Championship Attendances: Featherstone post ‘poor’ figure while Bradford fall short of 3,000

Another weekend of fantastic Championship action has concluded after Widnes Vikings laid down a real marker against Halifax Panthers last night.

John Kear’s men won 42-14 against a fancied Halifax side.

Elsewhere this weekend, unsurprisingly, Featherstone enjoyed a comprehensive win once again as they took advantage of Toulouse Olympique’s slip up at Odsal on Saturday as the Bulls battled back from 18-8 down to win 26-18 in a game full of yellow cards.

AJ Wallace scored the clincher and today the Rovers took advantage of their promotion rivals’ slip up by reaching the half century against Newcastle Thunder with the likes of Joey Leilua, Bussey and Hardcastle all getting braces,

McKenzie Yei also got a try whilst Riley Dean had a productive game with the boot.

There was a comprehensive win for York RLFC against a struggling Barrow Raiders side at York with Ata Hingano getting a try in a five try win.

The first half was tied at 10-all but York kicked on to win 28-14.Whitehaven were another team to register a solid win beating Swinton Lions 20-4 as Freeman scored 16 points.

The game was 6-4 at the interval but Whitehaven pushed ahead to win 20-4.

The game of the day was perhaps at Batley where the Bulldogs battled back from 20-8 down to win but the real drama came at the end when Batley snatched it after going behind 23-22 to a Dane Chisholm drop goal.

Dale Morton was the match winner in the corner.

It wasn’t a great day for Luke Gale who was shown a yellow card for a foul on Ben White earlier in the piece as Batley battled back.

There was drama too in London as a Titus Gwaze try levelled matters for Sheffield Eagles and the drama reached another level when an Anthony Thackeray drop goal won it in the 77th minute.

But what kind of attendances were attracted by this weekend’s Championship action.

Sadly, there are only three attendances that can be found from the weekend’s action.

The Bulls recorded a near 3,000 attendances as they stunned Toulouse whilst Featherstone nearly had 2,500 for their game against Newcastle Thunder.

Meanwhile, less than 1000 fans were in attendance to watch Whitehaven against Swinton.

Bradford Bulls vs Toulouse Olympique
Attendance: 2,798

Featherstone Rovers vs Newcastle Thunder
Attendance: 2,489

Whitehaven vs Swinton Lions
Attendance: 891

Obviously a lot of Featherstone’s success is on the back of the impressive squad they’ve compiled and it could be seen as a Super League or bust style promotion push, something that can be very dangerous.

Their chairman Mark Campbell has now spoken about this style of investment, going as far as to reference that the team requires larger attendances to justify their wage bill.

In response to a Facebook post within a fan page, Campbell stated bluntly the following:

“We have invested in a quality squad and our match day income doesn’t get anywhere near meeting our wage bill.

“Me and Martin (Vickers- CEO) have to work really hard to meet our commitments to keep this going and seeing such poor attendances, coupled with everyone going to The Railway or Rovers Return for a cheaper pint makes it an even harder task to justify the investment in time/money.

He continued: “This can be a monumental year for the club but if the crowds don’t improve, then I aren’t working my tail off to subsidise us having this team.

“Let’s hope we get a good attendance for the Bradford game as they will think they have a chance now, especially after beating Toulouse.”

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