18th November 2019, 11:52 | ChallengeCup

Road to Wembley starts at Bentley for Coral Challenge Cup First Round draw

Road to Wembley starts at Bentley for Coral Challenge Cup First Round draw

Road to Wembley 2020 begins in South Yorkshire on Thursday December 5

The Rugby Football League will celebrate the impact of the CreatedBy RLWC2021 Capital Grants Programme when the First Round draw for the 2020 Coral Challenge Cup is staged at Bentley ARLFC in Doncaster on Thursday December 5.

The draw will be streamed live on the BBC Sport website, red button and the BBC Sport connected TV app, as well as through RFL channels - the BBC beginning another year of covering every round of the Challenge Cup in 2020 by selecting one tie to be streamed live on the weekend of January 11-12.

Bentley, who won the Yorkshire Men’s League last season to earn their place alongside 43 other community clubs and teams in the First Round draw, are one of dozens of successful applicants who have already shared in more than £1m of funding made available to ensure a lasting legacy for the game from RLWC2021.

That has delivered a total of more than £2.35m worth of projects, well on track for the target of generating an additional £10m of investment from the £10m CreatedBy RLWC2021 funding.

Bentley received a Small-Scale Grant of almost £15,000 to cover the cost of improving the playing experience by installing new goalposts, purchase of lawnmower, line marker and fencing, along with some playing equipment for the development of the game.

Pete Wainer, the Bentley Chairman, said: “We’re delighted to have received the World Cup funding, which will make a big difference to us as a community club. And we’re excited about Doncaster’s involvement in the World Cup itself. So to have the chance to stage the Challenge Cup draw is another big boost to the club. It is also something that the local community, many of whom are involved with the Club in one way or another, can look forward to in the wake of the recent problems the local area has had with the flooding in recent weeks.”

So far, four Large-Scale Grants have been awarded amounting to £698,613 invested in projects costing a total of £1,950,007 – to Chorley Panthers, King Cross in Halifax, Salford City Roosters and Shevington Sharks in Wigan – with more than 40 Small-Scale Grants delivering funding from South London Silverbacks to Churchill Community College in North Tyneside.

Ralph Rimmer, the chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said: “Hosting three World Cups in 2021 – the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair competitions – is an unprecedented opportunity for Rugby League in this country, and the CreatedBy RLWC2021 Capital Grants Programme is a great example of the benefits it will bring to all sections of the game.

“Bentley are one of dozens of community clubs and teams who have responded to the opportunities offered by RLWC2021 to secure significant financial support. With Doncaster also confirmed as a Host Venue to stage three group games in the Men’s competition, it’s a great place for us to launch the Coral Challenge Cup for 2020 – which will be a special year for the sport of Rugby League, as we celebrate our 125th anniversary.”

There will be a new rhythm to the Coral Challenge Cup next year, with the traditional Wembley Final being played in July for the first time.

The Semi Finals will be played as a double header for the third consecutive year on the weekend of June 6-7 (further details to follow soon), with the Quarter Finals on the weekend of May 9-10, and the Sixth Round – when the top eight teams from the 2019 Super League enter the competition, including the Cup holders Warrington Wolves – on the weekend of April 4-5. All those three weekends are free of Super League fixtures.

The remaining four Super League clubs – Huddersfield Giants, Hull KR, Wakefield Trinity and Toronto Wolfpack, who return to the Cup after a one-year absence – will enter at the Fifth Round stage on the weekend of March 14-15.

The Wolfpack and Catalans Dragons will be the only two professional overseas clubs taking part in the 2020 Coral Challenge Cup – with the Wolfpack to play all their games away, whatever their draw, because of the logistical issues involved in arranging additional games in Canada at short notice.

Toulouse Olympique of the Betfred Championship have again declined the invitation to participate, and Red Star Belgrade, who made their Challenge Cup debut in 2019 and lost in the First Round on a memorable occasion at the Cumbrian community club Millom, have also opted out in 2020 because of the demands on their players.

However the Longhorns will again represent the Republic of Ireland, with Edinburgh Eagles from Scotland and two Welsh teams in Torfaen Tigers and Rhondda Outlaws.

The 13 English clubs in the Betfred Championship will enter the Coral Challenge Cup at the Fourth Round stage on the weekend of February 22-23; the 11 clubs from Betfred League 1 having entered at the Third Round stage on the weekend of February 8-9.

Before that, the stage belongs to 44 community clubs such as Bentley, and also including five members of the new Southern Conference League – Torfaen, Bedford Tigers, London Chargers, Wests Warriors and the inaugural champions, Hammersmith Hills Hoists – plus the Royal Navy, British Army, RAF and Great Britain Police.

All will be aiming to emulate Thatto Heath Crusaders of St Helens, who earned significant BBC exposure in 2019 with a run to the Fifth Round, including a landmark victory over North Wales Crusaders of League 1, before losing to Dewsbury of the Championship.


2020 Coral Challenge Cup

December 5: First Round draw (44 Community Clubs – see list below)

January 11-12: First Round

January 25-26: Second Round (22 First Round winners)

February 8-9: Third Round (11 Second Round winners, 11 Betfred League 1 clubs)

February 22-23: Fourth Round (11 Third Round winners, 13 English Betfred Championship clubs)

March 14-15: Fifth Round (12 Fourth Round winners, plus four Betfred Super League clubs – Huddersfield Giants, Hull KR, Toronto Wolfpack, Wakefield Trinity)

April 4-5: Sixth Round (8 Fifth Round winners, plus the remaining 8 Betfred Super League clubs)

May 9-10: Quarter Finals

June 6-7: Semi Finals (Double Header, details tbc)

Saturday July 18: Final - Wembley Stadium connected by EE

Tickets for the Coral Challenge Cup Final are currently available with an Early Bird offer – with 25% off all seats, meaning tickets now start from only £15 for adults and £3.75 for under-16s. Fans can buy now here.


The following 44 teams will enter the First Round draw:

Ashton Bears, Barrow Island, Bedford Tigers, Bentley, British Army, Dewsbury Moor, Distington, East Hull, Edinburgh Eagles (Scotland), Featherstone Lions, Great Britain Police, Hammersmith Hills Hoists, Hunslet Club Parkside, Ince Rose Bridge, Jarrow Vikings (North East), Leigh Miners Rangers, Lock Lane, London Chargers, Longhorns (Ireland), Milford, Normanton Knights, Oulton Raiders, Pilkingtons Recs, RAF, Rhondda Outlaws (Wales), Rochdale Mayfield, Royal Navy, Saddleworth Rangers, Siddal, Sherwood Wolf Hunt, Skirlaugh, Stanningley, Thatto Heath Crusaders, Thornhill Trojans, Torfaen Tigers (Wales), Underbank Rangers, Upton, West Bank Bears (Widnes), West Bowling, West Hull, Wests Warriors (London), Wigan St Judes, Wigan St Patricks, York Acorn.