The Betfred Championship Summer Bash is back for the first time in three years in 2022 – and heading for Headingley!
The iconic home of Leeds Rhinos and numerous great Rugby League occasions has been selected to host the sixth gathering of all 14 Championship clubs on the weekend of July 30-31.
It will be the first time the Summer Bash has been played anywhere other than Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road since the festival was introduced in 2015, as an equivalent to Super League’s Magic Weekend.
A full round of seven fixtures will be played across the weekend – a 27th round for the 2022 Betfred Championship season, in addition to the home and away programme, which adds an intriguing extra element to the battle for places in the top six Play-Offs which will determine promotion to the 2023 Betfred Super League.
The fixtures have been selected to build on rivalries – local, old or new – and to maximise the appeal of the weekend for supporters of the 14 clubs and for Rugby League neutrals, as a celebration of the quality of competition outside the Betfred Super League.
All three Cumbrian clubs will play in the Championship this season and they will all be involved on the Sunday (July 31) – with Barrow Raiders facing Widnes Vikings, before Whitehaven and Workington Town take their unique rivalry to Headingley for the first time.
The Sunday programme concludes with a meeting of two of the Championship’s most progressive clubs, as York City Knights face Newcastle Thunder.
West Yorkshire teams and supporters will be in a majority on Saturday July 30, although the action kicks off with Sheffield Eagles taking on London Broncos – the 1998 Challenge Cup winners against the 1999 runners-up.
Then Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams will maintain the one constant of the Summer Bash since it was introduced in 2015, as they meet for the sixth time with Dewsbury having won three of the previous five derbies at Bloomfield Road.
Next on a Super Saturday, Bradford Bulls will face Halifax Panthers, on a ground where both sets of supporters have been regular visitors for fixtures against Leeds – although not for a few years.
The action ends with a heavyweight clash between Brian McDermott’s Featherstone Rovers, who have been beaten in each of the last two Championship Grand Finals, and Adrian Lam’s Leigh Centurions, aiming to bounce straight back following relegation from the Betfred Super League.
Mark Foster, the RFL’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “It’s an exciting line-up of fixtures which will showcase the quality of the teams and players in the Betfred Championship, and Headingley Stadium will be a fitting stage.
“It’s a venue with so much Rugby League history, which will be familiar to supporters of all 14 clubs – but this may be a first opportunity for many to experience the superb redevelopments of recent years.
“We hope that Headingley’s convenient location for so many Rugby League supporters will also encourage fans of clubs from outside the Betfred Championship to come and watch the action.
“And for those unable to make it to the event, the weekend will be featured live on Premier Sports as part of our new partnership to showcase the Betfred Championship.
“It’s always an enjoyable weekend on and off the field – and although it will be slightly different in Leeds as opposed to Blackpool, we’re confident Rugby League fans will find plenty of ways to enjoy themselves.”
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Betfred Championship Summer Bash 2022 – Headingley Stadium, July 30-31
Saturday July 30
London Broncos v Sheffield Eagles
Batley Bulldogs v Dewsbury Rams
Bradford Bulls v Halifax Panthers
Featherstone Rovers v Leigh Centurions
Sunday July 31
Barrow Raiders v Widnes Vikings
Whitehaven v Workington Town
Newcastle Thunder v York City Knights