Sky Sports have once again given a huge boost to Rugby League’s Betfred Championship, with confirmation that they will provide extensive and exclusive coverage of the annual Summer Bash in Blackpool in May (Saturday 30/Sunday 31 May).
Building on the success of the previous five years, the seaside resort will host a weekend of exciting Betfred Championship action at Bloomfield Road which will include all six games being broadcast live on Sky Sports.
With the emphasis on local derbies, Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams will kick start the event at 3pm on the Saturday with the West Yorkshire derby and the highly anticipated clash between Halifax and York City Knights will follow at 5.15pm before Saturday concludes with Featherstone Rovers taking on old rivals Bradford Bulls at 7.30pm.
The TV cameras will showcase Sunday’s mouth-watering fixtures, starting with the local derby between Swinton Lions and Oldham at 1pm, followed by Sheffield Eagles v Whitehaven at 3.15pm and culminating in Leigh Centurions v Widnes Vikings in a repeat of the most-watched fixture of 2019’s successful Bash weekend at 5.30pm.
Rugby Football League Chief Executive, Ralph Rimmer said: “We are delighted that Sky Sports will be at Bloomfield Road to show all the action from the Betfred Championship Summer Bash. The weekend has become a highlight in the Rugby League calendar and we are sure the 2020 event will once again provide some great moments for the fans in the stadium and for those watching at home.
“With all six fixtures being shown live on Sky Sports it is great exposure for the competition and the clubs involved and we thank Betfred, Sky Sports and the clubs for all their continued support.”
Steve Smith, Executive Director of Content for Sky Sports, said: “Sky Sports saw great interest in 2019 for the Summer Bash, it’s a compelling weekend of Rugby League action and our we look forward to bringing it to our customers once again in May.
BATLEY BULLDOGS 20-10 SWITNON LIONS
Craig Lingard’s side are off the mark, after a hard fought victory over a tough Swinton Lions side in difficult conditions at The Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
Match report by Luke Winner.
Craig Lingard secured his first win under the Bulldogs at home against fellow Betfred Championship outfit
The well renowned speedster Johnny Campbell was back in full swing as he claimed the first two tries of
the game coming from some clever play along the line. Hooley couldn’t convert both from out wide.
Swinton were struggling to defend at what was becoming an aggressive Batley attack. Once again
Alistair Leak was in the thick of it, with some stunning quick and delayed passes.
Michael Ward was the last player to cross the whitewash after bundling his way over directly on the
hooter. Morton slotted the conversion, seeing Batley hold a healthy lead at the break.
HALF-TIME: Batley Bulldogs 20 – 0 Swinton Lions
Batley didn’t manage to get over in the second half, with a defiant Lions defence halting any possible
Mitch Cox and Frankie Halton, were the only ones to dash to the line for the visitors after some
successive sets for both eventually saw them over. Jack Hansen converted one out of the two.
FULL-TIME: Batley Bulldogs 20 – 10 Swinton Lions
The only downsides in the game was the sin-bins of Toby Everett and Wayne Reittie (In the first half),
but overall it was a fantastic team effort from the Bulldogs, grinding out a hard fought win in some
tough conditions at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
Bulldogs: Hooley, Reittie, Morton, Galbraith, Campbell, White, Yates, Everett, Leak, Brown, Manning,
Interchanges: Lunt, Dupree, Ward, Blagbrough.
Lions: Butt, Lepori, Morris, Cox, Wood, Hansen, Fairclough, Bennion, Waterworth, Hatton, Lloyd, Halton,
Interchanges: Brickhill, Brogan, Jones, Kenga
The AB Sundecks 1895 Cup will have a fresh look in its second season, with three Community clubs from the National Conference League Premier Division joining 17 from Betfred Championship and League 1 for a second opportunity in 2020 to reach a Wembley Final.
The NCL champions West Hull will join York Acorn and Underbank Rangers – who are both still alive and kicking in the Coral Challenge Cup – in the First Round draw which will be held in Cumbria on March 18.
They will be joined by five clubs from Betfred League 1, all in the knowledge that four wins would secure a trip to Wembley on Saturday July 18 – Barrow Raiders, Doncaster, Keighley Cougars, Newcastle Thunder and Rochdale Hornets.
As last year, the 12 Betfred Championship clubs who have entered the competition have been given a bye to the Second Round, where they will be joined by the four First Round winners – and this year the Second Round draw will also be held on March 18, in the beautiful surroundings of the Ullswater Heights Leisure Resort, to allow clubs more time to plan their fixtures.
The First Round ties are scheduled for the weekend of April 18-19, with the eight Second Round ties to be played in midweek, in the week starting April 27.
The Quarter Finals will be played in the week starting May 11, with both Semi Finals on Sunday June 7 – and the Final again at Wembley Stadium on Coral Challenge Cup Final Day (July 18), but this year being played ahead of the Coral Challenge Cup Final, with a midday kick-off.
Mark Foster, the Chief Commercial Officer of the Rugby Football League, said: “We’ve been delighted by the positive reaction to the announcement of the new kick-off time for the Final of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup at Wembley Stadium on July 18.
“The competition was introduced last year to give non-Super League clubs a second chance to earn a trip to Wembley, and it’s great to see three Community clubs who have already made a big impact in the Coral Challenge Cup this season – Underbank Rangers, West Hull and York Acorn – getting involved.
“Sheffield Eagles and Widnes Vikings were the first two clubs to earn a trip to Wembley last year, and you only had to watch their semi final victories over Batley and Leigh respectively, or the memorable quarter final performances produced by Barrow, Doncaster and York, to see that the competition had gripped the imagination of players, coaches and supporters.
“We’ll again be showing a game from each round on Our League, as well as both Semi Finals.
“We appreciate that playing the Second Round and the Quarter Finals in midweek is challenging, especially for players. But before introducing this new competition last year we discussed all options with the Clubs and it was agreed that it would be unavoidable given the demands of our other competitions. We hope the players and supporters feel that it’s worthwhile for the chance of a trip to Wembley.”
AB Sundecks 1895 Cup
First Round (draw March 18, ties to be played on weekend of April 18-19): Barrow Raiders, Doncaster, Keighley Cougars, Newcastle Thunder, Rochdale Hornets, Underbank Rangers, West Hull, York Acorn.
Second Round (draw March 18, ties to be played week starting April 27): Four First Round winners plus Batley Bulldogs, Bradford Bulls, Dewsbury Rams, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax, Leigh Centurions, Oldham, Sheffield Eagles, Swinton Lions, Whitehaven, Widnes Vikings, York City Knights.
Quarter Finals: Week starting May 11
Semi Finals: Sunday June 7
Final: Saturday July 18, Wembley Stadium (Midday kick-off).
Batley Bulldogs have reached an agreement with Leeds Rhinos that will allow a small number of the players the opportunity to play in the new Reserve competition alongside squad players from the Rhinos, and their dual registration partners Featherstone Rovers.
The Reserves, coached by Rob Burrow, had their opening game of the season postponed on Sunday at Wakefield due to Storm Ciara, but will make their bow this Saturday at Stanningley against Bradford Bulls, kick off 12 noon.
The majority of the Rhinos side will be made up of contracted Leeds Rhinos players however Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield has now reached agreements with Leeds Beckett University, Featherstone Rovers and Batley Bulldogs to allow players from outside of the Super League competition the opportunity to impress alongside full time players in the Reserves.
Commenting on the announcement Sinfield said, “We have a long and successful partnership with Featherstone Rovers that has been to the benefit of our young players in recent years and allowed Rovers to maintain their challenge at the top of the Betfred Championship. Whilst that will continue, we are also able to now offer their players the chance to play in our reserves.
“Likewise, Sam Walters and Jack Broadbent greatly benefitted from a loan spell at Batley and this continues our relationship with them. Our young forward Tyler Dupree will join Batley on loan, initially for a month, and will be available Craig Lingard this weekend for the Bulldogs clash with Swinton Lions.
“The challenge we all face is making sure that players not involved with the first team are able to get gametime each week and this is a great solution to that issue and will ensure we have the strongest possible side to play in the Reserve competition,” added Sinfield.
The Bulldogs Coral Challenge Cup Round Four fixture against Leigh Centurions will be played on Friday, February 21 with an 8pm kick-off.
Supporters can pre-purchase tickets in person at the Leigh Sports Village Stadium Ticket Office, online at www.leightickets.co.uk or by calling 01942 487888.
|Leigh Centurions vs Batley Bulldogs Ticket Prices|
|Adult Season Ticket*||£18.00||£20.00|
|Over 65/18-21 years||£15.00||£17.00|
|Over 65/18-21 years Season Ticket*||£13.00||£15.00|
|Junior Season Ticket*||FOC||FOC|
|Under 5 years||Free of charge||Free of charge|
|Free of charge junior tickets must be claimed before 12pm on Friday 21st February 2020|
If you wish to purchase ambulant disabled or wheelchair disabled tickets, you can do so directly through the Ticket Office. These are priced according to the relevant category above, with a complimentary ticket provided for a carer. Please be aware that appropriate proof of disability may be requested and will need to be registered with the Ticket Office.
The Bulldogs battled hard against a powerful Featherstone Rovers side, and for long periods more than matched their big spending opponents in the season opener at The Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
Match Report by Luke Winner.
Batley got their season underway away hosting top 4 hopefuls Featherstone Rovers in an exciting physical game of rugby.
In the first half both sides showed their skill, with fast flowing ball play and well exercised kicks gaining equal field position.
The first try of the afternoon did come from the visitors with the former Toronto flyer Greg Worthington darting across. Dane Chisholm converted.
Craig Lingards men were soon set to even the scoreline through Lewis Galbraith seeing him latch onto a pin pointed kick from Danny Yates. Morton slotted over the conversion.
Alistair Leak followed in spectacular fashion placing the Bulldogs ahead coming from a swift break by Anthony Bowman who created the opportunity. Morton added the extras.
As half-time loomed Featherstone replied with Luke Briscoe scoring. Dane Chisholm converted.
HALF-TIME: Batley Bulldogs 12 – 12 Featherstone
Featherstone came out as they meant to go on in the second half, with halfback Dane Chisholm leaping onto the white wash twice, converting both his tries.
The hosts did hit back as new recruit Lucas Walshaw collected a delayed pass from Ben White to crash over. Dale Morton added the extras.
Once again Rovers star Dane Chisholm caused nothing but problems for the Bulldogs defence seeing Batley concede a penalty. Dane Chisholm opted for the two and converted.
In the final closing minutes Josh Hardcastle and former Batley player James Harrison extended their lead further. Dane Chisholm converted both.
FULL-TIME: Batley Bulldogs 18 – 38 Featherstone Rovers
Batley Bulldogs has partnered with SwitchAid to offer savings on energy and utility bills, and raise vital funds for the club at the same time.
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Head to our SwitchAid page HERE and Switch, Save & Donate to Batley Bulldogs today.
Our very own James Brown has already made the move & found substantial savings on his bills.
Coach Craig Lingard has added to his numbers for the coming campaign.
Young Back Row Nyle Flynn has signed with The Bulldogs for 2020 after impressing in the pre-season fixtures.
He joined the squad as a trialist for pre-season and featured in 3 of the 4 games, with strong perormances against Dewsbury, Hunslet and Hull FC.
Nyle follows in the footsteps of his dad, Adrian Flynn, a fan’s favourite during his time with the club.
Welcome to Batley Buldogs Nyle!
A fantastic evening at Batley IDLC last Friday where last season’s Player Sponsors received their shirt from the 2019 campaign.
The 2020 Player Sponsors in attendance were also introduce to the squad.
Just a few players still remain available for sponsorship in the coming season, for details contact PaulHarrison@Batleybulldogs.co.uk
Sky Sports to show Betfred Championship Play-Offs in 2020
Play-Off structure for Championship and League 1 amended
New Wembley kick-off time for AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final
The Rugby Football League today confirm an amended structure for the Betfred Championship and League 1 Play-Offs in 2020; live and exclusive coverage of the Championship Play-Offs and Final on Sky Sports; and a new kick-off time for the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup at Wembley in July.
The RFL held a launch event today at Huddersfield Town Hall, the venue chosen as the sport celebrates 125 years since its foundation as the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895 at Huddersfield’s George Hotel.
All 14 clubs from the Betfred Championship, and 11 from Betfred League 1, were represented, in addition to players, coaches and administrators from the Betfred Women’s Super League, the Wheelchair Super League, the Physical Disability Super League, the Learning Disability Super League, the National Conference League, the RFL Youth Board, Masters Rugby League, Touch, Try Tag, the new X-League, and other competitions in the community game.
In 2020, the winners of the Betfred Championship’s Top Five Play-Offs will again be promoted to the Betfred Super League – but the Play-Offs structure has been slightly amended.
Whereas previously, home advantage through the Play-Offs has been determined by position in the final league table, those rankings can now be changed by results in the Play-Offs.
This means that the winners of the major Semi Final in Round Two of the Play-Offs will earn home advantage in the Grand Final two weeks later – while the losers of that Semi Final will have home advantage in the Preliminary Final the following weekend.
The same system will apply to the Betfred League 1 Play-Offs involving the teams finishing second, third, fourth, fifth and six in the table – with the winners of the Betfred League 1 Play-Off Final earning promotion to the Betfred Championship in 2021 with the team finishing top of the table (the League Leaders).
In a major pre-season boost to the Betfred Championship, Sky Sports have also confirmed that they will again show live and exclusive coverage of the Play-Offs and Final – the latter scheduled for the weekend of October 3-4.
The RFL can also confirm today that the Final of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup will kick off at midday at Wembley Stadium on Saturday July 18 – before the Final of the Coral Challenge Cup at 3pm.
Last year, Sheffield Eagles were crowned the inaugural winners of the knockout competition for non-Super League clubs by beating Widnes Vikings at Wembley, with the match being played after the Coral Challenge Cup Final, and kicking off at 545pm.
The traditional Wembley curtain-raiser, the Year 7 Boys Final in the Warners Champion Schools competition, will now have a morning kick-off, before the 1895 Cup Final.
Mark Foster, the RFL’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We’re delighted to be able to confirm that Sky Sports will again be showing the Betfred Championship Play-Offs this autumn, allowing them to capture the twists and turns in the battle for promotion to the Betfred Super League.
“It’s great exposure for our leading Championship clubs, adding to the exciting expanded programme of coverage on the RFL’s Our League platform this season with a new focus on live Sunday night matches.
“Our League will also be providing extensive coverage of Betfred League 1 including the Play-Offs, and we have listened to the views of the clubs in both competitions in making changes to the structure of the Play-Offs in both which will provide a greater reward for results during the Play-Offs themselves.
“We’ve also listened to the views of clubs and supporters in working to change the kick-off time of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup. We’re grateful for the co-operation of Wembley Stadium in allowing us to bring the kick-off forward, and we hope that change will be welcomed – and ensure a suitable atmosphere in the stadium when the winners receive their trophy.”