After a stellar weekend of 1895 Cup action, we turn our attention back to the Championship. The majority of teams had a week off, however there were still four teams in action. Halifax overcame a tough test in London as they beat the Broncos to secure their place at Wembley, and Batley downed York to nail down their place in the showpiece event.
But with all the cup drama over and done with for another couple of weeks, what does round 20 of the Championship season have in store? Here are our predictions:
Friday 28th July
Sheffield Eagles 12-30 Halifax Panthers
Both teams have been inconsistent in recent weeks, however the 1895 Cup victory will have added new life to Fax, and this should carry them to a win over Sheffield. Not only will the Panthers be bouncing off the walls after their victory at Rosslyn Park, but they also tore Newcastle apart in their last Championship fixture, whereas the Eagles went into the break on the back of a tough loss to Newcastle. They will also move one point behind their hosts on Friday with a win, so it’ll keep things exciting at the top of the table.
Saturday 29th July
Toulouse 42-12 Keighley Cougars
It’s been a tough ride for the Cougars of late, and a visit to the south of France will only make things worse. Toulouse have been in stellar attacking form in recent weeks, and will be licking their lips ahead of this weekend. This could be a long afternoon for the Keighley faithful.
Featherstone Rovers 18-24 Batley Bulldogs
In a similar line of thought to Halifax, the 1895 Cup win could inspire the Bulldogs to a shock victory over the Rovers. Featherstone have been in stellar form recently, but all good things have to come to an end. They had a nervy escape last time out against Barrow, which shows they are there for the taking if the opportunity arises. On the flip side, Batley put in an inspired performance on Sunday, and a repeat of this could guide them to a win over Featherstone.
Sunday 30th July
London Broncos 18-6 York City Knights
A tough one to call between both of the beaten semi-finalists, but ultimately London should emerge victorious. Both teams will be eyeing up a spot in the top six; however the Broncos are the closest of the two and a win on Sunday could see them end the weekend in it, which is the perfect way to get over a semi-final defeat. That should motivate the Broncos to secure the two points on Sunday.
Newcastle Thunder 6-24 Swinton Lions
A battle at the bottom between the Thunder and the Lions, however the Lions should come out with a win. Newcastle have struggled all season, but Swinton have taken some famous scalps this season, including a famous win over Toulouse. Swinton also pushed London Broncos close before the break, and that should carry them to a win over bottom side Newcastle.
Widnes 24-12 Whitehaven
Things aren’t going smoothly for Whitehaven at the moment, and Sunday could add some salt into the wounds. Widnes have struggled this season, however they won two on the spin prior to the break. On the other hand, Whitehaven have lost their last three, including a heavy defeat to Featherstone and a shock defeat to bottom side Newcastle. A win for Widnes could also kickstart a late push for the playoffs, and that will be a big motivator for them.
Monday 31st July
Bradford Bulls 36-18 Barrow Raiders
Bradford have been in decent form of late, and they should power past Barrow on Monday. The Bulls have won two of their last three, and the performances in those wins were incredible. They put rivals Keighley to the sword and they ran riot against Whitehaven just before the break, however a surprise loss to Widnes in the middle of those wins reflects their inconsistency this season. Barrow come into this game off the back of three straight defeats, and whilst they have been tight affairs, they won’t have enough to get back on track against Bradford.