Thursday, 1 February 2018

Championship (Division 2) 2018 Preview

Hull KR v London - 2017 season (Hull Daily Mail)
Just below Super League in the UK is the Championship. It's a mix of fully pro and semi pro teams, some with aspirations of promotion, others content to retain their status in the Championship. It is made up of 12 teams, playing each other home and away (plus a weekend together game).

The top four enter a playoff series with the bottom four of SL. It's possible that up to four teams from the Championship could be promoted, or none. The most so far has been one. The remaining 8 sides play to win the Championship shield, with the two lowest placed sides relegated.

For 2018, the Leigh Centurions fell from SL to the Championship when Hull KR went up. The Toronto Wolfpack and the Barrow Raiders came up from the lower League One (division two), at the expense of the Oldhan 'Roughyeds' and the Bradford Bulls. Having teams from Canada and France gives this an international feel and for players the chance to travel while playing the game they love.

I don't know enough about all the teams to make meaningful predictions for all the sides.  I would say the likely quartet to make the Qualifiers and taking on the bottom four SL sides are Toronto, Leigh, Toulouse and Featherstone (my prediction in that order). London, Batley and Halifax will be pressing for places too. That leaves Barrow, Dewsbury, Rochdale, Sheffield and Swinton playing for survival at this level. Rochdale and Swinton look vulnerable to me.

The Championship is an exciting competition, with excellent RL and plenty for all teams to play for, either promotion or survival. Anything up to half the teams could technically move on at seasons end, although I don't think we would ever see that. Still, it gives all the teams plenty to play for. Bring it on I say.

PS. If you want to see matches, they are streamed. If I can find some links, I'll post them here.

No comments: