BOOKMAKERS have gone for Roughyeds to finish third in the forthcoming Betfred League One campaign behind top-of-the-house Keighley Cougars and runners-up Swinton Lions.
Cougars are priced at 5/2 favourites to be promoted as champions with Swinton Lions at 3/1 and Stuart Littler’s Oldham at 6/1.
Surprisingly, new club Cornwall (10/1) come in seventh on the bookies’ imaginary league ladder — highest of the so-called southern section and one place higher than Doncaster.
Odds: Keighley Cougars 5/2; Swinton Lions 3/1; OLDHAM 6/1; Rochdale Hornets 7/1; North Wales Crusaders 8/1; Hunslet 9/1; Cornwall 10/1; Doncaster 12/1; Midlands Hurricanes 33/1; London Skolars 50/1; West Wales 66/1.
Going off that, the bookies see our league opener at home to Keighley on Sunday, March 27 as a mouth-watering 3 v 1 affair, a dress rehearsal for which will take place this Sunday (3pm) in a pre-season friendly at Cougar Park.
An interesting tit-bit will be the return to Keighley of several Oldham players who have played for Cougars in the past, among them prop Jack Coventry, second-row Jason Muranka, hooker Ryan Wright, back-row man Emmerson Whittel and centre Will Cooke.
Coventry will be sponsored for the season by the (Past) Players Association, who are keen to get more involved with Roughyeds on a match-to-match basis as part of the ‘Partners’ initiative.
They are currently seeking a get-together with chairman Chris Hamilton and vice-chairman John Roddy to discuss a partnership moving forward.
They are also looking at sponsoring three National Conference matches in the coming season — Waterhead v Batley Boys (May 21), St Anne’s v Shaw Cross (June 18), Saddleworth v Ince Rose Bridge (July 16).
Local highlight of day one in the NCL this Saturday is the third-division derby clash of Waterhead and St Anne’s on Waterhead Park.
Saddleworth start their new life in division one with a long trip to Myton of Hull — Waterhead’s opponents in the forthcoming National Cup semi-final.