The start of Betfred League 1 means another feast of action available on Our League as the countdown continues to the much-anticipated return of spectators to Rugby League next month.
The schedules for the weekends of May 7-9 and 14-17 are published today, with a total of 21 fixtures in Betfred Championship and League 1 available for purchase on pay per view on the RFL’s Our League web and app – at the established Early Bird price of £4.95.
The fixtures also include a double header on Sunday May 9 at Heywood Road, which has recently been confirmed as Swinton Lions’ home ground until the end of 2023 – with the Lions’ home game against Bradford Bulls to kick off at 11.45am, allowing time for the ground to be readied for a 4.15pm kick-off for the game between Toulouse Olympique and Widnes Vikings which has been switched from France because of ongoing issues around Covid-19 and quarantine.
The opening round of Betfred League 1 fixtures include an attractive home opener for Rochdale Hornets against a West Wales Raiders team whose high-profile signings, Gavin Henson and Rangi Chase, have had several weeks to build on the promise shown in a Challenge Cup defeat by Widnes.
Promotion favourites Barrow Raiders open up with a trip to the Midlands to face Coventry Bears at Butts Park Arena, while their Cumbrian rivals Workington Town are also on the road to face Hunslet at the South Leeds Stadium.
Keighley Cougars face Doncaster, and the Betfred League 1 will begin on Saturday May 8 when London Skolars host North Wales Crusaders at the New River Stadium.
The following weekend, North Wales play their first home game at their new Colwyn Bay base against Hunslet and West Wales host Coventry at Stebonheath Park on Saturday May 15 before the remaining three matches the following day: Barrow v Keighley, Doncaster v Rochdale and Workington v Skolars.
In the Betfred Championship, Sheffield Eagles will face Batley Bulldogs on Friday May 7, then Oldham host Whitehaven on Saturday May 8, with the remaining five matches in Round Five on Sunday May 9 – Dewsbury Rams v Halifax Panthers, London Broncos v Newcastle Thunder and a 7.30pm kick-off between York City Knights v Featherstone Rovers, as well as the double header at Heywood Road.
The following weekend, three Championship games have been put back to Monday May 17, the date when spectators are due to be permitted to return to sport – Bradford Bulls v Newcastle Thunder, Featherstone Rovers v Oldham, and Swinton Lions v Dewsbury Rams. Our League streaming passes are not available for these fixtures.
Three remaining four are still scheduled for Sunday May 16 – Halifax v Sheffield, Whitehaven v Toulouse and Widnes v York – with the Batley v Broncos details still to be confirmed.
Day passes are not available for either weekend, but a new Weekend Pass worth £30 will be on sale - covering fixtures in both competitions, and therefore offering even better value.
Before all that, this weekend’s six Betfred Championship fixtures are all available for purchase on Our League – with Early Bird, Day and Weekend passes available. Rugby-League.com
Round 5 – all games live on Our League
Friday May 7: Sheffield Eagles v Batley Bulldogs (7.45pm)
Saturday May 8: Oldham v Whitehaven (12.45pm)
Sunday May 9: Swinton Lions v Bradford Bulls (1145am), London Broncos v Newcastle Thunder (3pm), Toulouse Olympique v Widnes Vikings (415pm, at Heywood Road, Sale), Dewsbury Rams v Halifax Panthers (515pm), York City Knights v Featherstone Rovers (730pm)
Round 6 – all games live on Our League unless stated otherwise
Sunday May 16: Halifax Panthers v Sheffield Eagles (12.45pm), Whitehaven v Toulouse Olympique (3pm), Widnes Vikings v York City Knights (3pm).
Monday May 17 – Return of Fans, not streamed on Our League (TBC): Bradford Bulls v Newcastle Thunder (KO, venue TBC), Swinton Lions v Dewsbury Rams (745pm), Featherstone Rovers v Oldham (8pm).
TBC: Batley Bulldogs v London Broncos.
Betfred League 1 – all matches live on Our League
Saturday May 8: London Skolars v North Wales Crusaders (330pm)
Sunday May 9: Hunslet v Workington Town (2pm), Coventry Bears v Barrow Raiders (3pm), Keighley Cougars v Doncaster (3pm), Rochdale Hornets v West Wales Raiders (3pm)
Saturday May 15: North Wales Crusaders v Hunslet (230pm), West Wales Raiders v Coventry Bears (3pm)
Sunday May 16: Workington Town v London Skolars (2pm), Barrow Raiders v Keighley Cougars (3pm), Doncaster v Rochdale Hornets (3pm).