There is still a week to go before the new Super League season kicks off in 'Magical' Cardiff next weekend.
But for the Championship clubs the action got underway a week earlier, starting with the first two matches in the Northern Rail Cup on Friday night.
Last term's Championship table toppers Featherstone Rovers beat Championship One neighbours Doncaster 54-10, while Halifax won 28-22 at Swinton.
Holders Batley began badly on Sunday with a 24-4 home defeat by Leigh.
Batley were hoping to become the first team to retain the Northern Rail Cup, but they have three Championship clubs in their group.
And Leigh proved too strong for them, on-loan St Helens centre Tom Armstrong scoring two of their five tries.
Last year's beaten finalists Widnes ran in 11 tries as they romped to a 62-18 win over London Skolars, with a brace each for winger Paddy Flynn and stand-off Danny Craven, who kicked eight of the goals.
Jack Bradbury got two of the tries as Oldham won 28-22 at home to Hunslet.
NORTHERN RAIL CUP RESULTS
Fri: Featherstone 54 Doncaster 10, Swinton 22 Halifax 28
Sat: Toulouse 40 Dewsbury 38
Sunday: Barrow 24 York 20, Batley 4 Leigh 24), Gateshead 20 Sheffield 32, Keighley 24 Rochdale 6, London Skolars 18 Widnes 62, Oldham 28 Hunslet 22
Barrow winger James Nixon also bagged a double to mark Garry Schofield's first game in charge as his side held on to win 24-20 at home to York.
And Gavin Duffy got two of the Keighley tries in the 24-6 win at home to Rochdale.
Menzie Yere went one better for Sheffield Eagles, running in a hat-trick in his side's 32-20 win at Gateshead.
After their last-minute Grand Final heartbreak against Halifax in September, Featherstone got the ball rolling this time round in style.
Sam Smeaton grabbed a hat-trick as they ran in 11 tries on Friday night - seven of them after the break - against Doncaster.
Swinton led 16-14 at half-time, only for Lee Paterson to run in two second-half tries as Halifax came back to win.
In Saturday's game, winger Austin Buchanan and young full-back James Craven both ran in two tries for Dewsbury in the south of France.
But that did not stop the Rams falling to a 40-38 defeat by Toulouse Olympique, who were playing their first ever Northern Rail Cup fixture.
Sunday's Whitehaven-Workington derby at the Recreation Ground was called off because of a waterlogged pitch.
The match has been rescheduled for Tuesday at 1930 GMT.