Championship: Ups, downs and permutations ahead of the final round

Despite its lack of TV coverage in 2014, the Kingstone Press Championship has once again provided fans with a thrilling, exciting and often dramatic competition. 25 rounds of drama have brought us to the final round of fixtures – with plenty of things still needing to be decided in this most extraordinary season.

Top spot was decided a long time ago, as Leigh Centurions blitzed their way to the coveted top spot, losing just one game in the regular season (so far). And in any other Championship season, the issue of relegation would have been decided a while back too – with Barrow, Swinton, North Wales and Rochdale confirmed as dropping down into Championship One next year.

However, there is still one relegation spot up for grabs this weekend – as well as three teams vying it out for the precious second spot – which brings with it a whole host of financial reward. So what are the permutations ahead of the final round? Let’s look at what exactly can happen this weekend.

Race for 2nd place

213Featherstone Rovers251771845508337558
39Doncaster RLFC25177163356568457
46Halifax RLFC251582684480204655
  • A win for Featherstone this Sunday away at Keighley finishes off any hope Halifax and Doncaster have of claiming second position, with that result potentially having a big impact at the bottom, too. Given their points difference advantage, a draw will almost certainly be enough for Featherstone too.
  • Should Featherstone lose, it opens the door for Doncaster and Halifax. Halifax must hope Featherstone lose by more than 12 (so they don’t get a bonus point), hope they beat Barrow and initiate a 133-point swing in the process – as well as rely on Doncaster to slip up at home to Batley.
  • As for Doncaster, if Featherstone do slip up and lose at Keighley, then a victory for the Dons against Batley will see Paul Cooke’s men finish second. If Featherstone draw, Doncaster would need to beat Batley by 280 points!

Race for play-offs/to avoid relegation

715Workington Town2511131444520-761045
821Keighley Cougars2512130563575-12743
94Batley Bulldogs2511131548563-15742
103Whitehaven RLFC2512130548648-100642
  • As it stands, Whitehaven are currently the team in grave danger of slipping into Championship One – as they sit in the final relegation spot. Batley are currently in 9th – the spot that is the only one that has no impact on the play-offs or relegation. Keighley and Workington are in play-off spots.
  • A loss for Whitehaven sews up the relegation matter – unless Batley lose by 86 more points than they do – which is unlikely.
  • Haven are at already-relegated Swinton, where a win is not necessarily the only outcome required to keep them up. Should they gain a losing bonus point and Batley lose by more than 12 at Doncaster, it is John Kear’s men who will go down.
  • A win for Haven plunges the other three clubs into trouble, with Keighley and Batley then needing something from their last game to confirm survival. However, the Cougars are facing second-placed Featherstone, whilst the Bulldogs also have a tricky last game against the Dons.
  • Should Batley and Whitehaven win, then Keighley would more than likely need to win against Featherstone. A draw could be enough when factoring points difference into the equation, but only a win will make sure of Championship survival.
  • As for Workington, the only way they can be relegated is if Batley and Whitehaven win, and Keighley do not lose. Points difference would then decide whether it is Haven or Town who drop into Championship One.

And as always, the only place to read about all the reaction and action from the final round of the Championship is in Monday’s edition of League Express – as well as finding out what is going on around the Championship with our reporter Gareth Walker.