Bulldogs and Rams looking to keep up strong starts

John Kear

John Kear

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BATLEY BULLDOGS and Dewsbury Rams are looking to build on a positive start to the Kingstone Press Championship season, but Featherstone Rovers have been left kicking their heels.

Bulldogs, who beat title favourites Leigh Centurions in round one before a narrow loss at Featherstone last Sunday, play host to Sheffield Eagles tomorrow (3pm).

Coach John Kear reckons the first six weeks of the season will set the pattern for the year and he said: “It’s difficult because we play what you’d say will be the top five teams.

“We have got a tough start, but we have embraced that. We are happy with that because it is allowing us to put a standard marker down.

“At the minute I am pretty happy with what I have seen, but it’s a matter of being consistent.”

Bulldogs have announced a dual-registration agreement with Oxford. The League One outfit have a similar arrangement with Castleford Tigers.

Rams have beaten two teams expected to be around them in the table and travel to a third tomorrow when they face promoted Oldham (3pm).

Coach Glenn Morrison has described Dewsbury’s opening four games as “must-win” and he said: “It is another tough one.

“They have played two full-time sides and performed well and they wil be looking at this one to get points on the board.

“We have got to make sure we turn up with the right intensity and mindset to get the job done.”

Morrison wants his men to carry on from where they left off against Whitehaven last week. He said: “If we play like that I am sure we’ve got enough quality to win the game, but if not we could get turned over, like we nearly did at Swinton.”

Featherstone had been due to visit Whitehaven this evening, but the game was postponed yesterday as the Recreation Ground pitch is unfit.

Rovers coach Jon Sharp said: “Ideally, we would have liked to have played it.

“We want to keep playing to maintain the momentum and we don’t want fixtures building up.”

Sharp wants to avoid a midweek trip to Cumbria and said he is hoping the game can be rearranged for a Challenge Cup weekend, if Rovers and Whitehaven do not progress to the late stages.

Featherstone Rovers coach Jon Sharp. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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