With the fixtures for the upcoming Championship season having been released this evening, we look at the opening weekend and other big games throughout the season.
Relegated Widnes Vikings face a tough start to the season as they welcome Halifax to the Halton Stadium to kick-start their Championship season on an opening weekend Super Sunday.
That isn’t the only major fixture on the opening weekend though, as Leigh Centurions and Toulouse Olympique go head-to-head at Leigh Sports Village
Newly-promoted York don’t get an easy start either, as they welcome old League One rivals, Toronto Wolfpack, to Bootham Crescent on the Sunday afternoon.
This is a huge opening weekend and on paper is not easy for any team. The also newly-promoted Bradford Bulls welcome Featherstone Rovers to Odsal to complete Super Sunday.
Sheffield Eagles face off against the Swinton Lions, Rochdale Hornets welcome Dewsbury Rams and Batley Bulldogs place host to Barrow Raiders.
All seven of the opening weekends fixtures will be played on the afternoon of Sunday February 3rd.
In Round Two, Widnes face another tough fixture as they travel to Toulouse before their away game against Toronto in round three (due to played in Newcastle).
Halifax and Leigh rekindle their rivalry as Rochdale also welcome Toronto. York travel to Dewsbury and Swinton play host to Bradford. The final games of round two see Batley travel to Featherstone and Barrow welcome Sheffield.
Leighs tough start continues throughout the first five rounds, they welcome Featherstone and Toronto in round three and four and then travel to York City Knights in round five. picking up wins in their home games is a must for the Centurions.
The battle of the newly-promoted sides takes place in round four as the Knights tavel to Odsal to face John Kear’s Bradford side.
Round 10 and 11 take place over Easter weekend with Good Friday playing host to three major derbies.
Halifax and Bradford face off at The Shay in what will be the first of a minimum three games between the sides in 2019. Widnes welcome Leigh and York travel to Featherstone.
Easter Monday see’s Toulouse and Halifax go head-to-head in France with York and Widnes facing off in a battle of the newest teams in the league.
Toulouse then welcome York to France the following weekend. Toronto’s first game over in Canada could take place on either Saturday April 27th against Swinton Lions or May 4th versus Bradford. The Swinton game could still take place in the UK so it is advised any fans wishing to travel do not make any arrangements until the matter is solved.
The Summer Bash will take place in Round 14, on the weekend of May 18th and 19th, with some bumper fixtures penned in for Bloomfield Road.
Rochdale kick the weekend off against Swinton, with the first of four local derbies over the course of the weekend, before Toronto and Toulouse take centre stage.
Then York City Knights will make their first Summer Bash appearance as a Championship club against a Featherstone Rovers team who will be determined to break their duck at Bloomfield Road, after losing on each of their previous four appearances.
Saturday’s programme ends with the traditional West Yorkshire rivalry between Halifax and Bradford Bulls.
Day Two kicks off with Barrow facing Sheffield Eagles, before Batley and Dewsbury meet for the fifth consecutive year at Bloomfield Road.
Then it will be down to two of the heavyweights in the Betfred Championship with recent Super League experience, Leigh and Widnes, to bring the Summer Bash to a rousing climax, with the Vikings making their first Bash appearance.
York play their first game in their new stadium, currently under construction against Bradford and this will take play on the weekend of July 20th.
The final round of the season sees York City Knights face Halifax, Dewsbury versus Widnes, Bradford welcoming Rochdale, Batley travelling to Barrow, the Eagles taking on Swinton, Toulouse will look to overcome Featherstone and Leigh will travel to Toulouse.
The top five teams will qualify for the Play-Offs, which will begin on the weekend of September 14-15 – with the winners of the Championship Play-Off Final on the first weekend of October securing promotion to the 2020 Super League.
In Betfred League 1, the team finishing top of the table after 20 rounds will win automatic promotion to the Championship, with a second promotion place determined by another five-team Play-Off series, for the teams finishing second to sixth – and the bottom two teams in the Championship relegated.
Another feature of the fixture lists for the Betfred Championship and League 1 is confirmation of the details of the 1895 Cup – the new competition offering a second opportunity to play at Wembley Stadium on Challenge Cup Final day, August 24, for the RFL member clubs outside the Super League.
Four League One clubs will earn the right to join the 12 English Championship clubs in the second round of the 1895 Cup in the week starting June 3 – following the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup, which are scheduled for the weekend of June 1-2.
The 1895 Cup quarter finals will be played in the week starting June 26, with the semi finals to be played as a double-header on the same weekend as the semi finals of the Challenge Cup – July 27-28.
Toronto and Toulouse will not play in the 1895 Cup.
All of the 2019 Championship fixtures can be found here.
Please let us know, with all the fixtures now released, tell us who you support and what game you are most looking forward to this season.