the new stewardship of James Webster – with a 18-38 win over Batley. Dane Chisholm starred scoring twice but is suspended for this weekend’s fixture which could see new signing Louis Jouffret debut.
As for Halifax, they left it late to get their 2020 campaign off to a winning start with a last-minute try against Sheffield Eagles. Simon Grix’s men outscored the Eagles in terms of tries but had to rely on Oliver Roberts to secure victory. Both sides will be hopeful of maintaining their 100% records in front of the Our League cameras.
🗣️ "I played with @scottmurrell85 many years ago!"— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) February 5, 2020
🔵 @FevRoversRLFC Head Coach James Webster on @Halifax_RLFC 👇
📺 You can watch the two sides go head-to-head on #OURLEAGUE from 6.15pm on Sunday! pic.twitter.com/cKkIAzBGBl
The weekend begins with a double-header of fixtures on Saturday as Leigh Centurions host Sheffield while Toulouse Olympique welcome the visit of newly-promoted Oldham. The Centurions earned the first victory of the 2020 Championship season with a 10-36 defeat of Dewsbury Rams last Friday. Mark Aston’s men will be looking to earn their first points of the season but have failed to beat Leigh in each of their last meetings.
Toulouse earned an impressive comeback victory on Our League last weekend as they fought from behind to overcome York City Knights – 22-10 - despite being reduced to 12 men. Sylvain Houles’ side will be aiming to make their new home of the Stade Ernest Wallon a fortress and have the opportunity to earn back-to-back wins there this weekend. Oldham had a tough return to life in the Championship with a 6-36 loss to Widnes and it doesn’t get easier with the trip to France this weekend.
It is the Vikings who top the Betfred Championship heading into round two following their dominant victory over Oldham last weekend. Widnes return home on Sunday afternoon as they face Batley looking for a second consecutive victory. Last season they shared spoils with a win apiece in the Championship.
York City Knights and Bradford Bulls offered one of the most compelling games of the 2020 Championship season when the Knights edged out John Kear’s side 25-24 back in July. York have the advantage in recent seasons winning three of the four meetings between the teams with no more than ten points every separating them.
London Broncos returned to the Championship with a narrow victory over Bradford this weekend and will be looking to carry their performance back to Ealing Trailfinders as they host newly-promoted Whitehaven. Whitehaven were on the end of a 0-14 defeat to Swinton last weekend – being nilled for the first time since August 2018.
Elsewhere, Swinton Lions face Dewsbury Rams with the Lions coming off a round one victory while the Rams are aiming to get off the mark.
Fixtures in full:
Saturday 8 February
Leigh Centurions v Sheffield Eagles (3pm)
Toulouse Olympique v Oldham RLFC (6pm)
Sunday 9 February
London Broncos v Whitehaven (3pm)
Swinton Lions v Dewsbury Rams (3pm)
Widnes Vikings v Batley Bulldogs (3pm)
York City Knights v Bradford Bulls (3pm)
Featherstone Rovers v Halifax (6:15pm) – LIVE on Our League