THE BANK holiday fixture schedule has caused problems for Hunslet Hawks and Dewsbury Rams.
Normally only one league game – London Skolars’ traditional Friday evening home fixture – is played over the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final weekend, but that has changed this year with a full round of Kingstone Press Championship Shield matches on Monday.
Hawks boss Barry Eaton admitted the trip to Whitehaven (3pm) will spoil Wembley weekend for several of his players who have tickets to the final, as well as others who had booked to go away.
“They are professional rugby players and we’re expecting them to go away and not have a drink and not have as good a time as they would normally,” said Eaton, who is on Leeds Rhinos’ coaching staff for today’s Wembley showpiece against Hull KR.
“It has been a big disruption, not just for us, but other clubs as well. They are giving up their bank holiday as well, but we were aware of it and we’ve had to plan accordingly.”
Hawks’ win at London Broncos last week has given them “a glimmer of hope” of avoiding the drop, according to Eaton.
He said: “A win was coming. The players have been bouncing in training and it has given us some belief and confidence.”
Meanwhile, Rams will aim to get back to winning ways – after last week’s defeat by Whitehaven – when they entertain London Broncos in a second versus third clash on Monday (3pm).
Coach Glenn Morrison said he could be without several players who had booked to go away, not realising there would be a game over the bank holiday.
“It has always been a weekend off,” he said. “But this game is a big one and it could decide who gets second.
“We have had some success against them – we’ve beaten them three times this year – and we know if we play at our best we can beat them. But they will come up here looking to get second spot and a home tie in the play-offs, so it is a bit like a Grand Final eliminator.
“We need to get back to winning ways. We weren’t at our best last week, but we need to show some grit in the next few weeks and build some momentum for the play-offs.”