Kingstone Press Championships Play-offs preview
Sunday September 22
Kingstone Press Championship Qualifying semi-final
Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs (3.00pm)
Featherstone Rovers team manager Sean Long is aiming to maintain the club’s unbeaten record against Batley Bulldogs in 2013 when they clash for a third time this year on Sunday afternoon.
Rovers won 18-12 at home in July, backing up a 16-12 victory at Mount Pleasant in May.
Now Long is determined to complete the treble, with a place in the Kingstone Press Championship Grand Final at stake.
Vince Mellars (knee) hopes to return after missing Rovers play-off win over Leigh, while Andy Kain is also expected to feature despite carrying a knock into the Centurions match.
Bulldogs coach John Kear, who is without Johnny Campbell (suspended), insists Batley will be ready despite a grueling golden-point win over Leigh last week.
Kear said: “We’re feeling confident and good about ourselves. We’re playing some good rugby at the moment. We’ll be right, don’t worry.”
He added: “It’s great for the club. I feel really chuffed for all the directors and fans. We’ve just got to dust ourselves down and have a dig.”
Kingstone Press Championship One Final Eliminator
Oldham v London Skolars (3.00pm)
Oldham full-back Richard Lepori returns after missing last week’s narrow defeat by Rochdale Hornets.
Lepori was on international duty with Italy, producing a man of the match display in their 32-20 win over Serbia.
He now looks set to replace Tom Whitehead, who broke his hand against Rochdale, as Oldham battle for the win that will take them to the Kingstone Press Championship One Play-off Final.
Oldham have won seven of their last eight meetings with London Skolars, with their last defeat coming in July 2011.
Oldham coach Scott Naylor said: “I can never knock this fine young squad for effort and desire. They are a great bunch; gutsy, hard working and exceptionally fit.”
Skolars coach Joe Mbu faces a major reshuffle of his side’s attacking options after Dylan Skee, a nominee for the Kingstone Press Championship One Player of the Year award, broke his ankle late in the game against Hemel Stags last week.
Mbu said: “Dylan will definitely be missed, but he’ll be with us at the weekend and that’s the type of guy he is. The players want to do it for him.”
On Oldham, Mbu added: “They’re a good side but we’re a lot stronger team now than in our two previous meetings this year, and that puts me in a positive spirit.”