Kear ready for Sheffield showdown
Batley coach John Kear has praised his opposite number Mark Aston ahead of Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship Grand Final between the Bulldogs and Sheffield Eagles at Leigh Sports Village (4.30pm).
Aston was part of the Sheffield side coached by Kear which won the Challenge Cup in 1998, a game in which Aston was named man-of-the-match, but Kear will be hoping his old protégé isn’t celebrating on Sunday.
“I know Mark really well,” said Kear. “I was lucky enough to coach him when he won the Lance Todd Trophy.
“He was a very clever player and he has managed to transfer that smartness from the playing field to his coaching and Sheffield have got to be acknowledged as the stellar team of the Championship this season.
“They got to the final of the Northern Rail Cup and the quarter-final of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup, as well as finishing second in the table but we’re confident we can come out on top this weekend.”
Batley are looking to become the first team to win the final after finishing outside the top four in the Championship, whilst Sheffield are looking to create history of their own by winning back-to-back titles.
“There’s always a first for everything,” he said. “Last year Sheffield became the first team to win the final from outside the top three, and now they’re looking to become the first to win back-to-back finals.
“There has to be a first time for everything. It’s these games which represent the culmination of a year’s work.
“You’ve just got to live in the moment and enjoy the game. At training for us it will be a case of getting our heads down and back to work.
“We’re happy because there’s a massive interest in the game in Batley. We took a big following to Featherstone and we want lots of interest from lots of people for this game.
“It would be great to get a big crowd in there and to get a lot of neutrals in. It is a great afternoon and you get to see three good games representing three different levels of Rugby League.”
The 2013 Kingstone Press Championships Finals Day at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday September 29 features a feast of first class Rugby League action with three matches kicking off with the Rugby League Conference Challenge Trophy Final, Leigh Miners v Wigan St Patricks (11.30am), followed by the Championship One Play-off Final (2.00pm) and Championship Grand Final (4.30pm). Tickets cost from just £15 for adults, £10 for concessions and can be purchased by visiting; www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113.
For people with any form of disability the RFL offers a free assistant place when booking tickets. For people with a visual impairment or non-sighted disability we also offer audio visual descriptive commentary for all our events.