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Kingstone Press Championship One - Week 1

Which game are you most looking forward to?   22 members have voted

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

    • Gloucestershire All Golds v Oxford
      6
    • London Skolars v Hemel Stags
      5
    • Oldham v Rochdale Hornets
      4
    • South Wales Scorpions v North Wales Crusaders
      7

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28 posts in this topic

Discuss the games here.

FRIDAY 29th MARCH

Gloucestershire All Golds v Oxford KO 15.00

London Skolars v Hemel Stags KO 15.00

Oldham v Rochdale Hornets KO 15.00

MONDAY 1st APRIL

South Wales Scorpions v North Wales Crusaders KO 15.00

BYE

Gateshead Thunder

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all interesting fixtures in their own ways but,for me, the best has to be the South East Classico at the New River! Hopefully it wont be too sodding cold and there'll be a healthy crowd.

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All interesting games, especially All Golds -v- Oxford. I hope there is a good turnout and that the match is a competitive one. The All Golds have a distinct advantage over Oxford having played a few games already but hopefully Oxford won't be too shellshocked when the whistle blows!

I will be recording the Welsh derby on Premier Sports for watching later in the day as it clashes with the Saints home game on Easter Monday.

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Looking forward to heading up to Cheltenham for All Golds v Oxford. Intrigued to see how Oxford shape up. Potentially there could be four ex-Sonics playing in the game - Nath Rainer at Oxford, plus Marcus Brooker, James Gahan and Mike Norman at the All Golds. I'd say the odds of all four making an appearance are pretty long, but it would be nice to see a couple at least get a game. Nath Rainer is ex University of Gloucestershire as well, so can be guaranteed a welcome party when he takes the ball in for the first time.

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OFFICIAL RFL MATCH PREVIEWS

Friday March 29

Kingstone Press Championship

Batley Bulldogs v Hunslet Hawks (7.30pm)

Danny Maun and Greg Johnson are both available for Batley Bulldogs after recent injuries, but Paul Mennell (leg) is ruled out.

Last week Batley were forced to postpone their match with Swinton Lions, but club officials are confident Friday’s Kingstone Press Championship fixture with Hunslet Hawks will get the go ahead.

Callum Windley and Luke Helliwell could both feature for Hunslet, while Stuart Kain is also closing in on a return to action.

However, Liam Hood looks set to remain sidelined for another fortnight.

Hawks coach Barry Eaton said: “John Kear has taken Batley to another level, and they’re certainly one of the top four sides in the competition.

“However, we’ve got to go there and keep trying to improve ourselves.

“We’re certainly in a better position and state of mind than we were last year.

“What’s been pleasing is the fact that so far players that were with us last year and showed raw potential are starting to realise that potential and be a little bit more consistent.”

Keighley Cougars v Barrow Raiders (3.00pm)

Daley Williams returns for Keighley Cougars, but player-coach Paul March starts a two-match suspension that rules him out of the Easter schedule.

Keighley’s last match was a comprehensive win over York City Knights, and March is keen to continue that good form.

March said: “We want to build more of a winning mentality on the back of that, and we go into these games full of confidence.”

He added: “I’ve seen a lot of videos of Barrow, and Darren Holt has got them playing some expansive stuff.

“Liam Harrison and Kurt Haggerty are big threats, and we’re fully aware of what they can do.

“Barrow have had a toughs tart, but they picked up a nice win against Dewsbury and showed last week (against Leigh) that they can play at this level. We can’t afford to underestimate them.”

Barrow Raiders coach Darren Holt will give late fitness tests to Danny Jones and Dan Toal. However, Scott Kaighan is definitely ruled out with an ankle ligament injury.

Hooker Anthony Nicholson could make his Barrow debut after signing a one-month loan deal from Leigh.

Sheffield Eagles v Doncaster (7.30pm)

Liam Higgins is Sheffield Eagles’ only absentee ahead of a first South Yorkshire league derby since 2009.

Severe weather continues to put Friday’s game in doubt, but Eagles coach Mark Aston is hopeful the game will go ahead and insists everything will be done to play the match.

Aston said: “The last thing we need is a fixture pile-up, and by Friday it will be two weeks since we last played.”

Promoted Doncaster have secured two wins from their first seven games in the Kingstone Press Championship. They are currently ninth in the table.

However, Dons coach Tony Miller must cope without Matt Carbutt (medial ligaments), Carl Hughes (pectoral) and Liam Cunningham (shoulder) for Friday’s derby.

But Adam Scott could feature after joining the club for a third time following his recent release from Batley, while loan signing Ben Blackmore could also be involved.

Swinton Lions v Leigh Centurions (12.00pm)

New Swinton coach Gary Chambers faces a selection headache for his first game in charge of the Lions.

Josh Barlow, Chris Clarke and Glenn Riley are all back in contention for Friday’s Kingstone Press Championship clash with Leigh Centurions.

Chambers said: “The whole squad has been great in training. Their attitude has been first class and it’s been a good environment to come into.

“I want us to play a good style of rugby. I want the lads to defend hard and look after each other, and I want those values right across the team. They’ve got to trust each other.”

Centurions coach Paul Rowley remains cagey about his squad’s fitness after last week’s 42-30 win over Barrow Raiders, but insists: “We’ve got a good enough squad to pick from.”

The former England hooker is expecting a fierce onslaught from the Lions.

He said: “If there’s one game Swinton want to win every year, it’s this one against us.

“We’ve got full respect for their players. We understand that they’ll be at their best to face us, with the added emphasis that they’ve got a new coach as well.

“We know what to expect, and we’d never expect anything less than that.”

Workington Town v Whitehaven (1.00pm)

Workington Town coach Gary Charlton must prepare without Mark Calderwood, while Andy Morris and Jarrad Stack are also struggling to be fit for Friday’s Cumbrian derby. Jamie Thackeray is suspended.

Charlton said: “Whitehaven have done all right this year. They’re very committed and very strong in the forwards, which was maybe where they lacked a bit in recent years.”

Whitehaven coach Dave Woods could name an unchanged side after picking up no injury concerns in last week’s 22-12 defeat against Halifax.

Woods said: “We were just disappointed that we didn’t carry on with the good work we put in earlier on. We let them back into the game and they got two quick tries, and that took it away from us.

“We’re fixing little errors and then coming up with something else that we’ve got to rectify. We need to be smarter.”

He added: “Workington will be up for this – they won all five games last year when they played us, and their confidence will be very high.

“They’ll be thinking they can get the win, but we have to go there with confidence. They’ve got bragging rights at the moment, and they’ll want to make sure they keep them.”

York City Knights v Featherstone Rovers (1.00pm)

York City Knights coach Gary Thornton insists his side can cope with the loss of the dual-registration players ahead of a demanding Easter weekend.

Thornton said: “We’re probably not going to have any dual-registration players over Easter, which is a bit of a blow, but we should have Simon Brown and James Ford back fit. We’ve also not picked up any new injuries.

“We’re still a bit light in the back row, but Nathan Freer should give us some cover there.

“And Sam Scott and Ed Smith both pulled through OK on their return, so we’ve still got a reasonably strong squad for this tough weekend against Featherstone and Barrow.”

York are searching for a third win of the season, having claimed eight points from their opening seven Kingstone Press Championship fixtures.

Matty Dale and Kyle Briggs are available for Featherstone Rovers, while Michael Haley could also feature during the Easter weekend.

Rovers coach Daryl Powell is without only Sam Smeaton as he attempts to keep pace with Halifax at the top of the table.

Kingstone Press Championship One

Gloucestershire All Golds v Oxford (3.00pm)

Stand-off Phil Cowburn will miss Gloucestershire All Golds’ Kingstone Press Championship One debut after suffering a potential broken wrist in last week’s win at Gateshead Thunder.

All Golds coach Brad Hepi was delighted with that win, but insists Oxford will pose a stern challenge on Friday.

Hepi said: “Tony Benson is pretty well-versed at this level and he’ll have them well drilled and coming with a good game-plan.

“Our guys have had four games now, so hopefully that will stand us in good stead. When we play to our structure, it works.

“Last week showed the boys what they can do with concentration and application, and hopefully they’ve taken that on board.”

Oxford coach Tony Benson believes his club has huge potential as it approaches its debut in the semi-professional game.

Benson said: “There’s a lot of excitement and it’s really hard to do describe. Friday will be quite a proud moment.

“I’m really surprised and excited about the local players. We’ve certainly unearthed some gems and they’ve trained really well. They look like a pro team already.”

Lucas Onyango (knee) will be given a late fitness test after suffering a minor injury at work.

London Skolars v Hemel Stags (3.00pm)

London Skolars coach Joe Mbu could name an unchanged side as he chases a fourth win in as many games at the start of the season.

Impressive London claimed three wins out of three, including a victory over Hemel Stags, in the Northern Rail Cup. Now they hope to continue that form in Kingstone Press Championship One.

Mbu said: “I don’t tend to overthink too much about the opposition. I tend to focus on what we need to do and how we need to approach the game.

“Our aim is always to be better than the last game we played. That’s my approach.

“It’s been a great start for us, but we’re not running away with ourselves. There’s a long way to go yet and a lot of hard work to be done.”

Chad Sharpe should be fit for Hemel, who are one of three clubs making their first appearance in Kingstone Press Championship One.

Stags coach Troy Perkins said: “We know a fair bit about the Skolars, especially with having Jermaine Coleman as our assistant coach.

“They’ve a big pack with loads of experience, and some skillful outside backs as well.

“However, our next four or five games can really set us up for the rest of the season. There are some winnable games among them.”

Oldham v Rochdale Hornets (3.00pm)

Long-term injury absentee Liam Thompson is Scott Naylor’s only unavailable player ahead of the start of the Kingstone Press Championship One campaign.

In-form Oldham are searching for a fourth consecutive win, having put together three victories in the Northern Rail Cup.

That run included a 26-10 win against Rochdale Hornets just three weeks ago, prompting Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton to praise the club’s new coach.

Hamilton said: “Scott Naylor has already made a big impression at the club and anybody who has seen the team this season will have seen the results of his labours.”

Lewis Palfrey, Michael Ward, Sam Gee and Danny Samuel are all pushing for places in Naylor’s squad.

Naylor said: “A game against Rochdale isn’t an ordinary game. We’re looking forward to it.”

Jordan Case (hamstring) and Mike Ratu (ankle) are both unavailable for Rochdale, while Dayne Donoghue will have a scan over the weekend on a troublesome knee problem.

Hornets coach Ian Talbot is boosted by the return of Wayne English, whose eye injury has cleared up.

Talbot said: “We’ve lost two from two local derbies this season. Those losses are definitely in the back of our minds and we want to make amends for the level of performance we produced in those two games.”

-ends-

Hannah Molloy

Media Assistant

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Wowsers, easy win for Hemel judging by the score. Anyone got more info?

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Why has the Wales derby not been reviewed?

because thats on monday and these previews were for good fridays games.

Well Done Hemel on winning at London Skolars and from score looks to have been an entertaining game at Gloucester with oxford coming out on top 40 pts to 30

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Well, the first few weeks of Champ One/NR Cup have been a bit of a revelation.

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This looks like being an interesting division then!

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Fantastic Win by Hemel Stags. Outplayed an experienced London Skolars team for most of the game.The Skolars team was pretty much the same team that beat Whitehaven in the last game of last season. They have some very good players and hopefully I will be cheering on the Stags for many wins this season. An interesting fact I heard in the bar afterwards was that there was only one Hemel player that had played Championship One before and he had played 12 games, the rest were either coming for amateur game and a couple had come through Broncos academy.

A great day for the club, the players and all the fans and there were a fair few of us down at new River Stadium cheering on the lads.

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two of the top three clubs are supporter owned co-operatives the way forward especially at this level

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I thought these new clubs were just meant to get walked over?

I knew there was a script we hadn't read. :D

Interesting fact , Hemel and Oxford are the only two clubs never to have lost a league game in the semi pro ranks.

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Great performance by the Stags. Especially impressed by their defence in front of their own line - Skolars just couldnt find a way through. As for Skolars.....shocked at their performance to be honest. The Stags made errors but god only knows how many the Skolars made. Very poor from a team I expect to be in the mix at the end of the season. Perhaps it will serve as a wakeup call to them, I really hope so.

Really enjoyed the day out - was a bit torn before the game as I support both of them to varying degrees but as I found myself hollering HEMEL at the top of my voice within a few minutes I guess that's where my heart really lies! Fantastic support down from Hertfordshire, something to really build on I hope.

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because thats on monday and these previews were for good fridays games.

Well Done Hemel on winning at London Skolars and from score looks to have been an entertaining game at Gloucester with oxford coming out on top 40 pts to 30

Was a decent game, in front of easily the All Golds' biggest crowd yet. The given figure was 323, but the All Golds Chief Exec and others thought that there were over 400 there, maybe even 450. Good atmosphere.

The All Golds are improving, but they still have issues. Oxford have a pretty big side and easily won the forward battle. This laid the platform for the likes of Clough and Bentley to find gaps in the defence at will. They will get better - there were definite signs of rustiness early on.

The strangest thing about the whole afternoon was the appearance of Brad Hepi (yes, the 45 year-old Brad Hepi) on the interchange bench. He came on a couple of times and was on the pitch at the same time as his son, Tyla, who scored two good tries. I think the last time Brad played a pro game was 12 or 13 years ago. Crazy. I guess he's realised that at times the All Golds lack experience and a bit of RL nous - something that's needed at this level. Oxford have it in spades, given that most of their first choice 17 previously played for Oxford or Rochdale.

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Was a decent game, in front of easily the All Golds' biggest crowd yet. The given figure was 323, but the All Golds Chief Exec and others thought that there were over 400 there, maybe even 450. Good atmosphere.

The All Golds are improving, but they still have issues. Oxford have a pretty big side and easily won the forward battle. This laid the platform for the likes of Clough and Bentley to find gaps in the defence at will. They will get better - there were definite signs of rustiness early on.

The strangest thing about the whole afternoon was the appearance of Brad Hepi (yes, the 45 year-old Brad Hepi) on the interchange bench. He came on a couple of times and was on the pitch at the same time as his son, Tyla, who scored two good tries. I think the last time Brad played a pro game was 12 or 13 years ago. Crazy. I guess he's realised that at times the All Golds lack experience and a bit of RL nous - something that's needed at this level. Oxford have it in spades, given that most of their first choice 17 previously played for Oxford or Rochdale.

Annoyed at missing this one, thought it was Monday for some reason.

What does the Prince of Wales hold capacity wise? I am looking forward to the game vs Oldham (my home town). I think they brought about 100 to South Wales the other year so might be a decent crowd.

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Was a decent game, in front of easily the All Golds' biggest crowd yet. The given figure was 323, but the All Golds Chief Exec and others thought that there were over 400 there, maybe even 450. Good atmosphere.

The All Golds are improving, but they still have issues. Oxford have a pretty big side and easily won the forward battle. This laid the platform for the likes of Clough and Bentley to find gaps in the defence at will. They will get better - there were definite signs of rustiness early on.

The strangest thing about the whole afternoon was the appearance of Brad Hepi (yes, the 45 year-old Brad Hepi) on the interchange bench. He came on a couple of times and was on the pitch at the same time as his son, Tyla, who scored two good tries. I think the last time Brad played a pro game was 12 or 13 years ago. Crazy. I guess he's realised that at times the All Golds lack experience and a bit of RL nous - something that's needed at this level. Oxford have it in spades, given that most of their first choice 17 previously played for Oxford or Rochdale.

when i spoke to Brad after the South Wales game , he did day he might have to dig his boots out

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two of the top three clubs are supporter owned co-operatives the way forward especially at this level

agree with that

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I thought these new clubs were just meant to get walked over?

I am happy to be wrong. :D

Thus far things are going better than I would have thought possible.

Good attendance at the Skolars game. We need more teams in the South.

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Annoyed at missing this one, thought it was Monday for some reason.

What does the Prince of Wales hold capacity wise? I am looking forward to the game vs Oldham (my home town). I think they brought about 100 to South Wales the other year so might be a decent crowd.

The capacity of the stand is apparently 495. There weren't that many spare seats, and apparently there were quite a lot of people watching from the bar as well. Definitely promising. Loads of families there, which made for a good atmosphere. The All Golds had programmes for sale, too (which were numbered, which is a nice touch for the nerds/collectors), and the off-field organisation was much better. Their Chief Exec, Rob Webber, also did a greta job as the match day announcer. I can't think of many other times I've seen a club's top brass do that. He's got a broad Gloucestershire accent, too, which makes for some good local flavour.

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Oldham brought about 20 supporters to Wrexham recently, so if your expecting a big following you might be dissapointed!.

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Great performance by the Stags. Especially impressed by their defence in front of their own line - Skolars just couldnt find a way through. As for Skolars.....shocked at their performance to be honest. The Stags made errors but god only knows how many the Skolars made. Very poor from a team I expect to be in the mix at the end of the season. Perhaps it will serve as a wakeup call to them, I really hope so.

Really enjoyed the day out - was a bit torn before the game as I support both of them to varying degrees but as I found myself hollering HEMEL at the top of my voice within a few minutes I guess that's where my heart really lies! Fantastic support down from Hertfordshire, something to really build on I hope.

I was surprised at this result but yes credit Hemel simple but effective play.

Skolars were a pale shadow of what I was expecting.

Oh and that treacle of a pitch needs sorting.

Like you have Skolars and Hemel season tickets but Im a Londoner and so Skolars it will have to be on such occasions.

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