Rugby League

1895 Cup

10 May 2024

Sheffield’s Ben Jones-Bishop talks team journey and how a Wembley win would be the final piece | 1895 Cup Semi-Finals

Sheffield’s Ben Jones-Bishop talks team journey and how a Wembley win would be the final piece | 1895 Cup Semi-Finals

The Semi-Finals of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup are taking place on Sunday, where a trip to legendary Wembley Stadium awaits the winner.

York Knights and Sheffield Eagles will battle it out in their semi-final at the LNER Community Stadium, and Ben Jones-Bishop, also known as 'BJB' and a man who has played for both sides, is hoping for a return to the big stage with his Eagles team-mates.

The Sheffield speedster is renowned for his terrific try-scoring and try-saving on the right edge, lighting up both the Super League and Championship competitions over the years.

He also shows no signs of slowing down, as the 35-year-old has entered his third season with the South Yorkshire side...




The Eagles currently sit second in the Betfred Championship with six wins out of a possible seven as their focus reverts to the 1895 Cup this weekend – a competition of which the club are the inaugural winners.

Looking back on the opening rounds, the winger is pleased with his side’s strong start and believes that the togetherness of the group is at the heart of their success:

“It’s been a good start, and it feels like we’ve been playing forever with all of the cup games before the league season,” Jones-Bishop admitted, who has scored over 200 tries throughout his professional playing career.

“I think we’re playing some really good rugby, and our only defeat was against a strong Wakefield side last weekend.

“It’s a long year but we’ve got a healthy squad at the minute and some good depth, so it’s all about keeping everyone on their toes and making sure when we [ the players] come in, we know we’ve got to play well.”

Jones-Bishop chose to re-sign for Sheffield towards the back end of last year on a one-year deal, after an already exceptional 44 tries in 58 appearances across two seasons. He also scooped up their 2023 Supporters’, Players’, and Player of the Year Awards for his tremendous efforts in the Red and Gold.

During this time, the Eagles have gone from a seventh placed finish in 2022, to a fourth placed finish in 2023, and now look to be challenging for the top two spots in 2024. They also find themselves just 80 minutes from what would be their second Wembley appearance in five years:

“When I came here, the goal was a journey to get back playing in the city of Sheffield which we do now at the Olympic Legacy Park. The goal was also to improve and to keep improving, which is what we’ve also done,” BJB explained.

“I like the style of rugby we play. We like to move the ball and I get to see plenty of it.”

Open and honest, Jones-Bishop is full of praise for the club he now calls home and spoke highly of the people involved at the Eagles - and how he knows Sheffield is the right place for him:

“It’s just been an enjoyable time. The players are great, the coaching staff are great, the staff behind the scenes are great. It’s a well-run club – we’ve got a great Women’s team, Wheelchair, LDRL and PDRL teams – and we all mix which is good.

"And then you look on the field where we're playing some attractive rugby at the moment, and for me it’s nice to get your hands on the ball.




“I just like to compete. The key is to keep competing. We’ve been on a journey and the squad just keeps getting better and better. We have a good mix of experienced and younger players, so it makes for a good environment."

With emphasis on the team’s journey and team spirit, the Sheffield winger has sheer determination on Sunday as he recognises a place at Wembley Finals Day is within touching distance once more - for both himself and the club:

“It’s a massive game. You’re 80 minutes away from playing at Wembley, which is a great occasion to be involved in," BJB said, as passionate as ever.

“If you can’t get up for this game, then I’m not sure why you play the game to be honest. We’re looking forward to it; we know it’s going to be a tough game but ultimately the prize at the end of it is very mouth-watering.”

The Jamaica international has vast experience of playing in major finals and venues under his belt, and if Sheffield were to make this year's final, it would be his fourth ever Wembley appearance – although he is still yet to taste victory there:

“You remember the wins on the way to Wembley, but I think it’s the losses that probably stick out and hurt a little bit more.

“With my Wembley losses it would be nice to get back there and try and better this. But it’s more about the team and the journey that we’re on. Obviously, the club have been there and had Wembley successes beating Wigan in 1998 and also the first 1895 Cup in 2019, but it would be great for us to get there again.

“There are players in our group still left from the 1895 Cup Final, so a return for them would be nice, but also for other players to have that chance too.”

Jones-Bishop’s last visit to Wembley was with York Knights in the 2021 1895 Cup Final – the side who Sheffield will face for a final spot this Sunday.




The Knights were on the losing side of a thrilling 41-34 try fest against Featherstone Rovers, with Jones-Bishop scoring York’s opening try in one of his trademark fashions.

The former Super League star has also played in two back-to-back Challenge Cup Final defeats with Leeds Rhinos in 2011 and 2012 during their ‘Golden Era’, and discussed what it would mean to him if he could go on to achieve Wembley glory and lift a trophy:  

“It would be the final piece if I’m honest. It’s something I’ve not quite managed to crack in my career.

“It’s a great occasion and great for the family and everyone involved. I’ve been fortunate enough to play there a few times.




“It only comes around once a year and the opportunity for part-time players to be able to go and play there – I think it’s great our sport, so long may the 1895 Cup competition continue and the chance to play at Wembley.

“I’m hoping we can experience that.”

Sheffield will make their second trip of the season to the LNER Community Stadium on Sunday, having already played there once this year and coming away as 32-16 victors in a Round 4 Betfred Challenge Cup match.

They finished top of the group stages in the 1895 Cup, before beating Batley in the semi-finals to reach this point.

But in terms of preparations for their huge game at the weekend, Jones-Bishop doesn’t think anything will change, but is fully aware of what is at stake:

“We’ll do exactly the same. I don’t think we’ll do anything different to what we normally do in terms of preparations. We’ll train – our first session was on Tuesday evening. We’ll review last week, get some footage on York, and then we'll be on the field.

“Nothing much changes, especially with it being our usual routine and a Sunday afternoon game. It’s all about cracking on.”




On coming up against his former club, Jones-Bishop insisted it is a game his side will not be taking lightly, despite the fact York have only won one game in the Championship competition so far.

The Knights have improved in recent performances and will be taking part in their third 1895 Cup semi-final in four years:

“We’re expecting a tough game. League form goes out of the window as it’s a one-off, standalone game. You win this and you’re playing at Wembley.

“I think form isn’t something to look at because everyone will be up for it on the day. We’ll be expecting a strong York.”

Looking ahead to what a successful season would look like for Sheffield Eagles and for himself, BJB said:

“For the team, it’s about being consistent. We finished fourth last year but went out at the first attempt in the Play-Offs. What we learnt last year is about peaking too early and not being able to sustain it towards the back end of the year.

“It’s all about learning on what we did. We know it’s hard to be fresh all year round but it’s about trying to be as consistent as possible and seeing where that takes us.

“For me, I’ve got 350 career games creeping in which would be a nice, personal one to reach. I’m not sure when it is.

“It’s just a case of playing my part in the team and making sure I’m still performing the best I can and helping the team win games.

“It’s also about helping the other teams in the squad – eventually I will be replaced so it’s about trying to help the other wingers and outside backs. If I can pass on some experience or help them out then that’s another aspect of my role now as well.

“But first we will focus on the task at hand on Sunday.”


A full AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Semi-Final Preview can be found here.


Tickets for York v Sheffield's AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Semi-Final are still available from the two clubs' official websites.


Photo Credit: Sheffield Eagles