Bradford Bulls will begin their quest to return to the Super League against 2014 Championship runners up Featherstone Rovers in one of six games kicking off the Kingstone Press Championship on 7 February 2016.
The Bulls who narrowly missed out on promotion to the Super League with defeat in the Million Pound Game will take on Featherstone at the Provident Stadium whilst Leigh Centurions will begin their attempt to win a third successive League Leaders Shield with a visit to Batley Bulldogs.
The 2016 season sees Rugby League continue with the exciting new structure that involves the 12 Super League clubs and 12 Championship clubs splitting into the Super 8s after 23 rounds to determine all the biggest issues of the year: promotion, relegation and Grand Final glory.
Halifax RLFC, who ended the 2015 season strongly to finish 6th in the Qualifiers, will begin with a home fixture against Whitehaven RLFC whilst Workington Town will begin with a home tie at Zebra Claims Stadium against Sheffield Eagles. Newly promoted Oldham RLFC and Swinton Lions also both begin with home ties, with the Lions taking on Dewsbury Rams and Oldham hosting London Broncos.
Each team will play 23 games in the regular season, home and away against the other 11 clubs and following the success of the 2015 Summer Bash, all clubs will return to Bloomfield Road in Blackpool over the Bank Holiday weekend of May 28-29 to play an additional game. This year the Summer Bash will see the top two clubs in the 2015 Kingstone Press Championship, Leigh Centurions and Bradford Bulls, take each other on.
Sky Sports will screen selected matches from the Kingstone Press Championship in 2015, and all six matches from the Summer Bash at Blackpool will be available to watch across Sky Sports platforms.
Full details of the 2016 Kingstone Press Championship Fixtures can be found at rugbyleaguechampionships.co.uk
Super 8s: As clubs are joining from two competitions, the Qualifiers will have all their points from the regular season wiped to form a new mini-league. Clubs who finished ninth and 10thin Super League and first and second in the Championship will play four home games and 11th and 12th and third and fourth will play three home games.
After seven rounds, the top three in the Qualifiers will be automatically promoted to Super League for 2016 whilst clubs finishing fourth and fifth will go on to play in the ‘Million Pound Game’ at the home of the fourth-placed team, to determine the final promotion place.
The eight clubs in the Championship Shield will carry over their points from the regular season to play seven Super 8s matches: after seven rounds the top four clubs will compete in the Championship Shield play-offs, where first will play fourth and second will play third with the winners meeting in the final at the Kingstone Press Championship Finals Day.
2016 KEY DATES – KINGSTONE PRESS CHAMPIONSHIP
Weekend of 5th – 7th – Kingstone Press Championship Round One
Weekend of 18th – 20th – Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Round Four (Championship Clubs enter)
Weekend of 15th -17th Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Round Five
Weekend of 5th – 8th – Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Round Six
Weekend of 28th – 29th – Summer Bash
Weekend of 23rd – 26th – Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Quarter Finals
Weekend of 29th -31st – Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Semi Finals
Weekend of 3rd – 7th – Super 8s begin
27th – Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final
Weekend of 1st-2nd – Million Pound Game and Kingstone Press Championship Shield Finals