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Honor James

Double delight as Halifax hosts Northern Rail finals day

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The Northern Rail Cup final will take on an extra dimension in 2013 with a new venue and double the excitement following the introduction of the new Northern Rail Bowl final.

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:

Group A

Oldham

Rochdale Hornets

Gateshead Thunder

North Wales Crusaders

Group B

South Wales Scorpions

London Skolars

Gloucestershire All Golds

Hemel Stags

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.

-ends-

John Ledger

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Right then. I had been tasked with organising a mate's stag do centred around the NRC Final. When it was slated for Blackpool, the weekend practically wrote itself.

I don't want to sound dismissive of Halifax and all that is has to offer but, erm, what does it have to offer? The groom is still up for the rugby, especially as there are now going to be two games so we're definitely off to Yorkshire for the weekend...

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I understand the decision is for cost reasons, but sad that it's no longer at Blackpool. Even sadder if it transpires the final is a home game for one of the teams; not that I've anything against Fax, but the finals ought to be at a neutral venue.

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Right then. I had been tasked with organising a mate's stag do centred around the NRC Final. When it was slated for Blackpool, the weekend practically wrote itself.

I don't want to sound dismissive of Halifax and all that is has to offer but, erm, what does it have to offer? The groom is still up for the rugby, especially as there are now going to be two games so we're definitely off to Yorkshire for the weekend...

What does Halifax have to offer? What do you want to do, beyond drink and watch rugby? :lol:

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I applaud the move away from Blackpool - lets keep as much money in the game as at all possible - but would have been happy for it to move to Salford.However,with both Warrington and Saints hosting a number of important games,I suppose a Final in Yorks is sensible.Centrally located,good facilities,can't see much to complain about,although,no doubt others will.

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I applaud the move away from Blackpool - lets keep as much money in the game as at all possible - but would have been happy for it to move to Salford.However,with both Warrington and Saints hosting a number of important games,I suppose a Final in Yorks is sensible.Centrally located,good facilities,can't see much to complain about,although,no doubt others will.

My only issue is that of potential neutrality. Beyond that, I'm quite happy for it to be at the Shay for the reasons you state. Would be good if a plan B was offered in case Fax made the final, such as the Keepmoat or the LSV.

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Kenny,very easy to base yourself in Leeds and travel over.

Good shout. Would a cab/minibus between the towns set us back much?

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Good shout. Would a cab/minibus between the towns set us back much?

Probably a fair few quid. It's a fairly easy train journey though, and trains are roughly every 20 mins or so throughout the day, less frequent but still at least one an hour into the evening.

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I dont mind that its at Fax, good stadium, easy access, good public transport links, just of the M62 etc, agree its not somewhere you'd go for the weekend, but all in all a decent venue. I'm the same in that if Halifax get to the final it will cause unnecessary issues for the RFL.

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Probably a fair few quid. It's a fairly easy train journey though, and trains are roughly every 20 mins or so throughout the day, less frequent but still at least one an hour into the evening.

All good advice. Cheers!

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The only problem I have. Is in theory fax could have 4 home games and lift the trophy. So have they really won the trophy with having home advantage from the off?

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Agreed it a good day out gone for the championship clubs I have nothing against Fax and I now hope they win it to prove to the RFL that this is the wrong decision. Firstly I know it is a cost issue but its the only chance for the championship fans to have a good day out which I was lucky to have last year Secondly of all the grounds they pick one where that club that is hosting it has a very good chance of getting there but as a fan the RFL won't be bothered what I think

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Right then. I had been tasked with organising a mate's stag do centred around the NRC Final. When it was slated for Blackpool, the weekend practically wrote itself.

I don't want to sound dismissive of Halifax and all that is has to offer but, erm, what does it have to offer? The groom is still up for the rugby, especially as there are now going to be two games so we're definitely off to Yorkshire for the weekend...

You've got Rugby and a brewery - what more are you looking for?

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My only issue is that of potential neutrality. Beyond that, I'm quite happy for it to be at the Shay for the reasons you state. Would be good if a plan B was offered in case Fax made the final, such as the Keepmoat or the LSV.

Great idea. As much as I love the Shay and the mighty mighty Fax, it really wouldn't be fair for them to have home advantage. Plus it wouldn't seem like such a big occasion to the players if they made the final, playing at a ground they play and train on regularly. I don't see why Leeds get to play the WCC on their own ground either

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The final HAS to be a neutral venue, appalling decision unless there is an alternative venue if Fax get there but that would be unrealistic due to the planning involved in moving the venue after the semi-final .

The mind truly boggles to what decision the RFL will come up with next. Negative , of course I am negative, would a Wigan fan be happy going to a major final playing Wire or saints at their own ground?

It would not be allowed EVER

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How about freshening up the super league grand final, lets says headingley. Dont think rugby league will change any of the super league finals, just mess with the championship.

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How about freshening up the super league grand final, lets says headingley. Dont think rugby league will change any of the super league finals, just mess with the championship.

The Clubs voted for it due to the costs involved with taking it to a football or SL ground.

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The Clubs voted for it due to the costs involved with taking it to a football or SL ground.

I stand corrected.

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Never mind all that. The Northern Rail Bowl has given a meaning to the Northern Rail Cup for Championship 1 sides. I'm hoping for a South Wales Scorpions v North Wales Crusaders final.

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Blackpool is an absolute hole of a place. Glad all the clubs have selected to have the games at Halifax. Dare say its a reward as well for the work the council and the club have put in to promoting the RLWC.

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Right then. I had been tasked with organising a mate's stag do centred around the NRC Final. When it was slated for Blackpool, the weekend practically wrote itself.

I don't want to sound dismissive of Halifax and all that is has to offer but, erm, what does it have to offer? The groom is still up for the rugby, especially as there are now going to be two games so we're definitely off to Yorkshire for the weekend...

Halifax is not exactly short of pubs and does have a reputation for its nightlife! It has a number of Pubs that serve Real Ale if you are into that. It also has a number of nightclubs that stay open til early sunday morning. Depends what type of night you want. If its a classy night out then forget Halifax. If its a wild night then Halifax is probably one of the best around to spend the night in.

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