Grading every Championship club on their season so far

Batley Bulldogs (6th)

Matt Diskin was given the unenviable task of replacing John Kear after he guided the club into the top four against all the odds.

The Bulldogs were ultimately unsuccessful in repeating that accomplishment. A string of inevitable inconsistent performances meant they never really threatened.

High point: Their Challenge Cup victory in Toulouse meant they were the first club to win out in France this year.

Low point: The Summer Bash defeat to local rivals Dewsbury was their third on the bounce against their struggling neighbours, and one of their poorest performances.

Star player: Pat Walker

Grade: C-

Bradford Bulls (12th)

They had a mountain to climb at the beginning of the season. Sadly, they’re left clinging on for dear life.

The Bulls always had it tough with a 12 point deduction, however the reality is that even with those points back they’d still find themselves in the relegation zone.

Geoff Toovey’s side is now on the brink of relegation. It could happen as early as round 1 of the Championship Shield.

High point: Four wins in five games early in the season gave fans optimism.

Low point: Losing to Dewsbury just a week after an encouraging performance at the Summer Bash was the beginning of the end.

Star Man: James Bentley

Grade: E

Dewsbury Rams (8th)

We’ve all heard the ‘two halves’ cliche, but it perfectly describes Dewsbury’s season.

Relegation candidates at the start of the year, the Rams were living up to their billing as they lost their first eight league games.

But then Glenn Morrison left, Neil Kelly arrived, and after a slow start, the Rams stormed up the table with five wins from their last six games.

High point: Five wins from six at the end of the campaign was a superb conclusion to a topsy-turvy year.

Low point: Eight straight defeats at the start of the season resulted in Glenn Morrison’s tenure coming to an end.

Star man: Gareth Moore

Grade: B-

Featherstone Rovers (4th)

All in all, job done.

Although Rovers didn’t quite meet their lofty top two ambitions, they did what mattered the most and gained entry to the Qualifiers

The bigger challenge awaits Featherstone, and under new coach John Duffy they’ll be hoping for signs of improvement.

High point: Reaching the Challenge Cup quarter final with victory over Halifax.

Low point: An underwhelming defeat at home to Rochdale in March.

Star man: John Davies

Grade: C

Halifax (3rd)

Some had them down as mid-table mediocrity, others had them as relegation contenders.

Very few had them as top four candidates, but Halifax surpassed all expectations with an outstanding end to the season that saw them finish third.

Now they can enjoy the Qualifiers.

High point: Four straight wins at the end of the season saw them beat fierce rivals Bradford, top four rivals Toulouse and Featherstone and then league champions Hull Kingston Rovers.

Low point: Defeat to Swinton before the aforementioned run looked to have killed their top four hopes.

Star man: Will Sharp

Grade: A-

Hull Kingston Rovers (1st)

It was always going to be difficult for Tim Sheens’ men, with the expectation being to dominate all before them.

It was somewhat disrespectful to the rest of the competition, but aside from a few wobbles, the Robins went about their business professionally and won the league title by three points.

High point: Defeating Leigh in the Challenge Cup offered hope that promotion was viable.

Low point: Back-to-back defeats to end the season was far from ideal.

Star man: Shaun Lunt

Grade: B+

London Broncos (2nd)

The challenge for London was to improve on last year.

They’ve most certainly done that.

It took them a while to get going, but the Broncos found their form over Easter and haven’t looked back since. They’ve shown everyone they are promotion contenders.

High point: They really put themselves on the map with a victory over Featherstone at Summer Bash.

Low point: Defeat to Sheffield in April was a blow at the time.

Star man: Jarrod Sammut

Grade: A-

Oldham (11th)

It’s been a case of ‘what if’ for the Roughyeds.

The amount of games they’ve lost at the death or thrown away is remarkable and has ultimately left them in the relegation zone.

High point: Victory over Toulouse at the start of July was a huge boost.

Low point: Throwing away a healthy lead at the Summer Bash against Rochdale.

Star man: George Tyson

Grade: D

Rochdale Hornets (8th)

So far, so good.

Having come up from League 1, Rochdale were obvious relegation candidates. But seven wins and a draw have ensured they are four points clear with seven games to go.

High point: Back-to-back wins at the start of the season left them at the top of the league.

Low point: A ten-game losing streak dragged them back towards the wrong end of the table.

Star man: Rob Massam

Grade: B+

Sheffield Eagles (7th)

‘Frustrating’ is perhaps the only word needed.

They’ve been brilliant, they’ve been abysmal, they’ve been anything but consistent.

But after a torrid period of instability, mid-table isn’t so bad.

High point: A 32-20 win over London is their most eye-catching result.

Low point: Being walloped 52-0 by Halifax, before being defeated 70-12 by Batley a week later.

Star man: Mark Mexico

Grade C+

Swinton Lions (11th)

It’s been a tough, tough year for Swinton.

On the field a shocking injury crisis left them in disarray early on and they’re still feeling the effects as they fight for survival.

Off it, financial issues are the much more pressing concern, however.

High point: Their magnificent Challenge Cup victory over Huddersfield.

Low point: Off-field issues that have left the club in a precarious position.

Star man: Chris Atkin

Grade: E

Toulouse Olympique (5th)

So near, yet so far.

They looked all but certain to make the Qualifiers after spending so long in second-place. Then a dip in form at the wrong time cost them so dearly.

Still, it’s been a strong maiden season in the Championship.

High point: Victory over Hull Kingston Rovers in the penultimate game put them back on track.

Low point: Back-to-back defeats to Oldham and Dewsbury ultimately cost them dearly.

Star man: Mark Kheirallah

Grade: B-