After a week off, the Betfred Championship returns to action. Both Featherstone Rovers and York City Knights proudly represented the division by playing out a 41-34 thriller at Wembley in the 1895 Cup Final. Now the criminally underrated competition is back with several clubs still chasing promotion to the Super League.
Toulouse Olympique P-P Dewsbury Rams
Sheffield Eagles vs Halifax Panthers
Two clubs who are no strangers to the top flight are Sheffield Eagles and Halifax Panthers. Okay, it has been two decades but both were Super League founding clubs so never rule out a possible return. The Eagles have named a strong side with Anthony Thackeray, Izaac Farrell and Josh Guzdek as pivots tasked with leading the way. But ‘Fax, under Simon Grix, have become dark horses for the play-offs. They currently sit in fourth place and should start as favourites for this one. Looking at their squad, Connor Robinson is back from injury to partner Liam Harris at half-back whilst the in-form James Woodburn-Hall and the experienced Scott Grix will also star for the Panthers.
Prediction: Sheffield Eagles 18-36 Halifax Panthers
Batley Bulldogs vs Newcastle Thunder
This is an all-important fixture in terms of the play-off picture. Batley have shown good form all season and deserve their current fifth place ranking. Ben White, Tom Gilmore, Ben Kaye and Alistair Leak will prove to be a threat throughout and should cause plenty of problems. Newcastle should not be underestimated though. Having both Ted and Jay Chapelhow should make their pack difficult to handle along with Ukuma Ta’ai and Josh Woods at scrum-half.
Prediction Batley Bulldogs 34-16 Newcastle Thunder
Bradford Bulls vs Featherstone Rovers
Bradford Bulls and the Featherstone Rovers meet in the latest chapter of their mouth-watering derby. The Bulls have been in excellent form and could cash in on a win against a Featherstone side who may suffer from “cup final hangover.” However, ‘Fev are still at 100% in the league and will be full of confidence and eager to secure yet another win against their old enemies.
Prediction: Bradford Bulls 22-26 Featherstone Rovers
London Broncos P-P Widnes Vikings
Whitehaven RLFC vs Oldham RLFC
A relegation four-pointer? Whitehaven and Oldham go head-to-head up in Cumbria this weekend. ‘Haven have a strong side to choose from, with the likes of Gregg McNally, Karl Dixon, Callum Phillips and Dion Aiye to choose from. Moreover, they have home advantage on their side, not to mention they’re higher in the table. Oldham have shown some resistance at times this season and players such as Dave Hewitt, Lewis Charnock and Gareth Owen could thrive in this one giving them a chance at victory.
Whitehaven RLFC 30-12 Oldham RLFC
York City Knights vs Swinton Lions
Out of sorts York City Knights will be desperate for a win against Swinton Lions. The Knights have Matty Marsh back whilst their experienced pack could cause plenty of trouble for the winless Lions. Swinton have proved to be a threat in attack this season but are still without win. Forced to travel away for this one, it could very well get the better of them here once again.
Prediction: York City Knights 32-12 Swinton Lions