Heavy Woollen pair set for Cup kickoff

Batley and Dewsbury kick off their respective Northern Rail Cup campaigns this weekend but the two sides’ head coaches hold very different views on the competition.
Rams boss Warren Jowitt insists his side will use the initial group stage matches as preparation for the Championship’s big kickoff in March.
However, counterpart John Kear only has eyes for the tournament’s closing stages, claiming the Northern Rail Cup is one of the Bulldogs’ top priorities.
The competition was officially launched by the Rugby Football League and Northern Rail Directors last Thursday in Leeds with representatives from all 20 participating clubs present.
The final will once again be staged at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road on July 29 and Kear says the Bulldogs will be going allout to repeat their “remarkable” 2010 triumph.
“The Northern Rail Cup is up there as one of the club’s top priorities and we’ll be going allout to do well in it,” said Kear.
“Everyone wants to get off to a winning start but the good thing about the Northern Rail Cup is that you have the bonus point.
“That is a way back into the competition, if you slip up, but it’s simply not an option for us.
“Last season, Batley made it to the quarterfinals so I want to ensure we at least make it one stage further this time around.
“What the players achieved under Karl Harrison in 2010 was remarkable and I want to experience a day like that as coach of Batley Bulldogs.”
Meanwhile, Jowitt saw his men produce a surprise 3822 victory over Batley last season to make it into the semifinals, but a repeat for him is only a bonus.
The injuryhit Rams are just four weeks from the start of the Championship season and Jowitt wants to witness progression from his men on Sunday afternoon.
He said: “The Northern Rail Cup gives us a perfect opportunity to ensure that we are ready for the start of the Championship.
“Our sights are firmly set on achieving in the league but if we do well in the Northern Rail, it’ll be a bonus.
“The four group matches are very important.
“It’s all about getting our performance to the level it needs to be at for the start of the season.
“I want to see us putting into practice the things we have spoken about and tried on the training paddock.”
Both the Rams and Bulldogs have been grouped together in Pool A but another Heavy Woollen derby will only occur if both again make it through to the knockout stages.
On Sunday, Dewsbury host last year’s runnersup Halifax (3pm) whilst the Bulldogs travel across West Yorkshire to face newlypromoted Championship club Keighley Cougars (2pm).

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