Rugby League ESL Challenge Cup - News and Views

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Full draw - 3

Workington Town v West Bowling
British Army v Ince Rose Bridge
Leigh Miners Rangers v Bentley
Rochdale Mayfield v North Wales Crusaders
Thornhill Trojans v Doncaster
Siddal v West Hull
Barrow Raiders v London Skolars
Hunslet v Coventry Bears
Keighley Cougars v Newcastle Thunder
Rochdale Hornets v York Acorn
West Wales Raiders v Underbank Rangers

Round dates

11-12 January: First round
25-26 January: Second round (22 first-round winners)
8-9 February: Third round (11 second-round winners, plus 11 League 1 clubs)
22-23 February: Fourth round (11 third-round winners, plus 13 English Championship clubs)
14-15 March: Fifth round (12 fourth-round winners, plus four Super League clubs - Huddersfield Giants, Hull KR, Toronto Wolfpack, Wakefield Trinity)
4-5 April: Sixth round (Eight fifth-round winners, plus the remaining eight Super League clubs)
9-10 May: Quarter-finals
6-7 June: Semi-finals

18 July: Final
 

S J

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North Wales Crusaders will feature on the BBC's Coral Challenge Cup coverage for the second consecutive year on Saturday week - determined to avoid a repeat of the shock defeat they suffered in front of the cameras at Thatto Heath last season.

The BBC have selected the Crusaders' tricky trip to Rochdale Mayfield, renowned cup battlers from the National Conference League, as the Third Round tie to be streamed on Saturday February 8, with a lunchtime kick-off.

And that will be the first of a double-header of televised matches, as it will be immediately followed by the British Army's attempt to reach the Fourth Round for the first time in their history, with their home tie against the Wigan community club Ince Rose Bridge in Aldershot to be covered by the Our League cameras.

The Mayfield-North Wales game will kick off at 12.30pm, with the Army-Ince tie following at 2.15pm.

The other nine ties will be split between Saturday and Sunday, with the Fourth Round draw, when 13 Betfred Championship clubs join the Road to Wembley, being hosted by the surprise 2019 semi finalists Halifax at the Shay on Monday February 10 - and also shown live by BBC Sport.
 

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The British Army made history on Saturday as they reached the fourth round of the Coral Challenge Cup for the first time ever. They recovered from a 12-4 half-time deficit to record a 34-22 win at home to Wigan outfit Ince Rose Bridge in Aldershot. The Army did score first, but back-to-back scores from the visitors saw them lead by eight at the break. But, with wingers Jefeti Vakalalabure and Uraia Naulusala leading the resurgence with tries, they turned the tide. A quickfire double just before the hour proved to be crucial as two late tries from the Ince proved to be in vein.

Elsewhere, Watson Boas scored the winner with 78 minutes on the clock as League 1 Doncaster avoided an upset at the hands of NCL outfit Thornhill Trojans, winning 24-20 at The Tetley's Stadium in Dewsbury. The Dons trailed 14-6 at half time but quickly led 18-14 within 15 minutes of the restart. However, Nick Mitchell's converted try turned the game on its head as Thornhill led 20-18. That was an advantage they held until the dying embers as Boas' heroics sent Doncaster into round four.

Also in West Yorkshire, Siddal recorded a 10-4 win over West Hull on home turf. And in the north west, NCL big guns Leigh Miners Rangers ground out a 20-4 win over Yorkshire Men's League champions, Bentley. Six more teams will secure their place in the next round in tomorrow's fixtures, including Barrow Raiders against London Skolars live on Our League.
 

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Coral Challenge Cup, Fourth Round (ties to be played on weekend of February 22-23): Rochdale Hornets or York Acorn v British Army; Whitehaven v Dewsbury Rams; North Wales Crusaders v Hunslet; Sheffield Eagles v Halifax; Workington Town or West Bowling v Doncaster; Bradford Bulls v Underbank Rangers; Featherstone Rovers v Barrow Raiders or London Skolars; London Broncos v York City Knights; Swinton Lions v Leigh Miners Rangers; Leigh Centurions v Batley Bulldogs; Siddal v Keighley Cougars or Newcastle Thunder; Widnes Vikings v Oldham.

Coral Women’s Challenge Cup, First Round (ties to be played on Sunday March 1): Durham v British Army; Wigan St Patricks v Whitley Bay Barbarians; RAF v Keighley Cougars; Nottingham v Halifax.

Byes to Second Round: Hull KR, Rochdale Hornets, Cutsyke, East Leeds.
 

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Revised dates for the four outstanding Coral Challenge Cup round three ties can now be confirmed, following their postponement last Sunday due to Storm Ciara.

Keighley Cougars will entertain League 1 counterparts Newcastle Thunder on Saturday 15 February – a tie that will be streamed live on Our League from 3pm. The winners will play National Conference side Siddal in round four.

The other three fixtures will take place on Sunday 16 February, including Rochdale Hornets home game with York Acorn which has been switched to Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium as the Crown Oil Arena pitch remains unplayable. The game will kick off at 3pm and the winners will entertain the British Army. Kick off at Derwent Park, where League 1 Workington Town entertain Bradford’s West Bowling, is 2pm, while Barrow Raiders take on London Skolars in another all-League 1 clash at 3pm. The winners of these ties will play Doncaster and Featherstone respectively in round four.
 

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Rochdale Hornets enjoyed a comfortable route to round four of the Coral Challenge Cup, thrashing York Acorn 54-10 thanks in no small part to a 26-point haul from Sam Freeman.

They led 30-0 at the break, courtesy of two tries - and five goals from five attempts - from Freeman, and further scores from Jamie Tracey, Lewis Sheridan and Dale Bloomfield.

Ben Calland (two), Luke Fowden and Jack Higginson touched down in the second half, with Freeman adding the extras on all four occasions as the Hornets ran riot at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Also on Sunday, Workington Town advanced with a 28-22 victory over West Bowling.

Converted first-half tries from Alex Young and Caine Barnes helped the hosts establish a 12-4 half-time advantage, Danny Halmshaw also crossing for the visitors at Derwent Park.

Second-half scores from Elliott Hall and Gabriel Fell - also both converted by Carl Forber - saw Town stretch their lead to 24-4.

Richard Lumb and Oliver Bartle reduced the arrears but Russ Bolton's 65th-minute try put the home team out of sight, with Daniel Gregory's late score - and Ben Heald's third conversion - merely consolation.

Barrow Raiders were made to work hard for a 38-18 win over London Skolars, meanwhile.

The visitors were very much in contention, trailing 14-12 at the interval and 20-18 on 62 minutes, but the Raiders surged clear in the remainder of the final quarter.

Jamie Dallimore, Danny Morrow (two), Perry Singleton, Tee Ritson, Watts Puara, Ryan Duffy all registered tries, with Dallimore adding five conversions. Charles Hammond, Jacob Thomas and Neil Thorman crossed for the Skolars, with Thorman adding three lots of extras.
 

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2020 Coral Challenge Cup schedule:

14/15 March: Fifth Round (12 Fourth Round winners, plus four Betfred Super League clubs – Huddersfield Giants, Hull KR, Toronto Wolfpack, Wakefield Trinity)

4/5 April: Sixth Round (8 Fifth Round winners, plus the remaining 8 Betfred Super League clubs)

9/10 May: Quarter Finals

6 June: Semi Finals

Saturday July 18: Final – Wembley Stadium
 

S J

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Leigh Centurions booked their place in the Coral Challenge Cup Fifth Round with a convincing 36-10 win over Batley Bulldogs at the Leigh Sports Village on Friday night.

Halifax fell at the first hurdle in 2020 as they were narrowly beaten thanks to a late Oliver Davies try by current AB Sundecks 1895 Cup holders Sheffield Eagles.

Newcastle Thunder avoided a repeat of their 2016 meeting with Siddal after surviving an early scare with a 10-30 victory.

Featherstone beat Barrow. Swinton Lions booked their place in Round Five in comfortable fashion with a 56-0 victory over NCL Premier Division outfit Leigh Miners Rangers.

Sheffield Eagles, Featherstone Rovers, Newcastle Thunder and Swinton Lions join Leigh Centurions in Round Five of the Coral Challenge Cup with seven fixtures to be played Sunday 23 February.
 

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Underbank Rangers’ historic trip to Bradford Bulls is set to be broadcast on the BBC Sport website from 1pm tomorrow before London Broncos face York City Knights at 3pm.