The Bulldogs and Castleford Tigers have entered a Dual Registration agreement for the 2024 campaign giving the opportunity for Bulldogs Head Coach Mark Moxon to add vital cover to his squad.
Mokko told us “The dual registration agreement will work well for us and Castleford this year. Clearly Linners and I have a good working relationship and both understand each others philosophies. A few players at Cas are already a part of our family at the Bulldogs and if they were to play for us the transition would be seamless.
Any other players that are made available would have to make us stronger for us to take them. In return, we hope to give the Tigers players some needed game time, at a high standard within a good culture up at The Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.“
Following a meeting of Betfred Championship and League One clubs last month the RFL Board has confirmed the structure for the 2024 season – including a new, expanded format for the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup.
The Betfred Championship will continue as a 14-team competition, with the top six teams qualifying for a Play-Off series culminating in a Grand Final to determine the champions. This will be played at the home ground of the team ranked highest during the regular season.
Betfred League One will be a nine-club competition, with each side playing 20 matches – 10 at home, and 10 away. This will involve four loop fixtures for each team, to be determined by seedings based on 2023 finishing positions (a contingency model has also been devised for an eight-team competition, which would see each team play the other three times in a 21-round programme). The League One Grand Final will be played on October 6 at home ground of the team ranked highest during the regular season.
Importantly, clubs in both leagues have been invited to join a forum to consider the best structure below Super League for 2025 and beyond, the intention being to announce decisions before the start of the 2024 league competitions to provide clarity around promotion and relegation between any divisions.
And, in response to representations from League One clubs that they would benefit from being able to offer more fixtures to their supporters, a new structure has been devised for the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup – the competition introduced in 2019 to provide a second and more realistic chance for clubs outside the Betfred Super League to reach Challenge Cup Finals Day at Wembley Stadium.
In 2024 the 13 England-based Championship clubs will join eight League One clubs (Cornwall having graciously opted not to take part) in seven groups of three. Groups will be seeded and regionalised, with League One clubs awarded home advantage in any fixtures against Championship opposition. The top team in each group will qualify for Quarter Finals, joined by the best-performing second-placed team – the latter to be determined by competition points initially and then, if necessary, by points difference.
Further details will be provided when the full fixtures list for Betfred Championship, League One and the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup is published on Sunday December 3.
The first round of group fixtures in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup will be played on the weekend of January 27-28. The remaining two rounds of group fixtures will be played in February, alternating with the early rounds of the Betfred Challenge Cup. Quarter-finals will be played on March 3, semi-finals on May 12 and the final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday June 8.
Halifax Panthers became the fourth different winners of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup from as many finals when they defeated Batley Bulldogs 12-10 at Wembley last August. The Panthers followed Leigh Centurions (as they were then known) in 2022, who beat Featherstone Rovers 30-16 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium; Rovers themselves in 2021 when they defeated York Knights 41-34 at Wembley Stadium and Sheffield Eagles, who were the inaugural winners in 2019 when they beat Widnes Vikings 36-18 at Wembley.
So the first IMG gradings are published and some people were waiting for them in anticipation so now they know and can sit on their laurels or seek to improve. Personally there is not much there that surprises me as firstly we are roughly where i expected us to be but possibly with a slightly higher mark than anticipated and secondly the only Championship Club above SL Clubs is Toulouse so no great shocks there as that is exactly what i expected.
So the only surprise for me was London being so low and I am sure they will be looking to improve to avoid any negative consequences which certainly could be severe for them.
So from our Clubs point of view we have requested as much detail as possible from the Rfl and we will then analyse if we can improve and if so by how much we can improve and at that stage we will advise supporters who are interested of our detailed views. We voted against these proposals so we are entitled to complain if we so wish but Clubs who voted in favour in my view cannot complain but i bet next year when it impacts some do!
The Club’s priorities however are to sort out our finances going forward, ensure we have a competitive team next season and try to improve certain facilities at the Club to make us sustainable for the future. We would prefer to be high up in a Championship table on the field rather than a Grading table off it as that is why we are here .We love the sport of Rugby League at Batley Bulldogs.
By the way just to confirm now even if we are lucky enough to finish top of the Championship next year and win a Grand Final we won’t be eligible for SL but i think most supporters know that already. We will nevertheless not let that sad fact deter us in any way from a goal of finishing as high up in the Champi
The 2023 AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final between Batley Bulldogs and Halifax Panthers will be shown live, exclusive and completely free on the Our League web and app.
It will complete an eight-hour feast of Rugby League from Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon, following the historic double of the Betfred Women’s and Men’s Challenge Cup Finals, which will be shown live on BBC2 and BBC1 respectively.
The Women’s Final kicks off at 1150am, the Men’s Final in the traditional slot of 3pm, and the fourth AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final will kick off at 530pm.
Batley and Halifax are each playing in their first Final, and this will be the first 1895 Cup Final contested by two founder members of the Northern Union when it was formed in 1895.
It will be Batley’s first appearance at Wembley Stadium, as although they were the first winners of the Challenge Cup in 1897 and won it twice more in the next four years, that was well before the bold decision to take the Final south to Wembley in 1929.
Halifax have won the Challenge Cup five times, the last three of them at Wembley – most recently against St Helens in 1987.
As has been the case since the Final was first played at Wembley in 2019, the winner of the Ray French Award as Player of the Match will be determined by the votes of Our League members.
Anthony Thackeray was the first winner of the award, named after the hugely popular former dual code international and BBC commentator following a poll of Our League members, when Sheffield Eagles beat Widnes Vikings in 2019.
After the competition was suspended because of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Thackeray was followed in 2021 by Craig Hall for his performance in Featherstone Rovers’ victory over York.
And last year the Papua New Guinea hooker Edwin Ipape became the first overseas winner when he was voted the outstanding performer in Leigh’s win against Featherstone.
Our League is Rugby League’s membership platform, completely free to join, and now boasting more than 250,000 members.
For further details, go to Ourleague
‘Fallen heroes’ to be honoured at unique Cenotaph ceremony on Friday 11 August
Rugby League’s traditional and unique tribute to fallen heroes at the Cenotaph on the eve of the Challenge Cup Final in London will have an additional dimension in 2023, given the involvement of representatives from the first Women’s Challenge Cup Final to be played at Wembley.
Representatives of Leeds Rhinos and St Helens, who will contest the historic Women’s Final on Saturday, will join the captains and head coaches of Hull KR and Leigh Leopards, the Men’s Finalists, in Whitehall for the ceremony, at 11am on Friday August 11 – and there will also be representation from Batley Bulldogs and Halifax Panthers, the West Yorkshire clubs who will make their first appearances in the Final of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup, which will also be played at Wembley on Saturday August 12.
Supporters of all six clubs are expected to attend and pay their respects, in addition to other Rugby League lovers in London for Challenge Cup Finals Weekend – and as ever, the RFL widens that invitation to the general public to a ceremony which was first conducted in 1930.
RFL Chair Simon Johnson will lay a wreath on behalf of the sport’s governing body, and he will be joined by representatives from the Armed Forces Rugby League, the Royal British Legion, and the All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group – and also Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons, who was recently reappointed as President of the RFL for a second year.
RFL Chair Simon Johnson says:
“It is a truly unique occasion and an intrinsic part of Rugby League’s Challenge Cup Final weekend, and I will again be immensely proud, both personally and as RFL Chair, to lead a tradition which honours those from our sport who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“The ceremony encapsulates the magnificent heritage of Rugby League and demonstrates how the sport is woven into the fabric of its communities and into the history of the North of England.
“Many people come to watch this solemn ceremony in their club colours, and the presence of representatives from the first Women’s Challenge Cup Final to be played at Wembley will be a welcome and significant addition.”
Hull KR and Leigh, returning to the Men’s Challenge Cup Final after a number of years, will be united in remembering two Northern Union heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in the Great War (1914-1918) within 24 hours.
Leigh’s rising star (Sergeant) Ernest Doorey (1st Battalion King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment) was killed in action on 24 May 1915, during the Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge (Second Battle of Ypres). In the early hours of the following day, Hull KR and Great Britain centre (Private) Phil Thomas (1st Yorkshire Hussars Alexandra Princess of Wales’s Own Yeomanry) was also killed in action. Neither Doorey or Thomas have a known grave and they are remembered among the 54,588 at the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres.
A two-minute silence will commence on the stroke of 11am. This will be followed by wreath-laying, with Denise Edgar representing the Royal British Legion, and Lt Col. Dave Groce MBE on behalf of UK Armed Forces Rugby League.
There will then be prayers and the traditional bugle-call ‘The Rouse’ which will bring the ceremony to a close – before the representatives of the six clubs head for Wembley for the Captains’ Runs and familiarisation visits which are another tradition of Challenge Cup Finals weekend.
Rugby League remembers [the-then Northern Union] players from this year’s finalists who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War
|Men’s Challenge Cup Finalist||Women’s Challenge Cup Finalist||1895 Cup Finalists|
|Hull KR||Leigh Leopards||St Helens||Leeds||Halifax Panthers||Batley Bulldogs|
|Thomas, Phillip (Private). 25 May 1915||Doorey, Ernest (Sergeant). 24 May 1915||Flanagan, James (Lance Serjeant). 14 May 1918||Abbott, Sidney (Sergeant). 18 Sep 1918||Ewart, John (Private). 21 Mar 1918||Child, Joseph (Private). 9 Apr 1917|
|Topping, Robert (Private). 30 Jun 1916||Turtill, Hubert (Sergeant). 9 Apr 1918||Blakey, David (Sergeant). 1 Jul 1916||Debney, James (Private). 29 Sep 1916|
|Hopkins, Joseph (Private). 1 Jul 1916||Johnson, Walter (Rifleman). 3 Sep 1916|
|Jarman, Samuel (Private). 15 Aug 1916||Randerson, Robert (Captain). 7 Aug 1915|
|Leckonby, Leonard (Sergeant). 23 Apr 1917||Tindall, John (Rifleman). 9 May 1915.|
|Llewellyn, Arthur (Rifleman). 1 Jun 1917|
|Pickles, Joseph (Sergeant). 1 Jul 1916.|
|Ward, Belfred (Private). 30 Apr 1916|
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
The lines from John McCrae’s famous poem, hold more significance for this year’s Betfred Challenge Cup finalists than most will realise. For it is in Flanders within 24 hours that two of the Northern Union heroes made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in the Great War (1914-1918). Leigh’s rising star (Sergeant) Ernest Doorey (1st Battalion King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment) was killed in action on 24 May 1915, during the Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge (Second Battle of Ypres). In the early hours of the following day, Hull KR and Great Britain centre (Private) Phil Thomas (1st Yorkshire Hussars Alexandra Princess of Wales’s Own Yeomanry) was also killed in action.
Doorey signed for his hometown club of Leigh and was anticipated to be a future Rugby League star, who was tipped for Great Britain Colours. However, within less than 6 months of his signing, 6’2, 22-year-old Doorey found himself arriving with the British Expeditionary Force in France. The details surrounding Doorey’s death are unclear. He was killed in the vicinity of the infamous Mouse hole farm, when his battalion fought fiercely under gas and artillery bombardment to defend their trenches whilst their flanking formations withdrew.
In contrast to Doorey, Hull KR’s Phil Thomas was 36 years old, and was well renowned within the Northern Union having played for Oldham, Leeds, Coventry and Hull KR. His signing for Leeds from Oldham was a record £250 in 1904. Thomas survived only 5 weeks on the western front before he was killed. He died at the Second Battle of Ypres having suffered a direct hit from Artillery fire as he moved forward in broad daylight from his trenches in Vlamertinghe.
Neither Doorey or Thomas have a known grave and they are remembered among the 54,588 at the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres.
For the 1895 Cup finalists, the Western front is where they paid their highest toll. On 9 May 1915 in what was a terrible day for Allied forces in which they lost nearly 11,000 soldiers. Batley’s loss was equally as significant, losing John Tindal (Rifleman) in the infamous battle of Aubers Ridge. Tindall was a poster boy for Batley and held the try scoring record (having scored 29 tries in the 1912/13 season). Sadly, while waiting to go ‘over the top’ he received a direct hit from an Artillery shell, suffering horrific wounds to the back and shoulder which resulted in his bleeding to death.
Three years later, as part of the German Spring Offensive, which is often referred to as ‘the meatgrinder’ due to its heavy human toll, Halifax were to lose their lightning-fast winger John ‘Jock’ Ewart (Private). Ewart was serving with the 5th Battalion the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, when the first surge of the German attack came in, with 8,000 deaths and over 38,000 casualties on that first day, his battalion was at the heart of the fighting. At some point on the 21 March 1918, under heavy gas and explosive artillery shelling Jock Ewart was killed in action, aged 23. He has no known grave and is remembered amongst the 14,000 at the Pozieres Memorial in France.
Batley Bulldogs and Halifax Panthers to make history in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final
Batley Bulldogs and Halifax Panthers will make history on August 12 when both clubs make their final bow in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final at Wembley Stadium (KO 5.30pm.)
The cup competition was introduced in 2019 and offers Championship and League One clubs an opportunity to play in a knockout competition and earn a place at Wembley on Challenge Cup Final day – traditionally a celebration for the sport of Rugby League.
Batley, famously three-time winners of the Challenge Cup, including the first in 1897, will hope to write another notable chapter in the town’s history after beating York Knights 22-8 in the semi-finals to reach Wembley for the first time in their 143-year history.
Halifax are five-time Challenge Cup winners – their last success coming in 1987 against the same club Batley had defeated 100 years earlier: St Helens. The Panthers booked their place at the national stadium for the first time in 35 years with a memorable 6-10 victory at London Broncos.
With head coaches Craig Lingard (Batley Bulldogs) and Simon Grix both confirming their departures from their respective clubs at the end of this season, the fourth AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final promises to be an emotional occasion and a fitting climax to Finals Day on August 12.
Laura Beaumont, Marketing Director at AB Sundecks, says:
“This competition gives clubs outside Super League a realistic chance of playing at Wembley Stadium on finals day and I am sure that this year’s event is going to be a fantastic occasion for both teams involved. “My message to both clubs is ‘don’t doubt yourselves, go for it and enjoy it!’”
The 2023 Final will be the last match of an action-packed day which kicks off with the inspiresports Champion Schools Year 7 Boys Final between Archbishop Sentamu Academy (Hull) and Bedford High School (Leigh), and continues with the first Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final at Wembley at 11.50am, followed by the Men’s Final at 3pm.
News Release by The RFL.
It’s a West Yorkshire Derby in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final as The Bulldogs face Halifax Panthers at Wembley Stadium on 12 August.
Our ticket allocation runs from block 116 to 120 in the East End with prices dependent on seating and are valid for the full day.
Adults £30 £40 £50
Concessions (Over 65 and Students) £20 £30 £40
Under 16s £15 £20 £30
Please be aware NO UNDER 2s are allowed in the stadium. We do not have any category 5 tickets for sale.
Tickets are on sale from The Fox’s Biscuits Stadium at the following times.
Weekday Mornings from Wednesday 26 July to Thursday 10 August
10am to Midday
Thursday 27 July, Tuesday 1 August, Weds 2 August, Thursday 3 August
6pm to 7.30pm
Saturday 29 July 10am to Midday
Additional times may become available.
Travel is being arranged by a number of supporter groups. Please keep an eye on our social channels for updates.
A former Batley RL player and director has announced a major sponsorship deal with Batley Bulldogs.
Birstall-born Peter McVeigh made a name for himself in junior rugby league – captaining St Mary’s RC School, Batley; Inter-Towns (Batley and Dewsbury); Yorkshire Schools and the National Association of Boys Clubs teams before joining Batley Boys.
He made his senior debut for Batley RL in the second row aged 17 at Mount Pleasant on April 15, 1959 against Halifax.
Peter played for Batley for nine years before moving to Hull and Leeds under legendary player and coach Roy Francis and building a successful business career.
He served as a Batley RL director in the 1980s and was the club’s first playing shirt sponsor when he ran the lighting company
De La Mer.
Peter is chairman and managing director of the Birkenshaw-based multi-million pound lighting and electrical accessories company Status International (UK) Ltd, the UK’s leading independent supplier of lighting and electrical accessories. He founded the company with his son Nicholas, co-director and company secretary, in 1990. His son-in-law Andrew is also a director.
Peter said he was very grateful to Batley Boys and Batley RL “for giving me a start in life and getting me on the straight and narrow”. When he was awarded his Batley RL heritage number certificate in April he said he publicly thanked Batley RL for instilling a discipline in him that has served him well throughout his private and business life.
“It was a great pleasure playing for Batley, the club set me off on the right road,” he said. “Coming
from a family of 12, it could have gone the other way but thank God Batley put me on the straight and narrow, and playing for the club gave me lots of self-confidence. So I’m thanking Batley RL for it has done for me.”
Batley Bulldogs chairman Kevin Nicholas said: “This is a historic sponsorship deal bearing in mind that Peter is a former player and former director of the club and is now a significant sponsor.
“This is a special situation in any sport, especially in rugby league. We are delighted to welcome Peter back to the club and are grateful for his help. Peter is also part of the McVeigh family who have always been staunch, and very much appreciated, supporters of the club.”
The deal will see The Glen Tomlinson Stand feature the branding of Status International.
Batley Bulldogs Head Coach Craig Lingard has announced he is joining Super League Castleford Tigers as Assistant Coach on a two and a half year deal.
Linners will remain in charge at The Bulldogs for the remainder of the 2023 Campaign as the Castleford club have agreed to allow the time to carry out his duties at Batley and that in any potential gameday clashes The Bulldogs will take priority.
In a thrilling 3 years in charge Lingard has managed the squad through the turmoil of 2020 before guiding them to a Play-Off Semi Final in 2021, and then to The Grand Final and within one game of Super League last year.
Chairman Kevin Nicholas said “Obviously we don’t want to lose Craig but at the same time we’re delighted to see him progress and move onto Super League. The work done by the current backroom staff over recent years has been fantastic, we believe continuity is crucial and that’s why we have had no hesitation in asking Mark Moxon, who has been outstanding as assistant here at The Fox’s Biscuits Stadium for over a decade and is fully committed to the ethos and spirit of the club, to take over as Head Coach next season”
The Board and coaching staff spoke to the players before training this evening and the news of Mokko’s appointment was very popular within the squad. Captain James Brown told the group “Nothing changes. Simple as that.” with Keegan Hirst agreeing “It’s the perfect solution”
So it’s business as usual for the remainder of 2023 and another exciting chapter ahead for all at the club.
Join us for another outstanding live music event on June 10 as the brilliant Meatloaf Tributes MEATLOUD visit The Fox’s Biscuits Stadium
Family Friendly event, everyone welcome!
Bars open 4pm. DJ and Entertainment from 5pm.
Advance Price Tickets £5 online at bulldogs.mysportstickets.co.uk