A FIXTURE list with the wow factor – that was Oldham RL Club’s initial reaction to a 2017 Kingstone Press Championship schedule that pairs them with Sheffield Eagles, Featherstone Rovers, London Broncos and Hull KR in their first four outings.
“Every game has something special or intriguing about it. Last season was good; next year will be even better,” said Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton.
It starts with Sheffield’s visit to Bower Fold on Sunday, February 5 – and before the month is out Scott Naylor’s new-look squad will go head to head with two of last season’s top four and a Hull KR outfit that was relegated from Super League.
Added Hamilton: “We’ve got a tough start – like last season – but everyone at the club is looking forward to it.
“We’ve a few derbies, the Toulouse factor, and several games in which players will face former clubs and ex-team mates. It’s exciting.”
Roughyeds go to promoted Rochdale on March 12 (potentially facing former team mates in Lewis Palfrey, Gary Middlehurst, Miles Greenwood, David Cookson, Josh Crowley and Jack Holmes) and entertain the old enemy at Bower Fold on July 23 as well as meeting them in the Summer Bash game at Blackpool on Saturday, May 27.
The ‘new’ Oldham club’s first-ever game in France against promoted Toulouse Olympique at Stade Ernest Ageles will be on Saturday, April 8 with the return game at Bower Fold on Sunday, July 2.
Swinton Lions will be at Bower Fold on Good Friday, April 14 (3pm) and Roughyeds will go to Halifax on Easter Monday, April 17 (7.30).
After Good Friday, fans won’t see their favourites in league action at Bower Fold for five weeks – a break for work to take place on the pitch – but then five of the last seven games of the regular season are at home in June and July when Hull KR, Halifax, Toulouse, Featherstone and Rochdale will all do battle in ‘Fortress Bower’.
All games kick-off at 3pm apart from Halifax away (7.30) and Rochdale at Blackpool in Summer Bash (2.30).
OLDHAM RLFC 2017
Kingstone Press Championship
(Kick-off 3pm unless stated differently)
5: Sheffield Eagles H
12: Featherstone Rovers A
19: London Broncos H
26: Hull KR A
5: Dewsbury Rams H
12: Rochdale Hornets A
26: Batley Bulldogs A
2: Bradford Bulls H
8 (Sat): Toulouse Olympique A
14 (GF): Swinton Lions H
17 (EM): Halifax (7.30pm) A
30: Dewsbury Rams A
7: London Broncos A
21: Batley Bulldogs H
27 (Sat): Rochdale Hornets (at Blackpool, 2.30)
4: Swinton Lions A
11: Hull KR H
18: Halifax H
25: Bradford Bulls A
2: Toulouse Olympique H
9: Featherstone Rovers H
16: Sheffield Eagles A
23: Rochdale Hornets H
Each team will play 23 games in the regular season – home and away against the other 11 plus the Summer Bash game.
Sky Sports will show selected matches in the regular season and all six Summer Bash games, including Oldham v Rochdale, will be available to watch across Sky Sports.
At the end of the regular season the eight teams finishing 5 to 12 inclusive will play each other once more (seven games each) with points accrued added to those gained in the 23 regular fixtures to determine final positions. The bottom two will be relegated; the top four will play off for the Championship Shield.