Rovers Boost For Rugby League

Eye On Rugby League by Tony Williams

There is very little I can say about Sunday's game between Hull Kingston Rovers and Warrington Wolves that has not been said already. This was a classic cup upset and a fantastic advert for the game.

But the most important result of the game in my view was that it was a huge boost for two competitions that are ignored and down-classed on a continual basis – the Challenge Cup and the National Leagues.

Hull KR have shown uncontrovertibly that the National Leagues are strong, competitive and that the top teams are capable of raising their game to compete with Super League. If Hull KR do end the season as NL1 champions they will certainly be able to make their mark on the top flight and deservedly so.

This is one of a number of individual cases which show how foolish talk of the franchise system and an end to promotion is. Hull KR have shown that they are ready to make the step up yet from 2009 onwards any team that does the same will not be allowed into the top flight.

The game has also put the Challenge Cup on the map. This is a famous old competition that we should all cherish, yet we do not. Only today on Boots ‘N' All Eddie Hemmings brushed off the cup highlights by saying that this weekend sees the return of the race for the "biggest trophy in the game". 

Earlier this year Phil Clarke was suggesting that the cup is pointless as lower league sides cannot compete with those higher up the ladder. Well, this season alone we've seen Thornhill beat Workington, Widnes beat Castleford, Barrow beat Oldham and Hull KR beat Warrington.

This win for Hull RK has done a great deal of good, not only for that particular club, but also for two much devalued competitions.

Fixture Change Farce

Why is it that the upcoming engage Super League St Helens and Hull has moved to Thursday night? It seriously can't be because of the FIFA World Cup, can it?

It's bad enough to ask fans to travel from Hull to St Helens on a Friday night, but to ask them to do it on Thursday night is ridiculous. The attendance at Knowsley Road is bound to be adversely affected by this strange fixture scheduling.

I could understand if it was an England game, which some people might choose to stay in and watch, but the game in question is between Poland and Ecuador. Surely no-one would stay away from the game to see that.

But that's not the issue here. The issue for Sky Sports is that viewing figures will suffer through the games being played at the same time. Maybe that's true, but I feel that more consideration should have been made for those Hull fans who now won't be able to make the game.  

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