The NCL is back!

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2nd March 2017

By Lewis Scott

Premier Division: PILKINGTON RECS vs SIDDAL

The defending NCL Premier Division champions kick-off their campaign against the side they knocked out of the Challenge Cup just three weeks ago.

Halifax-based Siddal travel to St Helens on Saturday to face Pilkington Recs hoping for a repeat performance of their 34-10 win which saw them into the third Round to face the Toronto Wolfpack.

Siddal coach Gareth Greenwood, however, will be wary of his opposition, who finished in eighth in 2016, with the Recs coming out on top in the same fixture last season with a thrilling 33-28 win.

Pilks had a fine home record last year losing only three out of 11 games, and will be sniffing out revenge for their early cup exit and missing the opportunity to face Rugby League's first transatlantic club in their first-ever competitive match. 

Division 2: LEIGH EAST vs ASKAM

Last season's losing play-off finalists, Askam, travel to the side they knocked-out in the semi-finals, Leigh East, in their opening game.

The Cumbrian side won 30-12 back in October to set up a final against Blackbrook, which they ultimately lost 23-24 having being 20-8 up with less than 20 minutes left, missing out on promotion by the narrowest of margins. 

Askam will be looking to go one better in 2017 and will consider themselves one of the promotion favourites.

They will want to continue their great from against Leigh East having beaten them in four of their last five contests.

Easts will also be hoping for another play-off spot this season, however with the likes of Millom, Elland, Oulton and East Leeds dropping down into Division 2 for this season, (with the latter pair facing off in a Leeds derby this weekend), it will be a tough ask. 

Division 3: STANLEY RANGERS vs CLOCK FACE MINERS

It doesn't get much tougher for Clock Face Miners in their first-ever match in the NCL Division 3, as they take on Stanley Rangers who dropped down from Division 2 at the end of last season.

The Miners moved up from the North West Men's League during the off season and they travel to West Yorkshire to face a Stanley side who will want to put a forgetful 2016 behind them, having won just one game in the entire year.

Division 3 expands from nine teams to 14 teams this year, meaning a much wider promotion battle. Could the St Helens side pick up their first-ever win in Rugby League's seventh tier?

Find out more about the 19 fixtures taking place this weekend, HERE.

The NCL is back! ncl.rladmin.co.uk