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Challenge Cup

13 Jan 2022

Preview: Betfred Challenge Cup Round 1

Preview: Betfred Challenge Cup Round 1

Community clubs make their return to the Betfred Challenge Cup for the first time in two years as the 2022 edition of the world's most historic Rugby League competition gets underway.

A total of 14 fixtures will take place between Friday and Sunday, with three available live across the BBC, The Sportsman and Our League.

Kicking off the live action on Saturday at 12.30pm, Orrell St James host The Army in a clash where anything could happen.

North West Men's League big guns Orrell have impressed in recent years with their willingness to play expansive rugby. That style helped them average over 30 points a game in 2021 as they topped the NWML, losing just one league game all season.

In opposition, The Army's last Cup outing in 2020 saw them enjoy a remarkable run to the fourth round. They beat off stern opposition in the form of Oulton Raiders, Skirlaugh and Ince Rose Bridge before falling to League 1 outfit Rochdale Hornets.

Saturday's second broadcast game is between hosts Rochdale Mayfield and Wigan St Pats at 2.15pm - Pats are now led by five-time Challenge Cup winner Andy Gregory as Head Coach.

Mayfield are all set to tackle the NCL Premier Division following nine wins from 13 games in 2021's regional set-up which was put in place amidst the Pandemic.

And St Pats enjoyed a similar record, winning eight from 14, though they are all set for NCL Division 1 in 2022. But with Gregory at the helm they will be looking to get off to a strong start for the new season and join their opponents this weekend in the community game's top tier next season.

The weekend's third live offering sees a Sunday fixture taking place as Doncaster's Bentley host Stanningley from Leeds in a 2pm kick off, live on Our League.

Stanningley are long-standing members of the NCL and enjoyed eight wins last year. They will play in NCL Division 1 in 2022.

In opposition are a Bentley side who have enjoyed success at the top of the Yorkshire Men's League in recent years, finishing second in the top tier last season.

And they will take their place in the NCL Division 3 with a point to prove - a win on Sunday in front of the Our League cameras could well be the ideal start to the club's new chapter.

Elsewhere this weekend, Bridgend Blue Bulls vs The Royal Navy kicks off a packed weekend of action in a 7pm kick off on Friday night.

In Saturday's other fixtures, London Chargers are at home to Ellenborough Rangers, West Hull face Upton, York Acorn travel to face Edinbugh Eagles and Thronhill Trojans tackle the Royal Air Force.

There's a heavyweight clash between Featherstone Lions and Hunslet Club Parkside, London's Wests Warriors head North East to take on Jarrow Vikings and Lock Lane face a test from Thatto Heath.

Galway Tribesmen make their Challenge Cup bow on Saturday, travelling to face St Helens-based Pilkington Recs, Milford Marlins travel to Leigh Miners Rangers and Siddal host Great Britain Police.

Betfred Challenge Cup Round 1 Fixtures:

Friday

  • Bridgend Blue Bulls v Royal Navy - 7pm

Saturday

  • Orrell St James v British Army - 12.30pm [BBC Sport]
  • London Chargers v Ellenborough Rangers - 1pm
  • Edinburgh Eagles v York Acorn - 1.30pn
  • Thornhill Trojans v Royal Air Force - 1.30pm
  • West Hull v Upton ARLFC - 1.30pm
  • Featherstone Lions v Hunslet Club Parkside - 2pm
  • Jarrow Vikings v Wests Warriors - 2pm
  • Lock Lane v Thatto Heath Crusaders - 2pm
  • Siddal v Great Britain Police - 2pm
  • Rochdale Mayfield v Wigan St Pats - 2.15pm [The Sportsman]
  • Galway Tribesmen v Pilkington Recs 2.30pm [at Pilkington Recs]
  • Leigh Miners Rangers v Milford Marlins - 2.30pm

Sunday

  • Bentley v Stanningley - 2pm [Our League]