Broadcast boost for Betfred Championship and League One

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The Rugby Football League is delighted to confirm that in 2019 there will be more broadcast coverage of the Betfred Championship and League One in the UK and around the world than ever before.

Sky Sports will broadcast games from the Championship Play-Offs at the end of the season culminating with the £1Million Game that determines promotion to the Betfred Super League in 2020 – the Betfred Championship Play-Off Final.

Toronto Wolfpack have also secured a deal to produce all of their games in the UK and Canada – and after discussions ongoing since the end of last season involving the Rugby Football League, the Wolfpack and Sky Sports, agreement has been reached for all the matches to be available for live broadcast on Sky Sports platforms in the UK with distribution deals around the world to be confirmed over the next few weeks.

In addition, the Rugby Football League have secured agreement from Sky Sports to show live matches from the Betfred Championship and League One through the Our League membership platforms (app & web) in 2019.

The additional coverage was announced at today’s RFL season launch in York – where the Wolfpack begin their Championship campaign against the newly-promoted City Knights at Bootham Crescent on Sunday week (February 3).

The first live Our League match will be the Betfred League One opener between Newcastle Thunder and Doncaster at Kingston Park Stadium on Saturday February 16 – which is the first part of a double header, followed by the Toronto-Widnes Betfred Championship fixture that will now be shown live on Sky Sports.

With the Our League platforms also showing matches from the Coral Challenge Cup, the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup, the 1895 Cup and the Women’s Super League, that means at least one live match per week will be available for Our League members.

And Our League will also carry a magazine show dedicated to Betfred Championship and League One, featuring a compilation of the best action, and focusing on the biggest personalities and talking points in the game.

“This is fantastic news for all the fans and clubs of the Betfred Championship and League One with both competitions being broadcast more than ever before,” said Mark Foster, who heads the RFL’s commercial department.

“It couldn’t have happened without the co-operation and support of Sky Sports and the Toronto Wolfpack and we wish to thank both organisations for helping us to tell the story to millions in the UK and around the world of what will be a fantastic 2019 season for the Betfred Championship and League One in 2019.

“We saw with the reaction to Sky Sports’ live coverage of the £1M Game between the Wolfpack and London Broncos in Toronto last autumn what a massive boost that was to the profile of the Betfred Championship.

“So we are delighted that Sky Sports are committed to showing this year’s £1M Game, to determine who earns promotion to the Betfred Super League in 2020.

“And with Our League now able to extend last season’s coverage of Betfred League One into the Betfred Championship, members will be able to follow the story of the season with live matches every week and also the magazine programme which we believe the competitions deserve.

“With the Summer Bash in Blackpool, and the 1895 Cup, there’s so much to relish in 2019 – starting with the first round of seven matches in the Betfred Championship on Super Sunday, February 3, and now featuring live coverage of the York-Toronto match.

“We are proud of the development of the Our League Membership Scheme and its digital platforms, which now has almost 90,000 members just over a year after its launch. It also allows us to provide regular coverage of the Women’s Super League and the community game – so members can look forward to a feast of Rugby League this year.”

To join Our League simply visit membership.rugby-league.com or download the Our League app via the App Store or Google Play

Coral to sponsor men’s and women’s Challenge Cups

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  • Historic deal includes women’s competition for the first time
  • Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final to be staged with men’s semi finals in a triple-header at University of Bolton Stadium in July
  • Catalans Dragons confirmed to defend the Coral Challenge Cup

The Rugby Football League have agreed an historic commercial partnership with Coral to include both the men’s and women’s Challenge Cups in a two-year, seven-figure deal.

The two competitions will come together when the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final shares the stage with the men’s semi finals in a triple header at the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday July 27.

The men’s Coral Challenge Cup Final will be held at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 24.

“This is a really significant day both for the Challenge Cup, and for women’s Rugby League,” said Ralph Rimmer, the RFL chief executive.

“The men’s Challenge Cup is one of the iconic competitions and trophies of British sport, with more than 120 years of history, and the famous Wembley final televised live to the nation and the world by the BBC.

“The Women’s Challenge Cup may not have that history, but Coral’s enthusiasm for it to be part of a joint sponsorship deal confirms our determination that it is set for a really exciting future.

“With Coral’s name now linked to both the men’s and women’s Challenge Cups, it’s equally exciting to be able to extend the double header for the men’s semi finals that proved such a big hit last year, and now incorporate the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final.

“The University of Bolton Stadium proved a popular venue for the sold-out double header last summer, so we’re delighted to be going back for a triple header in 2019.

“We are confident that thousands of the supporters of the teams who reach the semi finals of the men’s Coral Challenge Cup will also take the opportunity to watch the outstanding spectacle provided by our best women’s teams – and that will ensure their skills and athleticism are seen by the record audience they deserve.”

Adrian Osman, the Head of Sponsorship and Events at Coral, said: “The Rugby League Challenge Cup and the final at Wembley are flagship events in British sport, and we are delighted that Coral’s name will now be associated with them in this significant deal. In addition, the opportunity to get involved with women’s sport and the development of women’s Rugby League as the first title sponsors of the Women’s Challenge Cup is hugely exciting for us – and combining the final with the semi finals of the Coral Challenge Cup should produce another great event. We’re really looking forward to seeing the two competitions unfold through the spring and summer.

Leeds Rhinos are the Women’s Challenge Cup holders, having beaten Castleford Tigers in a classic final at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium last summer.

The RFL also confirmed today that the 2018 Wembley winners Catalans Dragons will defend the Coral Challenge Cup, after reaching an agreement with the French club to end recent uncertainty about their participation.

They will enter the competition at the Sixth Round stage in May, having finished in the top eight of the Super League in 2018.

The teams who finished in the bottom four will enter in the Fifth Round in April.

The Road to Wembley begins this weekend, with 52 community clubs competing in First-Round ties from Portsmouth to Wallsend, and featuring Sunday’s meeting on the Cumbrian coast between the oldest amateur club in the country, Millom, and the Challenge Cup newcomers Red Star Belgrade – which will be streamed live on the BBC Sport online platforms.

The Trans-Pennine battle between Orrell St James and Holmfirth’s Underbank Rangers will be shown live on the RFL’s Our League membership App and Website the previous day.

Tickets for the triple header at the University of Bolton on Saturday July 27 go on sale today, and are available here – https://rugbyleague.tickethour.co.uk/seatingPlan.html?idProduct=560.

Tickets for the Coral Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 24 are available here – https://www.rugby-league.com/tickets/challenge_cup_final

 

Coral Challenge Cup, 2019

First Round Jan 26-27, Second Round Feb 9-10, Third Round March 9-10, Fourth Round March 30-31, Fifth Round April 13-14, Sixth Round May 11-12.

Quarter Finals June 1-2.

Semi Finals – Saturday July 27, University of Bolton Stadium (triple header, also including Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final)

Final – Saturday August 24, Wembley Stadium, 230pm.

(Dates for earlier rounds of Coral Women’s Challenge Cup to be confirmed shortly)

Brave Bulldogs edged out in thriller

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A fantastic effort from The Bulldogs ends in narrow defeat to John Kear’s full-time Bradford Bulls, in the K2 Yorkshire Cup Final.
Match report to follow

BREARLEY BULLDOG!

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Ahead of this Sunday’s Yorkshire Cup Final, towering forward Paul Brearley has signed a one year contract with the club.

The 6″7 back row man joined the squad as a trialist, and has played in each of the pre-season games so far. A former Rochdale Mayfield player, he has been impressive in all appearances so far, scoring a fine try against Hunslet at Odsal to cup a stand-out performance on the day.

Paul is delighted to be joining the squad for the season and looking forward to playing his part.
“I’m really happy to be here, it’s a great set of lads with a lot of quality. I’m learning a lot and hope to be able to get as many games as I can under my belt.”

Coach Matt Diskin told us “Paul has been a revelation to the group, both in training and on the field. His performances have been very good, we’re delighted to have him with us”

Bulldogs 22-18 York City Knights

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The Bulldogs secured a place in the K2 Yorkshire Cup Final, coming from 0-18 behind, in a pulsating tie against a superb York City Knights.
As with all the Yorkshire Cup ties so far, the game looked nothing like a friendly as both sides gave everything with the home side grabbing the win just minutes from time.

Report to follow.

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The inaugural Yorkshire Cup has so far been a huge success with combined attendance of almost 5000 for the two double headers last weekend.

The Knights secured their place in the semi-final with victory over Hunslet Club Parkside 34-4  last weekend, whilst The Bulldogs overcame Hunslet RLFC with a 36-0 victory, and will now face York City Knights at The Fox’s Biscuits Stadium on Sunday 13th January. Kick Off 2pm.

ADVANCE TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE UNTIL MIDNIGHT SATURDAY
ADULTS £13, CONCESSIONS £8

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GATE ADMISSION ON THE DAY
£15 ADULTS, £10 CONCESSIONS.

JUNIORS GO FREE!!

Bulldogs’ Head Coach Matt Diskin was pleased with this side’s performace at Odsal Stadium in the opening Yorkshire Cup fixture, and is looking forward to a difficult tie this Sunday.

“I was really happy with our shape against Hunslet, We defended well against a quality attack and to keep a score to zero against any opposition is impressive. With the ball I thought we played some great rugby.
We were fast and created lot of problems for Hunslet. We still have work to do for the start of the league campaign, but things are coming together and the progress so far is very good.”

“York will present us with different challenges and this is sure to be a tough and exciting game. It’s one we’re really looking forward to.”

Yorkshire Cup victory for Bulldogs

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Batley Bulldogs moved into the K2 Yorkshire Cup Semi-Finals with a hard fought victory over Hunslet, in a tough game at Odsal Stadium.

Both sides were reduced to 12 men early on as Richard Moore (Hunslet) Joe Taira (Batley) were shown red cards for violent conduct after an off the ball clash. The opening quarter was tight with Hunslet having much of the ball but beung unable to break down a resolute Batley defence.

Sam Wood opened the scoring for The Bulldogs after a smart interchange, James Brown charged over from short range soon after before Wood added his secon of the day. Louis Jouffret and Adam Gledhill added further scores, with Scott converting 2 to give Matt Diskin’s men a 26-0 half time lead.

The second half was a close affair with defences on top until a rampaging break from trialist Paul Brearley extended the lead and within minutes the impressive Keenen Tomlinson completed the try scoring in the corner, Dave Scott added a magnificent conversion and The Bulldogs sealed a 36-0 win.

Batley will now face York City Knights at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium in the Semi-Finals on Sunday 13th January, 2pm.
Today’s other victors, Bradford Bulls will entertain Dewsbury Rams at Odsal, Saturday 12th January at 5.30pm

The remaining clubs will play a double header at the LD Nutrition Stadium, Featherstone on Saturday with Rovers taking on Hunslet Parkside at 1pm, and Halifax v Hunslet at 3pm

Super League Law Changes for 2019

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Super League will feature shot clocks, Golden Point extra time and a number of other changes to the laws and playing conditions in 2019 to introduce more speed and on-field drama for spectators and television viewers to enjoy.

The shot clocks will be installed this month at each of the 12 grounds that will regularly stage matches in the Betfred Super League, as a visible and pivotal part of the process of reducing the number and length of stoppages in matches and ensuring more action with the ball in play.

The new rules are explained in full today (January 1) on Super League’s digital channels, https://www.rugby-league.com/superleague/new_beginnings and will be introduced to players and spectators in selected pre-season fixtures.

And in less than a month, on Thursday January 31, the 2018 Grand Final winners Wigan Warriors will launch their defence of the Betfred Super League title at fierce local rivals St Helens as part of a blockbuster opening round which includes further televised matches between Hull KR and Hull FC (Friday February 1) and Warrington Wolves versus Leeds Rhinos (Saturday February 2).

Teams will be penalised if they fail to beat the shot clock for scrums (35 seconds) or drop-outs (30 seconds) – while sanctions will also be introduced to ensure that no more than 80 seconds of match time is used up by each kick at goal.

With the number of interchanges available to each team reduced from 10 to eight, the demands on Super League players will become even greater – emphasising the attritional nature of the contest, rewarding the fittest and most mobile players, and providing additional attacking opportunities for the most skilful.

In addition, in the last five minutes of each fixture, the clock will automatically be stopped following a penalty or a drop goal that goes out of the field of play, or a conversion – or after a try, if a team chooses not to take the conversion attempt.

That process will be extended if the scores are level at full-time by the introduction of Golden Point extra time, providing two five-minute periods in which to determine a winner.

The 12 Betfred Super League clubs proposed these law changes after extensive consultation with players, coaches, fans, commercial partners and the NRL, during and following the 2018 season.

Given the likely increased pressure on all match officials as a result of the quickening pace of the game, clubs gave their support for a second referee for all Super League fixtures. However, when considered alongside the other changes, and timeframes available, the Super League clubs agreed with the RFL to defer the introduction of the second referee – with trials to take place during 2019.

Super League chief executive Robert Elstone said: “There’s been a lot of talk about the changes we’re making for 2019, and New Year’s Day feels like the right time to confirm them, and to outline them in full.

“The changes to our rules and laws are there to highlight what’s different and special about Super League. Our competition will get faster, more intense and more dramatic.  They will provide our players with an even better platform to show their outstanding athleticism, courage and skill.

“There’s a growing frustration across sport with time-wasting, gamesmanship and a lack of transparency and integrity in time-keeping. We listened to our supporters and commentators, and the changes are focused on emphasising our sport’s key attributes of intensity, relentlessness and integrity.

“There’s so much to look forward to for Super League fans in 2019. We will be entertained by some great new players arriving from the NRL. These players will be tested, week-in, week-out by the ever-growing and ever-more talented crop of young homegrown players, many of whom debuted with such promise and confidence in 2018.

“Next month we’ll see the very best of the NRL in the World Club Challenge between Wigan Warriors and Sydney Roosters, followed in May by Super League taking over a great city and a great stadium with the Dacia Magic Weekend at Anfield.

“By June, Wigan fans will have been able to watch their team at Old Trafford, Anfield and the Camp Nou – what a journey, and what a prospect, to see the Catalans Dragons entertaining our 2018 champions at the home of Lionel Messi.

“We hope supporters will welcome the rule changes we’re announcing today as part of those New Beginnings – and cannot wait to get the season started.”

Bulldogs go green on plastic glasses

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Thanks to sponsorship from loyal Bulldogs supporter and sponsor Andy Robinson of the Cellar Bar we are launching our new reusable plastic pint glasses on Boxing Day which will then continue throughout the season including friendlies. The new plastic glasses are in two designs and also branded with our sponsors name.

The Cellar Bar is of course opposite Batley railway station on Station Rd and is the start of the famous and now very popular Ale Trail. As part of the deal we have supplied some plastic glasses to Andy as we seek to promote the branding of the Club to his customers be they local or from outside the town.Andy commented “ We have previously sponsored the Club in many different ways through the Cellar Bar and our Cattery business including being on the team shorts. This year I was asked to sponsor these new branded glasses and I agreed as I want to help the Club prosper in any way that I can. I hope supporters think this is a good idea.”
When purchasing your first pint at each game you will be asked to pay a refundable deposit of £1 for the plastic glass. If you buy any further drinks it can be reused or exchanged for another glass at no cost. If you return the glass undamaged you can receive a refund of £1 hence no cost to you. Alternatively you may wish to keep the glass to use at home and it then has cost you £1. The choice is yours and so there need be no cost to you at all..

Previously we used disposable plastic glasses which were only used for one drink then thrown away. Clearly that creates waste and with all the issues about plastic waste we think this is also a good way of doing our bit to reduce that waste.
Chief Executive Paul Harrison commented “ On a Monday after every home game we have a group of volunteers who carry out a clean up of the ground which can be a big operation especially after a big game. This initiative should make the job a little bit easier without all the throw away one use plastic glasses to clear up and should reduce our skip use so it’s good from a practical point of view. Also with our wind turbine, solar panels and now this we must be the most environmentally friendly Club in Rugby League! I like the look of the new glasses and they are a lot more sturdy than the old ones. Also I think people will want them as souvenirs and will be good for use in the garden at home as they do not break and can simply be washed and used again and again. I hope supporters will agree this is a great idea all round.

Finally Commercial Manager Danny  Maun added” This is a brilliant new idea at the Club and I especially want to thank Andy and the Cellar Bar for helping us make this happen. It is a great sponsorship and I am delighted that Andy never hesitated when asked to help. This is just one way sponsors can get involved and take the Club forward but this season I aim to get out there and make everyone aware of the Bulldogs and how they can also get involved with their local Club and enjoy being part of our community. I am excited as all sponsors I have spoken to so far are very positive and I am confident our sponsors will increase in 2019 to help us be a great traditional club playing an important role in the area.”

Law Amendments 2019

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The Rugby Football League today confirms amendments to laws and playing conditions that will be introduced for the Betfred Championship and League One, the Challenge Cup and the 1895 Cup in the 2019 season.

These changes will be implemented from mid-January – meaning fixtures played over the Christmas and New Year period will be played under the laws as they applied in the 2018 season (although clubs will have flexibility on interchanges, as they are non-competition fixtures).

The RFL have acceded to the majority view of the Championship and League One clubs that Golden Point extra time should not be introduced for regular league fixtures – meaning matches can still be drawn at full-time.

Further details will follow about the implementation of a number of other amendments to laws and playing conditions for the Betfred Super League, which will also be applied at other levels, and these will be announced early in the New Year.

Amendments

** – Applies in Betfred Championship, Betfred League One, the Challenge Cup, and the 1895 Cup.

1 – Free Play **

Free Play will revert to regular advantage.  The referee is the sole judge of what constitutes an advantage, be it tactical or territorial.

2 – Interchange **

Each team will be allowed to make a maximum of eight interchanges from the four replacements that are named on the official team sheet.

In the event of a Golden Point game (see below), each team will receive an additional two interchanges, alongside any unused interchanges.

3 – Golden Point

For Play-Off matches in the Championship and League One, and in all Challenge Cup ties, and all matches in the new 1895 Cup, Golden Point extra-time will be played.

In all cases, extra time will be played in periods of five minutes, with the game ending when a point is scored. Interchange rules are explained above.

For league matches in the Championship and League One, a match with scores level at full-time will be drawn, with each team taking one competition point.