Betfred League 1 Round Eight Preview
May 12, 2023
It’s a top of the table clash in Betfred League One, as Dewsbury Rams face Doncaster with someone’s ‘0’ almost certain to go.
Both sides head into the meeting on Sunday with an unbeaten record, as Liam Finn’s Dewsbury have won seven and sit top of the table, meanwhile, Richard Horne’s Dons sit one place below having played six matches.
Dewsbury have impressed since their relegation to the third tier by sweeping all before them in the regular weekly rounds. And in the Betfred Challenge Cup, Dewsbury shocked Widnes Vikings before bravely bowing out at London Broncos.
Statistically, the Rams have the best defence and attack in the league. They have conceded just 70 points in seven matches, while at the other end of the field, have amassed 303 points.
Doncaster, who have lost the play-off final in each of the last two seasons, will be looking to go one better in 2023 and make it a case of third time lucky.
Doncaster have been led brilliantly by their captain Sam Smeaton who has bagged eight league tries to date. Four of those came in the Dons’ hard fought 48-16 win over Cornwall on Easter Saturday.
In previous meetings between the two sides, Doncaster have fallen short the last three occasions they have visited Dewsbury. In fact, you have to go back to 2007 for the last time Doncaster lowered Dewsbury’s colours on the road.
The prelude to what many will consider League 1’s main event in round eight begins 24-hours earlier at the Mem with Cornwall hosting Hunslet.
The hosts travelled to Oldham last weekend and despite losing 36-16, Cornwall showed further encouraging signs as they showed a late fightback.
Hunslet, meanwhile, will be looking to keep their 100 per cent record against Cornwall intact when the sides meet for a third time. The Parksiders prevailed 52-16 in their first meeting last May but the Memorial Ground return was closer with Hunslet heading back to West Yorkshire with a 36-24 success.
In five league matches this season, the visitors have won three of these. Their two defeats came in closely fought contests with the top two in the table.
The other fixture on Saturday sees London Skolars welcome Rochdale Hornets to the capital.
Skolars currently are rooted to the foot of the table with no victory yet in any of their opening six matches.
It has been a decade since Skolars last beat Rochdale. The capital side beat the Hornets 32-16 in June 2013.
Rochdale are seventh in the table, with two wins from six matches. The Hornets gained a morale boosting success against North Wales Crusaders last time out as on-loan star Umyla Hanley scored a hat-trick during the hard fought win.
The Hornets have won their last nine meetings with London Skolars including a Challenge Cup tie earlier this season.
The final match of the weekend sees Workington Town take on Oldham.
Workington are fourth in the table after four wins and two defeats from their six matches. Their two defeats, like Hunslet’s, came against Doncaster and Dewsbury.
Workington are seeking their first home victory over Oldham since 2016.
Oldham currently sit one place above Workington, due to superior points difference. However, the Roughyeds have played one game less than their opponents.
The 26-22 defeat to Doncaster in round six has been the only blemish for Stuart Littler’s side.
Oldham have impressed in attack during the 2023 season. The Roughyeds have scored 194 points in just five matches, an average of 38.8 points per match.
Betfred League 1 Round Eight Fixtures
Sunday 3.00pm unless stated
Cornwall vs Hunslet – 1.00pm Saturday
Dewsbury Rams vs Doncaster
London Skolars vs Rochdale Hornets – 3.00pm Saturday
Workington Town vs Oldham