Aggregate attendances have reached an all-time high in the
Greene King IPA Championship after the 300,000 mark was passed for
the first time in the competition's history in round 21.
A total of 315,731 spectators, at an average of 2,506 per game,
have watched Championship rugby at grounds up and down the country
this season, and that figure is set for a further boost with
another bumper gate expected for the top-two clash between the
division's best-supported clubs, Worcester Warriors and Bristol
Rugby, at Sixways on Saturday.
A quirk of the fixture list sees the two other likely play-off
contenders come face-to-face at Clifton Lane, with Rotherham Titans
up against third-placed London Scottish. The Titans still need a
point to be absolutely certain of their place in the top four
although it would take a huge set of results to deny them.
Nottingham need a bonus-point win at Bedford and for Rotherham to
take nothing from their final fixture, in addition to a 127-point
turnaround, to leapfrog them in the table.
Bedford Blues v Nottingham, Saturday April 25, kick-off
Tenth-placed Bedford are set for their lowest finish in 14 seasons
at this level unless they can overhaul the one-point gap between
themselves and Doncaster on the final weekend. Not since the
2000/01 season, when they finished 11th, have the Blues failed to
finish 9th or higher in the second tier of English rugby. Fourteen
points from the boot of debutant Will Maisey and Brent Wilson's try
helped the Green & Whites win 19-10 at Meadow Lane. Bedford
have proved to be a potent force in the second half of matches at
Goldington Road this season, scoring 21 of their 32 tries at home
after the break.
Jersey v Moseley, Saturday April 25, kick-off
Jersey were denied a first-ever Championship win against Moseley
at Billesley Common back in September when home winger Drew
Cheshire scored his second try late on and Ollie Thomas held his
nerve to land the conversion and level the scores at 22-22. All
four previous Championship clashes ended in wins for Moseley.
Plymouth Albion v Doncaster Knights, Saturday April 25,
Plymouth have nothing but pride left to play for after Saturday's
29-0 defeat at Moseley confirmed their relegation to National
League One. No team coached by Graham Dawe will go down without a
fight though, and Albion have won their last two at home to
Doncaster in the league. The Knights' last victory at Brickfields
was in October 2011. The newly-promoted Knights announced their
return to the Championship with a 27-6 win over Albion in round 1.
Dougie Flockhart looks certain to finish the season as the
Championship's top points-scorer after taking his overall tally to
223 in Doncaster's 25-19 win against Bedford.
Rotherham Titans v London Scottish, Saturday April 25,
Mark Bright got his record-breaking season off to a flying start
when he scored a hat-trick against Rotherham in this season's first
encounter. The No.8 now holds the individual record for tries in a
season in the Championship with 24. London Scottish have won four
and lost three of their previous clashes with Rotherham, who go
into the match on the back of a run of five wins from six
Worcester Warriors v Bristol Rugby, Saturday April 25,
Bristol only need a losing bonus point to bring up a century of
competition points for the season, a feat only previously achieved
by Worcester who finished their 2010/11 title-winning campaign on
101 points. A new record is within Bristol's grasp if they complete
a league double over the Warriors. Bristol's last visit to Sixways
ended in a 38-20 defeat, on 8 October, 2010. Worcester have set new
Championship records this season for tries scored (120) and 'points
Yorkshire Carnegie v Cornish Pirates, Saturday April 25,
Carnegie kicked off the new season with a win for the first time
in six seasons when they prevailed by 29-18 at the Mennaye Field
back in September. All of Carnegie's tries that day came from
forwards with Ben Harris (2), Chris Jones and Ryan Burrows all
scoring. Carnegie and Pirates meet at Headingley exactly one year
to the day since Carnegie won 36-3 in last season's corresponding
fixture. All six of the Pirates' previous trips north to play
Carnegie have ended in defeat.
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