League 1 to kick off in style

Coventry Bears are the new kids on the block in the Kingstone Press League 1 competition which kicks off with a full set of fixtures on Good Friday.

The Bears welcome relative newcomers Oxford to the Butts Park Arena in one of seven fixtures on the opening day of the season, the majority of those looking to be highly competitive affairs which should keep the fans happy and entertained throughout the full 80 minutes.

Coventry will have a number of on-loan players from Hull KR in the ranks to give them more than a reasonable chance of recording an opening day victory on a day when most clubs, well those that do have dual registration partnerships, are expected to pick from their own squads.

London Skolars recently appointed former Hemel Stags assistant Jermaine Coleman as head coach to add spice to their clash at the new-look New River stadium and with the University of Gloucestershire All Golds having a number of Welsh players in their ranks their clash with South Wales Scorpions in Cheltenham certainly has a different feel to it.

Most pundits reckon the big hitters in the league will come from the established northern clubs, with Newcastle Thunder also in the mix.

Thunder play their first home game of the season in a match against Barrow Raiders, the Raiders have played all their cup games at home leaves the form book for these two a little sparse.

Keighley Cougars and York City Knights meet at Cougar Park, an encounter that looks to be a highly entertaining affair with Keighley’s March twins up against one of their former clubs.

Swinton Lions will welcome North Wales to their new abode at Sedgley Park’s Park Lane ground, both teams have been in fine form in pre-season to suggest that this will be a cracker.

And what about Rochdale’s encounter against Oldham at Spotland? Dubbed ‘El Classico’ these derby affairs are always close matched contests.

All in all it’s a truly great start to the League 1 season. As always a comprehensive round-up and full match reports and photos from the top games will be in Monday’s League Express.