2012 fixtures

Date published: Monday, December 5, 2011

ROUGHYEDS have been given a crowd-pulling opening game to the all-important 2012 season with Featherstone Rovers, arguably the strongest club outside Super League, coming to Whitebank on Sunday, February 12 in the Northern Rail Cup (3pm kick off).

Oldham are the only Championship One side to be paired with Rovers in the group stages of the Northern Rail because the Post Office Road side’s other ties are against Dewsbury, Halifax and Batley Bulldogs.

Daryl Powell’s men topped the Championship One table in 2010 with 18 wins from 20 games and finished top again in 2011 with 18 wins and one draw, amazingly suffering only three league defeats across the two seasons.

On top of that they reached the Championship Grand Final in 2010, losing 23-22 to Halifax after golden point extra time and then made up for that disappointment with a resounding 40-4 triumph against Sheffield Eagles in the 2011 Grand Final.”It’s fair to say we’ve got the toughest possible start,” said Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton, “especially as three of our four group games in the NRC are against teams from the Championship.”

The exception is South Wales Scorpions, whom Tony Benson’s boys visit in their second game on Sunday, February 19. The Roughyeds’ other group games are against Dewsbury at home on Sunday, Feb 26 and Keighley away on Sunday, March 4.

The crucial league campaign starts with a trip to Cumbria on Sunday, March 11 to face Workington Town at Derwent Park — another tough test —- and the first home game in the league is seven days later against Gateshead Thunder at Whitebank (3pm kick off).

Derby rivals Rochdale come to Whitebank pre-season for a Law Cup clash on Monday, January 2, but when we clash again in the serious stuff on Good Friday, April 6 the game takes place at Spotland, although the kick-off time has yet to be confirmed.

Our first clash with new club North Wales Crusaders, to be coached by Clive Griffiths, will be at Whitebank on Sunday, May 6, while we travel to Wrexham for the return game on Sunday, June 10 (2.30kick off).

Our last home league game is against Workington on Sunday, August 19 and the curtain drops on the regular league season when we travet to Gateshead on Sunday, September 2.

The four to be promoted are the team finishing top; both Grand Finalists; and the next highest finisher which means teams finishing first and second are guaranteed entry to the 14-club Championship in 2013.

Added Mr Hamilton: “It’s an exceptionally tough Northern Rail Cup for us, but it will certainly prepare us well for the start of the league campaign and it will make sure that we don’t start the league fixtures in any way undercooked.

“The Championship is where we want to be so it will be a good test for us to be competing at that level against Featherstone, Dewsbury and Keighley and hopefully it will stand us in good stead for the season.

“There are no Easter Monday games this time, but with two games fewer in the league it makes the intensity all that much greater. There is certainly no margin for error in a league programme of 18 games.”

Fans should note that although the Early-Bird offers on season tickets have now closed, season tickets can still be purchasedup to December 23 for less per game over the course of the season compared to paying at the turnstiles. If you require more information — or would consider purchasing as a Christmas present — ring the Roughyeds office on 0161 628 3677 for more detail.