Batley Bulldogs v Dewsbury Rams - Heavy Woollen derby ends year-long layoff for Championship rivals
There will be no crowd, four 20-minute quarters and numerous substitutions on both sides, but rugby league finally returns to Mount Pleasant tomorrow (Saturday) when Batley Bulldogs play host to neighbours Dewsbury Rams (1.30pm).
The Betfred Championship rivals’ pre-season derby ends 12 months in the sporting wilderness.
Bulldogs have not played since a league defeat at Toulouse Olympique a year ago tomorrow.
Rams’ last game before coronavirus brought their 2020 season to a halt was a loss at Newcastle Thunder in the Challenge Cup a week later.
“We are going to break it down into four 20-minute quarters,” Bulldogs boss Craig Lingard confirmed.
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“We will have a normal half time and then a short break in between the first and second and third and fourth quarters.”
Bulldogs begin their campaign away to Halifax in the Betfred Challenge Cup and visit Featherstone Rovers for their league opener, on Good Friday.
Lingard added: “We will use [today’s game] to rotate the team around and give players as much time as we possibly can.
“We have a lot of players in a lot of positions now.”
Rams coach Lee Greenwood plans to use his full squad today.
He said: “Everyone who is fit and available will get a run out.
“It is a stepping stone for the season.
“We have some new players I need to see and I need to see what shape everybody’s in.”
Greenwood, whose side travel to Whitehaven in the Challenge Cup in two weeks’ time and face the same opposition at home in their first league game, said pre-season is “about having a look at everybody”.
He confirmed: “Everyone will get roughly half a game regardless of the score or what the performance is like at that point.
“While you are playing the game you should want to win and the lads will be doing everything they can, but that won’t be to the detriment of others getting a chance.
“The lads want to know how far off they are and want to stake a claim for the team.”