Kingstone Press Championship Round 7: Match previews

Leigh's Liam Kay scores against Whitehaven last Sunday
Leigh's Liam Kay scores against Whitehaven last Sunday

A look ahead to the Good Friday fixtures in the Championship including Hunslet Hawks v Leigh.

Hunslet Hawks v Leigh Centurions (2.00)

Despite the 28-14 loss to Sheffield Eagles last week Hunslet Hawks coach Barry Eaton was proud of his side’s effort in difficult circumstances: “We lost Andy Kain in the warm up with sickness and then lost three players by half time through injury so we only had one interchange for the whole of the second half and had players playing out of position. With that in mind the effort was great from the boys,” he said.

On Friday’s game against the league leaders he said: “Leigh are unbeaten and only lost one last year so we know how formidable they are but it’s also an exciting prospect. To be the first team to topple them that would be a fantastic achievement for us but we know it’s a formidable task.”

Leigh Centurions coach Paul Rowley said: “Hunslet did pretty well against Sheffield. They absorbed a lot of pressure and were resolute defensively. I think they’ve probably surprised a lot of people due to the quality of signings they’ve made. They’re certainly a good team and have come up with a couple of good scalps.

“Any games they have lost, it’s been a tussle, they’ve made a real fist of it so it will be a difficult fixture. We were excellent last week, we played really well. We aim to continue that level of performance going into Easter week.”

Workington Town v Whitehaven (3.00)

Workington Town have been doing it tough over the last few weeks and will be coming off a heavy defeat at Leigh but coach Phil Veivers believes that form and league position counts for little in derby games: “Derby games are a different kettle of fish altogether, especially Cumbrian derbies. My boys will definitely be up for it as will the Whitehaven players. After we’ve trained I’ll be naming a competitive team who will be going out there and giving it a go.”

Whitehaven coach James Coyle said: “Obviously Workington v Whitehaven is massive and given where we are in the league and where they are, it’s even bigger. We’re both level and probably not performing as well as we want to be so both teams will be looking to springboard off this going into the next few months.”

Wing Gregg Wilde sustained a fractured collarbone against Leigh Centurions and will be missing from the Whitehaven side.

Batley Bulldogs v Dewsbury Rams (7.30)

John Kear’s Batley Bulldogs had to fight all the way for the two points against a committed Doncaster side last time out: “I thought Doncaster were really good, having watched two of their previous games they rectified a lot of faults and they really did challenge us,” he said.

“They made it a very difficult day at the office for us. It was an ugly win but it was a win for spirit, determination and character. It was good to come on the right side of a low scoring game.

“Any Batley game against Dewsbury you take it as read that it’s going to be tough and intense. Both teams are going to be highly motivated, so you’ve just got to accept that and get on with it.”

Glenn Morrison, the Dewsbury Rams coach, was bitterly disappointed with his side’s 38-28 defeat to Featherstone Rovers: “It was a tough game but we weren’t good enough,” he said. “We’re just not hanging onto the ball and gifted them five tries. You’re not going to win against any side doing that. We need to get on with it this week because we’ve got two big games.

“The good thing about derby games is you can have first against last and it’s still going to be a tight battle. Hopefully we can put things right and get some results for ourselves and our fans and stay injury free for Monday as well.”

Featherstone Rovers v London Broncos (7.30)

Featherstone Rovers coach Andy Hay was pleased with his side’s 38-28 win over Dewsbury Rams but is under no illusions about the threat London Broncos present: “It was a good game, we played some good stuff and Dewsbury did as well. We got the two points so it was a good day out for us,” he said.

“This is going to be a tough fixture, we always knew this Easter period was going to be tough. London have a new coach, who I’m sure will bring bags of enthusiasm, and to get the win at home against Halifax would have been a good boost for them. I think we’re looking at a good contest, we’re steadily improving and since the struggles they had at the start of the year they are improving as well. I think we should see another good game at the Big Fellas Stadium this week.”

Andrew Henderson was appointed coach of the London Broncos prior to the home game against Halifax and was pleased to begin his tenure with a victory: “It was a great win over Halifax,” he said. “We had to tough it out but we got there in the end which was good. We knew how important it was to get those two points to keep us within touching distance of the top four.

“Featherstone is never an easy place to go to especially on the back of a short turnaround. We haven’t been good on the road and haven’t won a game away from home yet so it’s really important that we have another good performance.

“We need to build on that win against Halifax with a strong performance and hopefully on the night do enough to take the spoils. We’re certainly capable but we’re going to have to play very, very well to do that.

“It’s always a great atmosphere at the Big Fellas Stadium and the fans really get behind their team. I’m sure the boys will enjoy the occasion.”

Bradford Bulls v Halifax (8.00)

Following consecutive wins over Workington Town Bradford Bulls coach James Lowes said: “I was critical of some of the things we did the previous week because I thought we could we have been better. I thought we did a decent job defensively and our kicking game was solid in the first half, when we pinned them down into the corners.”

Prop Adam Sidlow, who missed last week’s game is expected to return against Halifax on Good Friday.

Halifax coach Richard Marshall felt his side were a little unlucky to come away from London Broncos without the points: “On reflection I thought we were the better team on the day,” he said. “I thought our boys performed really well. We probably just need to improve our decision making at vital times in the game but you’ve got to credit London, they capitalised and took their chances.

His side will be looking to bounce back in their derby match with Bradford Bulls. “It will be great for the club to be involved in these type of games again,” he said. “We’ve got an opportunity to get rid of the disappointment from last week again against tough, full-time opposition.

“It’s a tough start to our Easter programme but it’s something we’re not afraid of and we’re looking forward to.”