Sheffield to begin title defence with historic repeat

Sheffield Eagles will begin their defence of the Kingstone Press Championship title with a historic fixture against newly-promoted Rochdale Hornets at their new home, Owlerton Stadium.

The 2013 grand final winners host Rochdale on Sunday February 16 in a repeat of their first ever game as a professional club, which was also played at Owlerton back in September 1984 when the Eagles won 29-10.

2013 runners-up Batley Bulldogs travel to Leigh Centurions in the opening weekend of the season, when Kingstone Press Championship One champions North Wales Crusaders have a home match against Barrow.

Other notable fixtures from week one include Dewsbury Rams v Featherstone Rovers, Halifax v Swinton, Keighley Cougars v Whitehaven and Workington Town v Doncaster.

The Championship clubs enter the Tetley’s Challenge Cup over the weekend of March 15-16, a competition that concludes with the final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 23.

The 2014 season comprises 26 rounds and concludes with the title-deciding Grand Final over the weekend of October 4-5 at a venue still to be confirmed. As announced last month, the Northern Rail Cup will not be contested next season.

Details of televised fixtures will be confirmed before the start of the season.

Key dates for 2014

Kingstone Press Championship Round 1: Sunday February 16

Championship play-offs start: weekend of September 13-14

Grand Final: weekend of October 4-5

Tetley’s Challenge Cup

Round 3 – weekend of March 15-16

Round 4 – weekend of April 6

Round 5 – Weekend of April 27

Quarter-finals – Weekend of June 8

Semi-finals – Weekend of August 10

Final – Saturday August 23

All 2014 fixtures will be added to the website shortly.

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