ESL ESL Challenge Cup - News and Views

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Full third round draw [ties to be played 12-13 February]

Hunslet v Siddal

Lock Lane v Rochdale Hornets

Royal Navy v York Acorn

London Skolars v Hunslet Club Parkside

Swinton Lions v North Wales Crusaders

Rochdale Mayfield v Doncaster

Fourth Round [ties to be played 26-28 February]

York City Knights v Newcastle Thunder

Halifax Panthers v Featherstone Rovers

Leigh Centurions v Widnes Vikings

Lock Lane or Rochdale Hornets v Barrow Raiders

Batley Bulldogs v Royal Navy or York Acorn

London Broncos v Bradford Bulls

London Skolars or Hunslet Club Parkside v Sheffield Eagles

Swinton Lions or North Wales Crusaders v Hunslet or Siddal

Workington Town v Dewsbury Rams

Rochdale Mayfield or Doncaster v Whitehaven
 

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The Betfred Challenge Cup, the world's oldest Rugby League competition kicked off this weekend, with each of the Celtic nations represented in the first round. Bridgend Blue Bulls (Wales), Edinburgh Eagles (Scotland) and Galway Tribesmen (Ireland), as winners of their respective national championship, joined leading community clubs from England, the three British Armed Services police and Great Britain Police Rugby League.

Bridgend were the first of the Celtic sides in action on Friday night, suffering at the hands of the Royal Navy who led 0-38 and went on to whitewash the home side 0-60.

Edinburgh Eagles, also at home, pushed National Conference League side York Acorn all the way in their encounter, trailing 6-16 at the break. But a spirited second half time saw them take the lead with the score 18-16 on 53 minutes, but Acorn stepped up a gear to take the spoils with the final score 24-38.

Galway Tribesmen impressed at Pilkington Recs. Having left Galway at 4pm on Friday, the Tribesmen arrived at their hotel at 3am on the morning of the game, but looked in good form as they soaked up first half pressure from Pilkington Recs with Seosamh McDonagh and Ryan Guilfoyle scoring impressive tries, aided by Barry Walsh's conversion which saw them lead the National Conference side 8-10 at half time. The Tribesmen fought valiantly in the second half but were unable to match Pilkington's experience who eventually ran out 36-10 winners.
 

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Challenge Cup sixth-round draw
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds Date: Monday, 14 March Time: 18:45 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC Sport and iPlayer from BBC Look North

Barrow and Whitehaven made it a Cumbrian double in the Challenge Cup fifth round, after wins over Workington Town and York respectively on Sunday.

In front of the BBC cameras, unbeaten Barrow kept up their 100% start to the 2022 season with a dominant second-half display over a winless Town side.

Haven beat York 38-12, with the bulk of their work done in a 28-0 first-half demolition of James Ford's Knights.

Championship leaders Featherstone were too good for Batley, winning 54-20.
 

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St Helens will begin their Challenge Cup defence with a trip to Cumbria to face Championship side Whitehaven.

Hull and Huddersfield also face trips to Championship opposition in Sheffield Eagles and Barrow respectively.

Catalans will welcome Championship leaders Featherstone while Hull KR will host the winners of Monday's fifth round tie between Bradford and Leigh.

In the three all Super League ties, Leeds host Castleford, Wigan play Salford and Warrington face Wakefield.

Whitehaven, the lowest-ranked team left in the competition lying 10th in the second tier, will welcome the holders and Super League champions to the LEL Arena for their last-16 tie.

All Super League sides, with the exception of Toulouse, have joined the competition at this stage, with matches set for the weekend of 25-27 March.

Two matches will be broadcast live on the BBC, while the Challenge Cup final will be held for the first time this year at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday, 28 May.
 

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Sixth round draw​

Catalans Dragons v Featherstone Rovers

Whitehaven v St Helens

Warrington Wolves v Wakefield Trinity

Hull KR v Bradford Bulls or Leigh Centurions

Wigan Warriors v Salford Red Devils

Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers

Sheffield Eagles v Hull FC

Barrow Raiders v Huddersfield Giants
 

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North Wales Crusaders bowed out of the Challenge Cup after losing at home to Championship side Sheffield Eagles.

Tom Johnson scored twice but Liam Johnson, Anthony Thackeray and Matty Chrimes' hat-trick put Sheffield in control.

Chrimes' fourth and Kris Welham, Blake Broadbent and Joel Farrell's tries saw Eagles secure a last 16 spot.

Crusaders finished with tries from Jack Holmes, Patrick Ah Van, Callum Hazzard and Gavin Rodden.
 

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Leeds' home game against Castleford and Huddersfield's trip to Barrow in the sixth round of the Challenge Cup have been chosen for broadcast by the BBC.

The Rhinos will host the Tigers on Saturday, 26 March at 16:30 GMT, with the Giants travelling to Cumbria the following day with a 16:30 BST start.

Last season's finalists Cas go to a Leeds side who won the cup in 2020, beating Salford at an empty Wembley.

Barrow are unbeaten in the Championship and beat Workington in round five.

Huddersfield's impressive start to the Super League campaign has seen them win four of their opening five games. They are second in the table behind champions St Helens on points difference and boast the second best attack.

They have won the competition six times to Barrow's one, but both clubs' last triumphs in the competition came in the 1950s.
 

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Holders St Helens will face Catalans Dragons - who they beat in last season's Super League Grand Final - in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

Saints beat second-tier Whitehaven in round six while Dragons overcame Featherstone Rovers.

Barrow Raiders - the last non-Super League side left in the draw - could host Hull FC if they beat Huddersfield.

Warrington or Wakefield will host Wigan while Hull Kingston Rovers will face Castleford after the Tigers beat Leeds.


Ties will be played on the weekend of April 8-10.
 

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Betfred Challenge Cup
Hull KR (18) 24
Tries: Halton, Lewis, Parcell, Storton Goals: Abdull, Dagger 3
Leigh (2) 18
Tries: Brand, Jones, Mellor Goals: Reynolds, Inu

Hull KR survived a late scare against Leigh Centurions to reach the last eight of the Challenge Cup.

The Championship side led through Ben Reynolds' penalty, but tries by Frankie Halton, Mikey Lewis and Matt Parcell seemed to put the Robins in control.

Matty Storton then added a fourth try to make it 24-2 in the second half.

Keanan Brand, Jacob Jones and Joe Mellor all went over for Leigh to threaten a comeback but Hull KR hung on for victory.

Leigh started strongly, edging in front when Reynolds kicked a 13th-minute penalty and that lead stood until Lewis offloaded for second-rower Halton to break the tackle and cross the line.

Rovers quickly increased their advantage as Lewis began and finished the move that led to their second try and Parcell forced his way over from dummy half to make it 18-2 at the interval.

Parcell set up Storton to crash over before Brand gave the Centurions a glimmer of hope, pouncing on a grubber-kick to score.
 

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Betfred Challenge Cup
Barrow (6) 16
Tries: Ritson 2, Stack Goals: Sammut 2
Huddersfield (18) 30
Tries: Yates, Leutele, Ikahihifo, Ashworth, I Senior Goals: Russell 5

Huddersfield Giants survived a real sixth-round battle with Championship side Barrow Raiders to book their place in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

First-half tries for Luke Yates, Ricky Leutele and Sebastine Ikahihifo earned the Giants an 18-6 interval lead.

Barrow got to within a converted score three times thanks to two tries from Tee Ritson and one for Jarrad Stack.

But Jack Ashworth got the Giants' fourth try before Oliver Russell's penalty and a late Innes Senior try.
 

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Betfred Challenge Cup
Warrington (12) 12
Tries: Wrench, Thewlis Goals: Widdop 2
Wakefield (6) 16
Tries: Murphy, Lyne, Hall Goals: Lino 2

Wakefield reached the Challenge Cup quarter-finals by coming from behind to edge out Warrington in a tense clash.

Trinity trailed after early tries by Connor Wrench and Josh Thewlis put Warrington 12-0 up.

But Lewis Murphy replied and Reece Lyne and Corey Hall went over in the second half to seal Trinity's first Challenge Cup win at Warrington since 1963.

Wakefield's victory sets up a home tie against Wigan in the quarter-finals in a fortnight's time.


Warrington controlled the opening stages and gained their reward with back-to-back tries from distance as Wrench dived over in the corner before Danny Walker set up Thewlis for the second.

But the visitors responded and, although a push for the line foundered through Lyne's knock-on, Max Jowitt and Hall combined to send Murphy over and make it 12-6 at half-time.

Wakefield continued to look dangerous in attack and levelled the tie as Liam Kay found Lyne, who sped in from 25 yards out.
 

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Betfred Challenge Cup
Hull KR (12) 34
Tries: Minchella 2, Hall, Milnes, Wood, Abdull Goals: Coote 5
Castleford (10) 10
Tries: Eden 2 Goals: O'Brien

Elliot Minchella scored two early tries to help send Hull KR to their first Challenge Cup semi-final in seven years with victory against Castleford Tigers.

Lachlan Coote converted both of Minchella's efforts before Greg Eden responded with a brace of tries of his own to make it 12-10 at the break.

Ryan Hall added Rovers' third try early in a physically demanding second half.

Rowan Milnes, Sam Wood and Jordan Abdull tries then completed the win against last season's beaten finalists.


The Robins are the first side into the semi-final draw, having last reached the final four of the competition in 2015 when they went on to lose the Wembley decider 50-0 to Leeds Rhinos.
 

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Betfred Challenge Cup
Catalans (10) 20
Tries: Yaha 2, Dudson, Davies Goals: Mourgue 2
St Helens (20) 36
Tries: Welsby, Dodd, Percival, Knowles, Norman, Batchelor Goals: Makinson 6

Challenge Cup holders St Helens coasted to victory against Catalans Dragons to seal their place in the semi-finals.

Fouad Yaha got the hosts going but tries from Jack Welsby, Lewis Dodd and Mark Percival within six minutes tipped the game in St Helens' favour.

Gil Dudson gave the Dragons hope after Curtis Sironen's yellow card but Morgan Knowles re-established Saints' control.

Yaha kept the tie open with his second try but Dan Norman and Joe Batchelor crossed to send Saints through.
 

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Betfred Challenge Cup
Huddersfield (16) 24
Tries: Leutele, McQueen, Lolohea Goals: Lolohea 6
Hull FC (6) 16
Tries: Ma'u, Savelio, McIntosh Goals: Gale 2

Huddersfield Giants reached the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup for the first time in 10 years as they defeated Hull FC.

Ricky Leutele and Chris McQueen went over for the hosts either side of Manu Ma'u's initial response for Hull.

Andre Savelio pulled the visitors back after the break but Tui Lolohea converted his own try soon after.

Darnell McIntosh scored a late try for Hull but it was too little too late as the hosts went through.


Huddersfield last reached the last four of the Challenge Cup in 2012 when they were defeated by eventual winners Warrington.
 

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Betfred Challenge Cup men's semis and women's final
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds Date: Saturday, 7 May
Coverage: Live on BBC One and BBC Two, iPlayer and app, commentary on BBC local radio and on BBC Sport

Holders St Helens will play Wigan Warriors in the men's Challenge Cup semi-finals on Saturday, 7 May, live on BBC One with kick-off at 14:30 BST.

The second men's semi, involving Huddersfield Giants and Hull KR, will be at 17:00 on BBC Two, as part of a triple-header of games at Elland Road.

Kicking the day off is the final of the Women's Challenge Cup, with build-up under way from 11:30 on BBC Two.

Both women's semi-finals will be shown on the BBC red button on 24 April.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the home of Premier League football giants Spurs, is the venue for the final on Saturday, 28 May.

The triple-header format is now in its third year, having started at the University of Bolton Stadium in 2019, and continued with last year's event at Leigh in front of a limited-size crowd.
 

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Betfred Challenge Cup men's semi-finals
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds Date: Saturday, 7 May Kick-off: Wigan v St Helens: 14:30 BST, Huddersfield v Hull KR 17:00 BST Coverage: Live on BBC One and BBC Two, 5 live sports extra and BBC local radio; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

St Helens back-rower James Bell and Huddersfield half-back Jack Cogger will miss their Challenge Cup semi-finals, against Wigan and Hull KR respectively, through suspension.

Bell, 27, was banned for two games for a late hit on Gareth O'Brien in Friday's defeat by Castleford Tigers.

Cogger, 24, received a two-game penalty notice for other contrary behaviour in Saturday's loss to Warrington.

He was handed the ban for sliding in with the knees as Josh Thewlis scored.

Fellow Giants team-mates Tui Lolohea and Chris Hill have received one-game suspensions from the match review panel, for tripping and dangerous contact respectively.

Hull FC half-back Josh Reynolds has received a one-game penalty notice for intentionally standing on an opponent in Sunday's win over Catalans, whose captain Ben Garcia has escaped a ban despite a Grade A high tackle charge.