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John Drake

Northern Rail Cup - Week 1

Which game are you most looking forward to?   21 members have voted

  1. 1. Which game are you most looking forward to?

    • Gloucestershire All Golds v Hemel Stags
      12
    • North Wales Crusaders v Oldham
      4
    • Rochdale Hornets v Gateshead Thunder
      3
    • South Wales Scorpions v London Skolars
      2

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42 posts in this topic

Discuss the games here.

Sun 3 Mar: Gloucestershire All Golds v Hemel Stags - KO 3pm

Sun 3 Mar: North Wales Crusaders v Oldham - KO 2.30pm

Sun 3 Mar: Rochdale Hornets v Gateshead Thunder - KO 3pm

Sun 3 Mar: South Wales Scorpions v London Skolars - KO 3pm

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well up for the Stags' visit to the west. Hope it's a great game and Hemel get off to a good start. History being made with these two debuting, GET DOWN THERE!

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Hope Hemel get off to a cracking start, they've been building to this for 20 years and I hope that they can become a real force in the game.

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well up for the Stags' visit to the west. Hope it's a great game and Hemel get off to a good start. History being made with these two debuting, GET DOWN THERE!

I'll be there, looking forward to it - as you say, history in the making. The All Golds squad includes two Sonics players (now former Sonics players). Would be amazing if they made the team/squad for the weekend. Both played and scored against Hemel last year in CL3, as it happens.

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Northern Rail Cup - Week1, match previews

#northernrail

Sunday March 3

University of Gloucestershire All Golds v Hemel Stags (3.00pm)

University of Gloucestershire All Golds coach Brad Hepi will name a full-strength side for the club’s first foray into semi-professional rugby league when they host Hemel Stags in Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup fixture.

Hepi said: “The nucleus of our side has been in training since August, and we’ve come through the student season with a clean bill of health. This is another step up in intensity, physicality and speed of the game, and how quickly our guys can adapt to that will be a reflection of how our season will go. We’re mentally and physically well prepared. There’s lots of confidence within the group, and that puts us in a good place. We can’t wait to get started.”

The Stags are also injury free as coach Troy Perkins puts the finishing touches to his squad’s preparations.

Perkins said: “We’ve been training three times a week since November in an effort to get the boys ready, and we’re all now raring to go. We’ve had a deliberately long pre-season in order to prepare as best we can and test the boys on their commitment to being semi-professional rugby league players. This match is a good introduction for us. We’re playing a team that are probably at a pretty similar standard to us, so it’ll be good for both teams.”

North Wales Crusaders v Oldham (2.30pm)

Kris Wilkes is North Wales Crusaders’ only injury absentee ahead of their Northern Rail Cup clash with Oldham.

North Wales coach Clive Griffiths said: “There’s a lot more expectation on us this year, even though we’re still only one year old. “It’s not pressure; it’s expectation. If we can better the seven wins we had last year then we’ll all be happy. I’ve retained most of our squad from last year. They stuck with us through thick and thin, and they’ve grown together. You can see how much they’ve progressed when you watch them together.”

New Oldham coach Scott Naylor has praised his squad’s attitude ahead of the start of the new season.

“They’ve been top class,” said Naylor. “The lads I kept, I kept for a reason, and I knew most of the lads I brought in from my past. I know they’ll all give 100 per cent to the cause. Our training has been very intense, and we’re really looking forward to getting out on the pitch. We’ve a full squad, no injuries, and we couldn’t ask for a tougher start.”

Rochdale Hornets v Gateshead Thunder (3.00pm)

Gareth Frodsham (knee) faces a late fitness test before new Rochdale Hornets coach Ian Talbot confirms his line-up for Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup opener with Gateshead. But Talbot has admitted that he expects Frodsham to be available for selection.

Talbot said: “We’ve got what I’d imagine to be a very competitive squad, and I’m really pleased with what we’ve got done during the off-season. We’re itching to get going.”

On Gateshead, Talbot added: “At this stage of the season the only video we’ve got is from their pre-season friendly, so while we’ve done a bit to identify a couple of their strengths and weaknesses, the majority of our focus is on ourselves.”

Thunder coach Kevin Neighbour is optimistic about Gateshead’s chances in 2013.

Neighbour said: “We’ve had a good talk about what’s ahead of us, and we need to get back into the action now. Quite a few players have left since last season, and we’ve managed to bring in players with a bit more experience at a higher level. There are a few guys with a point to prove, and those who have stayed want to do well for the club. There’s a positive feeling about the club.”

South Wales Scorpions v London Skolars (3.00pm)

South Wales Scorpions coach Dave Clark is set to give late fitness tests to Ollie Olds and Chris Vitalini ahead of Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup clash with London Skolars. However, Shaun Owens is definitely ruled out as Clark attempts to start the season with a win.

Clark said: “We’ve a good squad of players, so hopefully against London we’ll start our season on a positive note.” He added: “We're a young side but there's a lot of potential. Our mentality has changed a bit (from last year) and we've matured as a team.”

Skolars coach Joe Mbu is likely to face increased pressure in 2013 after London narrowly missed out on last year’s play-offs. But Mbu will be keen to continue his side’s progress when their season starts on Sunday.

Mbu said: “I’m not speculating about the result. We just want to go out and perform, and the rest should take care of itself.”

-ends-

Hannah Molloy

Media Assistant

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Game of the round must be Oldham v North Wales, The championships strongest teams do battle on the opening day!!!

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Gloucestershire lead 16-12 at half time. Good game fought back from twelve nil down. I woukd guess about 250 here

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Gloucestershire lead 16-12 at half time. Good game fought back from twelve nil down. I woukd guess about 250 here

That's about standard for expansion teams at this level.

Good to hear that the rugby is competitive and attractive.

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250 for the NRC doesn't sound too bad. Have they all paid?! Sounds like a good game as well.

Not sure whether to be impressed by the Skolars or worried for the Scorpions.

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250 for the NRC doesn't sound too bad. Have they all paid?! Sounds like a good game as well.

Not sure whether to be impressed by the Skolars or worried for the Scorpions.

It's rugby league, surely one should be worried at an apocalyptic level for the future of RL in South Wales. The sky is falling in

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The Scorpions have fallen pretty far from the heights of their debut season. Was that just over performing?

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Full time. 18-36. Hemel too good in the second. I really worry for both when they play the established teams. 100-0 not unthinkable

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The Scorpions have fallen pretty far from the heights of their debut season. Was that just over performing?

24 points scored when they were down to 12 men, looks like a few new players on the teamsheet too.

It is week 1 and a competition few Champ 1 sides will prioritise

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Game of the round must be Oldham v North Wales, The championships strongest teams do battle on the opening day!!!

:rolleyes:

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250 for the NRC doesn't sound too bad. Have they all paid?! Sounds like a good game as well.

Not sure whether to be impressed by the Skolars or worried for the Scorpions.

That's about half-full. :)

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Full time. 18-36. Hemel too good in the second. I really worry for both when they play the established teams. 100-0 not unthinkable

They might as well pack in now then.

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Also at Gloucester v Hemel

Thought the score was fair and I would expect Hemel to be undoubtedly the higher placed come the end of the season

Not sure what the potential is however. The people involved involved were excpetionally helpful especially as one of our party was in a wheelchair but there seemed to be few people actually running things and I would be concerned how many actually paid. I had to find some one to give my money to and then went to the bar and then found myself outside in the street but just walked back though an open door and others seemed to be entering this was as well. I would agree probably 250 but a few from Hemel and a few like myself from around the country just doing the first game suggests they may do well to stabilise at about 100.

It's early days yet but with a free programme and a rented ground and I assume no income form the bar financies will always be tight

Evenso the players don't appear to be imported and there are junior teams to underpin so hopefully slow growth

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256 according to the web at Glos vs Hemel.

Yes, though given it was yours truly entering the data, after a conversation with the other journalist in attendance, I wouldn't say it was 100 per cent accurate.

Decent game, though - entertaining, some good tries, a bit of biff, a chance to see a couple of ex Sonics playing for the All Golds etc. Hemel worthy winners - they were notably better in the forwards. The All Golds look a bit small.

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cru clearly the top team, rest of the season is a bit irrelevant

I wouldn't go quite as far as that this early - I'll wait to see if they can do the same to Rochdale week after next. 721 of us turned up on a freezing cold day in Wrexham, which bodes well for the future!

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I wouldn't go quite as far as that this early - I'll wait to see if they can do the same to Rochdale week after next. 721 of us turned up on a freezing cold day in Wrexham, which bodes well for the future!

Should be a bit of a humdinger down at Wrexham in a couple of weeks. You'll get long odds on Gary Middlehurst going the distance ;)

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