RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood has congratulated Huddersfield Giants, Featherstone Rovers and North Wales Crusaders after all three clubs secured pole position in their respective competitions today.
A comprehensive 40-0 defeat of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats secured the Super League Leaders’ Shield for Huddersfield Giants in this evening’s televised fixture on Sky Sports, whilst Featherstone Rovers won the Kingstone Press Championship League Leaders’ Shield following their 46-8 win at Hunslet Hawks earlier in the day.
North Wales were also crowned champions of Kingstone Press Championship One following their 35-22 victory over South Wales Scorpions, an achievement which completes a unique double for the Crusaders, who also won the inaugural Northern Rail Bowl in July.
“I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Huddersfield, Featherstone and North Wales on their fine achievements, not just this weekend but over the course of what has been a memorable season for all three clubs,” said Wood.
“It is an amazing statistic that Huddersfield last ended the regular season on top of the league 81 years ago and their celebrations are well deserved.
“Huddersfield’s success is reward for a great deal of hard work by a great many people but the feat will be especially sweet for their chairman Ken Davy, who deserves much credit for his unswerving commitment, both to the Giants and to Rugby League in the sport’s birthplace.
“Featherstone have a proud record of topping the Championship, having done so in each of the last three seasons, and a fourth successive League Leaders Shield sets them up nicely for the play-offs.
“Having invested significantly in improving facilities by building a new stand, Featherstone are clearly a club with big ambitions and few of their rivals will relish the trip to Big Fellas Stadium in the coming weeks.
“North Wales have come a long way since they entered Championship One last season and I am delighted for their chairman Jamie Thomas and everyone involved with the club on their title success.
“In the four years since professional Rugby League was established in Wrexham, the Crusaders have demonstrated what can be achieved when a club is run on sound business principles under good leadership.
“The Crusaders will now take their deserved place in the Championship for 2014 and watch on with the rest of us as the domestic competitions build to a thrilling climax before the year ends with the mouth-watering Rugby League World Cup.”
The title-deciding Kingstone Press Championship top-eight play-offs kick off on Friday night when Premier Sports will televise the Sheffield Eagles versus Halifax fixture at 7.30pm. Next weekend also sees the start of the Championship One play-offs, when the clubs which finished in second to sixth positions will vie for a second promotion place.
The regular Super League season concludes with seven Round 27 fixtures next weekend before the start of the top-eight play-offs on Thursday September 12.
The Kingstone Press Championship Grand Final and the Championship One play-off final will take place at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday September 29, when the action commences with the Rugby League Conference Challenge Trophy Final, Leigh Miners v Wigan St Patricks. 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.
The 2013 Super League Grand Final takes place at Old Trafford, Manchester, on Saturday October 5 (6.00pm) when tickets cost from just £20. Family tickets giving entry to two adults and two children are also available for £70 and can be purchased by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or calling 0844 856 1113.
This opening week play-off fixtures in the Kingstone Press Championships are as follows:
Kingstone Press Championship
Friday September 6
Qualifying Play-off: Sheffield Eagles v Halifax (7.30, live on Premier Sports). Winning team has a bye in Week 2 and a home play-off in Week 3; losing team at home in Week 2 to Elimination Play-off winners.
Sunday September 8
Qualifying Play-off: Featherstone Rovers v Leigh Centurions (3.00pm). Winning team has a bye in Week 2 and a home play-off in Week 3, losing team at home in Week 2 to Elimination Play-off winners.
Elimination Play-offs: Batley Bulldogs v Workington Town (2.00), Doncaster v Dewsbury Rams (3.00). Winners away to Qualifying Play-off losing teams in Week 2, losers eliminated.
Kingstone Press Championship One
Sunday September 8
Qualifying Play-off: Rochdale Hornets v London Skolars (3.00). Winners away to Oldham in Week 2, losing team at home to winners of Elimination Play-off in Week 2.
Elimination Play-off: Hemel Stags v Oxford (3.00). Winners away to Qualifying Play-off losing team (Rochdale or London) in Week 2, losers eliminated.