BBC Sport will break new ground when the 2023 Betfred Challenge Cup kicks off next month, after selecting the First Round tie between Edinburgh Eagles and Saddleworth Rangers for coverage on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online on Saturday February 11 (115pm kick-off).
It will be the first time the BBC have shown a tie from Scotland since the unique coverage of the early rounds of the Challenge Cup was launched seven seasons ago.
The Eagles have been the dominant club in Scottish Rugby League since they were founded in 1998, and play their home matches at Edinburgh’s Royal High School, one of the oldest schools in Europe dating back to at least the 12th century, and whose former pupils include Sir Walter Scott, Alexander Graham Bell and Ronnie Corbett.
Saddleworth Rangers are one of the strongest community clubs in Rugby League’s traditional heartlands, based just on the Red Rose side of the Lancashire-Yorkshire border in the hills and moors above Oldham.
The club has produced a host of professional players and amateur internationals with Jack Sinfield, the teenage son of Kevin, the latest to make his Super League debut, for Leeds Rhinos last season. They are preparing to play in Division Two of the Impact Performance National Conference League in 2023, and relishing the prospect of a pre-season trip to the Scottish capital.
BBC Sport will again be streaming one tie from each of the first five rounds of the Betfred Challenge Cup in 2023, before the Super League clubs join the competition at the Sixth Round stage in May, with the Final returning to Wembley on August 12 – and this year preceded for the first time by the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final.
All but two of the 19 First Round ties will be played on Saturday February 11, with kick-off times listed below. The two games on Sunday will see Heworth hosting Oulton Rangers at midday, and Myton Warriors travelling up the east coast from their Hull base to face Jarrow Vikings at 130pm.
TheSportsman.com will confirm details of their coverage of the Betfred Challenge Cup in 2023 in the coming days.
Betfred Challenge Cup First Round schedule here.