Double delight in Northern Rail Finals

Date published: Thursday, February 14, 2013

THE Northern Rail Cup final will take on an extra dimension this season with a new venue and a double bill following the introduction of the new Northern Rail Bowl final.

Both will be staged at The Shay on Saturday, July 20 to provide one of the highlights of the 2013 Rugby League calendar.

First up will be the inaugural Northern Rail Bowl final to be contested by the two Kingstone Press Championship One clubs which top their respective Northern Rail Cup groups prior to the knock-out stages.

Should a Championship One club reach the Northern Rail Cup final, the club placed second in its group will play in the Bowl final.

“The Northern Rail Cup final has always delivered a feast of entertaining Rugby

League and the introduction of the Northern Rail Bowl will make this great occasion even more memorable,” said RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer.

“This is a very exciting year for the sport with an expanded Championship and three new clubs entering Championship One. With an extra trophy up for grabs, I expect the action to be even more cut-throat over the coming months.

“Every team now has a realistic possibility of a final appearance on the big stage. From the moment the ball is kicked-off in every Northern Rail Cup fixture, every pass, every tackle and every score will count.

“I am also delighted that we have been able to reach agreement to stage the double header at The Shay, which will also be a host venue for Rugby League World Cup 2013 later this year.

“Halifax and Calderdale Council have invested significantly in a facility which is the envy of many other sports clubs around the country and I am sure everyone who attends the finals day will enjoy the experience and receive a warm welcome.”

Blackpool hosted eight successive Northern Rail finals from  2005 to 2012 and was a popular venue, but for 2013 the Championships clubs and the RFL felt the competition needed a fresh look to accommodate the new Northern Rail finals double header.

Northern Rail Projects Manager Ian Hall said: “The Northern Rail Bowl is a fantastic concept which will enhance an occasion which has grown in stature with every passing year.

“We are delighted to be associated with this exciting double header and are looking forward to a special day at The Shay.”

Halifax Chairman Michael Steele said: “Everyone at Halifax RLFC is delighted by the decision to hold the Northern Rail Cup finals day at The Shay.

“Whichever teams participate, their fans will experience great facilities, convenient parking near the ground, a good rail service from the sponsors and a warm welcome from the town.”

The 2013 Northern Rail Cup kicks off over the weekend of March 2-3 when eight Championship One clubs enter the group stages. The top club in each of the two pools will then join the 14 Championship clubs in the knock-out stages, which commence on the weekend of May 18-19.

Group A

Oldham
Rochdale Hornets
Gateshead Thunder
North Wales Crusaders

Group B

South Wales Scorpions
London Skolars
Gloucestershire All Golds
Hemel Stags

Each club will play four games, two home and two away. Three games will be between clubs in their pool with one game played against a club in the other pool.

Round 1 – Sunday March 3

Gloucestershire All Golds v Hemel Stags
North Wales Crusaders v OLDHAM
Rochdale Hornets v Gateshead Thunder
South Wales Scorpions v London Skolars

Round 2 – Sunday March 10

Gateshead Thunder v North Wales Crusaders
Gloucestershire All Golds v South Wales Scorpions
London Skolars v Hemel Stags
OLDHAM v Rochdale

Round 3 – Sunday March 17

Hemel Stags v South Wales Scorpions
London Skolars v Gloucestershire All Golds
North Wales Crusaders v Rochdale Hornets
OLDHAM v Gateshead Thunder

Round 4 – Sunday March 24

Gateshead Thunder v Gloucestershire All Golds
Hemel Stags v North Wales Crusaders
Rochdale Hornets v London Skolars
South Wales v OLDHAM

 

Weekend of May 18-19– Northern Rail Cup play-offs
Weekend of June 15-16 – Northern Rail Cup quarter-finals
Weekend of June 29-30 – Northern Rail Cup semi-finals
Saturday July 20 – Northern Rail Cup final and Northern Rail Bowl final

Details of ticket prices and availability for the 2013 Northern Rail Cup finals day at The Shay, Halifax, on Saturday July 20 will be announced in the next few weeks.