The 2013 Northern Rail Cup final and the 2013 Northern Rail Bowl final will be staged at The Shay on Saturday July 20 when the home of Kingstone Press Championship club Halifax hosts two extraordinary contests on a day which has traditionally provided one of the highlights of the Rugby League calendar.
Before the Northern Rail Cup final, the inaugural Northern Rail Bowl final will be contested by the two Kingstone Press Championship One clubs which topped their respective Northern Rail Cup groups prior to the knock-out stages of the competition. Should a Championship One club reach the Northern Rail Cup final, the club placed second in its group will play in the Bowl final.
"The Northern Rail Cup final has always delivered a feast of entertaining Rugby League and the introduction of the Northern Rail Bowl will make this great occasion even more memorable," said RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer.
"This is a very exciting year for the sport with an expanded Championship and three new clubs entering Championship One: with an extra trophy up for grabs, I fully expect the action to be even more cut-throat over the coming months.
"Every team now has a realistic possibility of a final appearance on the big stage: from the moment the ball is kicked-off in every Northern Rail Cup fixture, every pass, every tackle and every score will count!
"I am also delighted that we have been able to reach agreement to stage the double header at The Shay, which will also be a host venue for Rugby League World Cup 2013 later this year.
"Halifax and Calderdale Council have invested significantly in a facility which is the envy of many other sports clubs around the country and I am sure everyone who attends the finals day will enjoy the experience and receive a warm welcome."
Halifax are the current holders of the Northern Rail Cup having lifted the trophy following a 21-12 victory over Featherstone Rovers at Blackpool last year.
Blackpool hosted eight successive finals from 2005 to 2012 and was a popular venue but for 2013 the Championships clubs and the RFL felt the competition needed a fresh look to accommodate the new Northern Rail finals double header.
Northern Rail Projects Manager Ian Hall said: "The Northern Rail Bowl is a fantastic concept which will enhance an occasion which has grown in stature with every passing year. We are delighted to be associated with this exciting double header and are looking forward to a special day at The Shay, when the Northern Rail Cup and Northern Rail Bowl will provide a full day of exciting rugby action for fans across the Northern Rail network."
Halifax Chairman Michael Steele said: "Everyone at Halifax RLFC is delighted by the decision to hold the Northern Rail Cup finals day at The Shay. Whichever teams participate, their fans will experience great facilities, convenient parking near the ground, a good rail service from the sponsors and a warm welcome from the town."
Calderdale Council's Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Pauline Nash, said: "We are delighted that the RFL is hosting the Northern Rail Cup finals day at The Shay Stadium. This is further testament to Calderdale's fantastic facilities and commitment to sport. With a large crowd anticipated, there will be great tourism and economic benefits for the area.
"2013 is set to be a memorable year of sport for Calderdale, with the Rugby League World Cup also coming to The Shay Stadium on Sunday November 10 for the Italy v Tonga match."
The 2013 Northern Rail Cup kicks off over the weekend of March 2-3 when eight Championship One clubs enter the group stages. The top club in each of the two pools will then join the 14 Championship clubs in the knock-out stages, which commence on the weekend of May 18-19.
The groups are:
North Wales Crusaders
South Wales Scorpions
Gloucestershire All Golds
Each club will play four games, two home and two away. Three games will be between clubs in their pool with one game played against a club in the other pool.
Round 1 - Sunday March 3
Gloucestershire All Golds v Hemel Stags
North Wales Crusaders v Oldham
Rochdale Hornets v Gateshead Thunder
South Wales Scorpions v London Skolars
Round 2 - Sunday March 10
Gateshead Thunder v North Wales Crusaders
Gloucestershire All Golds v South Wales Scorpions
London Skolars v Hemel Stags
Oldham v Rochdale
Round 3 - Sunday March 17
Hemel Stags v South Wales Scorpions
London Skolars v Gloucestershire All Golds
North Wales Crusaders v Rochdale Hornets
Oldham v Gateshead Thunder (3.00pm)
Round 4 - Sunday March 24
Gateshead Thunder v Gloucestershire All Golds
Hemel Stags v North Wales Crusaders
Rochdale Hornets v London Skolars
South Wales v Oldham
Weekend of May 18-19- Northern Rail Cup play-offs
Weekend of June 15-16 - Northern Rail Cup quarter-finals
Weekend of June 29-30 - Northern Rail Cup semi-finals
Saturday July 20 - Northern Rail Cup final and Northern Rail Bowl final
Details of ticket prices and availability for the 2013 Northern Rail Cup finals day at The Shay, Halifax, on Saturday July 20 will be announced in the next few weeks.
Edited by Honor James, 13 February 2013 - 03:25 PM.