5th March 2021, 09:00 | ourleague
The Heavy Woollen region has been starved of live Rugby League over the past 12 months with both Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams being away from the field since March 2020.
However, this Saturday (Mar 6), the Bulldogs and the Rams will finally return to action and renew their historic rivalry in a pre-season friendly, broadcast live on Our League.
The fixture is the first of a host of fixtures to be broadcast live on Our League in the coming weeks which include pre-season friendlies such as Tommy Makinson and Chris Hill’s Testimonial Fixtures, the first and second rounds of the Betfred Challenge Cup and the opening weekend of the Betfred Championship.
Despite fans not being permitted to attend in person, anticipation is still high between club chairmen Kevin Nicholas and Mark Sawyer who can’t wait to watch their teams do battle this weekend and get the Rugby League ball rolling once again.
Batley Bulldogs Chairman, Kevin Nicholas, said: “It’s just about a year since we stopped playing. We’d just played Toulouse Olympique away and never did we think it would come to a full year without Rugby League.
“Over the last year myself and Mark have been in daily contact sharing knowledge and advice. Mark also allowed us to share the all-weather pitch up at Dewsbury.”
Dewsbury Rams Chairman, Mark Sawyer, added: “I think people know that Dewsbury and Batley work together closely off the pitch and look at how we can help each other in all elements.
“It’s going to be difficult moving forward but we’re in a strong position, we’re ready to go and we’re desperate to play matches, as are the players and we know the supporters are desperate to watch.”
Supporters of both Batley and Dewsbury will be able to watch this weekend’s fixture via Our League with early bird pricing at £4.95, with a gameday increase to £10.
Both Nicholas and Sawyer have encouraged fans of both clubs – and neutral Rugby League fans – to get behind the fixture by purchasing their streaming passes and helping the clubs financially as they look to return to normality.
Nicholas said: “It’s a shame we are still playing behind closed doors unfortunately, but we are streaming games through Our League and supporters of both sides need to join Our League to ensure they can watch the fixture.
“People may question the decision to charge for the fixtures, but we have to cover the cost of streaming but then any profits in addition to that will be shared between the clubs, so fans can buy a streaming ticket in the knowledge they’re helping both clubs financially.”
Sawyer added: “We were keen to get this friendly on and obviously not being able to get supporters in is a blow, but we are at the start of stuff reopening. We need people to get behind the clubs as there is a lot to look forward to.
“I think this time away has given people chance to reflect and realise what a huge part Rugby League plays in their lives.
“Everyone is really missing it and win or lose I’m really looking forward to this weekend’s friendly.”
You can purchase your gameday pass for Batley Bulldogs v Dewsbury Rams here. Your pass will cost £4.95 if purchased in advance. Prices will rise to £10 on gameday.