Rugby League

21 Feb 2024

Betfred Challenge Cup Round 4 Preview

Betfred Challenge Cup Round 4 Preview

Round 4 of the Betfred Challenge Cup is taking place this weekend, which includes four all-Championship clashes and one all-community club tie.

On Sunday, Bradford Bulls versus Widnes will be shown live on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport from 12:20pm, followed later in the day by Swinton versus Oldham on The Sportsman at 6pm.

Bradford and Widnes boast a strong cup pedigree, having won one of sport’s most prestigious knock-out competitions a dozen times between them. The two Betfred Championship sides enjoyed comfortable third round victories over North Wales Crusaders (48-2) and Doncaster (50-16) respectively, but the hotly-anticipated Odsal tie is almost certain to be much closer than either of those games. 

It is also set to be a competitive encounter when Swinton host Oldham in a battle of Greater Manchester, as the Lions remain unbeaten in 2024. Likewise, Oldham have enjoyed a strong start in their respective cup competitions, having finished top of their group in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup, as well as beating Barrow 22-10 in Round 3 of the Challenge Cup.

Two attractive-looking Yorkshire derbies are also taking place, when York Knights host Sheffield Eagles. Both sides will have momentum heading into this Challenge Cup clash, having both booked themselves a quarter-final spot in the 1895 Cup last week. And in Round 3 of the Challenge Cup just a fortnight ago, the Eagles enjoyed an 88-12 victory over Newcastle Thunder, whereas the Knights were put to the test against Dewsbury in adverse weather conditions over at the FLAIR Stadium. Andrew Henderson’s men came from behind as both York and Dewsbury looked to clinch a result in the last eight minutes. It would be York who triumphed however, with just a couple of minutes remaining through Nikau Williams - who went flying under the sticks to confirm their place in Round 4.

The second Yorkshire derby comes when Keighley Cougars host Featherstone Rovers at Cougar Park. The Rovers have won their last eight away meetings with Keighley to date, and will be hoping to progress further in the Challenge Cup having suffered 1895 Cup heartbreak – the Rovers’ most recent bit of Challenge Cup success being in 2017 when they featured in a quarter-final against Super League’s Leeds Rhinos.

Batley Bulldogs will also entertain Rochdale Hornets in their Round 4 clash, the Bulldogs having won their last ten meetings with Rochdale. Batley come into this game on the back of a convincing win over Workington in Round 3 and full of confidence, whilst Rochdale secured a tight win over Midlands Hurricanes to set up this Round 4 encounter nicely.

Four community clubs remain in contention for a place in Round 5, and, with York Acorn taking on National Conference League (NCL) rivals Wath Brow Hornets on Saturday, at least one of them will earn a place in the hat for Round 5. The Hornets will look to make history having never made the Fifth Round before and haven’t appeared in a Round 4 tie since 2009, when they lost out to Featherstone. Their opposition, Acorn, will be raring to go after their convincing win over League One’s Cornwall in the last round – and they too will look to break records on Saturday. These two sides have previously met in Round 2 of the 2019 Challenge Cup in what unfolded as a dramatic low-scoring affair, Acorn clinching the match 8-9.

Elsewhere, Halifax Panthers host Hammersmith on Saturday, after the Hoists' Southern Conference League (SCL) rival win over Wests Warriors. Then, on Sunday, NCL Champions Hunslet ARLFC travel to Wakefield to test themselves against top Championship opposition. Wakefield were put to the test in Round 3 by a spirited Siddal in a gruelling first forty, before going on to make a comeback with 58 unanswered points in the second half. A head to head in the halves between cousins Luke Gale [Wakefield] and Jordan Gale [Hunslet ARLFC] is also on the cards, so expect this to be a thrilling spectacle. There are no previous meetings between the sides in these two fixtures.


Betfred Challenge Cup Round 4 fixtures (Sunday 25 February unless stated):

  • Batley Bulldogs v Rochdale Hornets (KO 2pm) 
  • Bradford Bulls v Widnes Vikings (KO 12.30pm) live on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport Online
  • Halifax Panthers v Hammersmith Hills Hoists (Saturday 24, KO 5pm)
  • Keighley Cougars v Featherstone Rovers (KO 3pm)
  • Swinton Lions v Oldham (KO 6pm) live on The Sportsman 
  • Wakefield Trinity v Hunslet ARLFC (KO 2pm) 
  • York Acorn v Wath Brow Hornets (Saturday 24, KO 2pm) 
  • York Knights v Sheffield Eagles (KO 3pm)


The Fifth Round draw will be held on Sunday 25 February, broadcast live on BBC Radio Leeds from 5pm onwards.

The Men's 2024 Betfred Challenge Cup Final (K.O. 3pm) is part of a Finals Day triple-header at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 8 June, alongside the finals of the Betfred Women's Challenge Cup (K.O. 11:45am) and AB Sundecks 1895 Cup (K.O. 5:45pm). Plus, there will be the traditional Year 7 Boys’ Champion Schools Final at 10am. Tickets are available online now from only £15 Adults and £7.50 Under 16s, with family packages also available starting from just £18.75 for one Adult and two Under 16s.