With the threat of funding cuts hanging over League One clubs next season, the pressure is building on Workington Town to make sure they are promoted.
Town, who actually led the table for a short while in the closing stages of the regular season, eventually finished second at the week-end to champions Barrow.
That means both Whitehaven, who have firmly established themselves this year, and Barrow will play in the Championship next season. Despite fierce county rivalry – particularly between Town and Haven – both clubs want Workington to join them in the second tier.
Not only will it generate more interest in the sport and the clubs, it will also guarantee bumper crowds when they meet.
The alternative for Town looks bleak – another year in League One with reduced central funding and no county derby to boost the coffers.
League One will be hit hardest by the reduction in central funding next year because of a lower TV deal and the perceived selfishness of the Super League elite who will not be concerned about how clubs can survive lower down the pecking order.
The RFL hierarchy continue to consult, seemingly with all and sundry, yet without any sort of indication how they are going to inject new life into a sport which should be vibrant and flourishing, but instead is withering at the roots.
Ahead of the final confirmation from the RFL some clubs are already working on a projected 78% funding cut. Coventry Bears owner Alan Robinson has already said that could mean the end of his club as a professional operation.
Andy Mazey, the Rochdale Hornets chairman, has long flown the flag for those below Super League and is understandably annoyed at how the RFL is going about the task of reviving the sport midst falling revenue.
“A lot of people at this level of the game are very frustrated about it.
“If it was an equitable cut -say 30 per cent across the board – it would be more understandable. Instead the top are losing about 28% and we are looking at 78%,” he said.
Town are waiting for the result of the qualifying play-off game on Sunday between North Wales Crusaders and Keighley Cougars with the winners visiting Derwent Park. Whoever wins that game goes straight through and if Town win they will host the final.
Meanwhile the winners of the elimination play-off between Doncaster and Hunslet will play the losers of the Town game and whoever wins that will be through to the final.