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5th December 2019, 13:39 | ChallengeCup
Ahead of the First Round draw for the 2020 Coral Challenge Cup, we take a quick look at all 44 community clubs entering as the Road to Wembley begins…
Ashton Bears finished 2nd in the 2019 North West Men’s Premier Division but failed to make the Grand Final after a narrow defeat to Shevington Sharks. The Bears will be making their debut in the Coral Challenge Cup.
The Cumbrian side will be making their first appearance in the Coral Challenge Cup since 2005 when they progressed to the Second Round beating Skirlaugh before falling to a 10-14 defeat against Elland. Barrow finished 5th in Division Two of the National Conference League in 2019.
Bedford Tigers are making their debut in the Coral Challenge Cup after competing in the inaugural Southern Conference League in 2019. The Tigers made the SCL National play-offs but fell to defeat against Valley Cougars.
The Doncaster-based side won the 2019 Yorkshire Men’s Premier Division with a 18-14 victory over East Hull at the LD Nutrition Stadium and will be the hosts of the First Round draw. Bentley progressed to Round Two of the Coral Challenge Cup in 2019 defeating the British Army before falling against West Hull.
One of three Armed Forces sides in the 2020 Coral Challenge Cup, the British Army have progressed to Round Three of the Coral Challenge Cup on six occasions. Their most recent appearance in the Third Round came in 2018 when they knocked off Milford and London Chargers before being defeated by Kells.
Dewsbury Moor will compete in Division Two of the National Conference League in 2020 after suffering relegation from Division One. Moor did have more success in the Coral Challenge Cup last year however progressing to Round Three with wins against Skirlaugh and East Leeds before coming up against West Hull.
The Cumbrian-based side come into this year’s Coral Challenge Cup as the 2019 Cumberland Cup winners having defeated Wath Brow Hornets in the final. Distington made the Third Round of the Coral Challenge Cup in 2018 beating Queens and Lock Lane before eventually being knocked out by Betfred League 1 side Coventry Bears.
East Hull’s best Coral Challenge Cup performance saw them progress all the way to Round Four in 2004. East Hull beat the British Army, the Royal Navy and semi-professional outfit Swinton Lions before exiting at the hands of Whitehaven. They were Premier Division Grand Finalists in the Yorkshire Men’s League in 2019.
The only Scottish side in the 2020 Coral Challenge Cup come into the competition as the 2019 North East Rugby League champions after defeating Jarrow Vikings in the Grand Final. The nine-time Scottish National title winners have progressed to Round Two of the competition on two occasions, most recently in 2010.
Featherstone Lions most impressive Coral Challenge Cup run came back in 1999 when they forced their way into the Fourth Round with victories over Queensbury, Ovenden and Hemel before being beaten by semi-professional side Halifax. The Lions earned promotion to the Premier Division of the National Conference League last season with a play-off win over Stanningley.
Great Britain Police
The Great Britain Police compete in the annual Rugby Football League President’s Cup and have become a staple in the Coral Challenge Cup progressing to Round Two last season. The British Police beat North Herts Crusaders before a 28-20 defeat against Wigan St Patricks.
Hammersmith Hills Hoists
Hammersmith Hills Hoists come into this year’s Coral Challenge Cup as the inaugural winners of the Southern Conference League having beaten London Chargers in the Grand Final. The Hoists are competing in the competition for the third consecutive season.
Hunslet Club Parkside
Hunslet Club Parkside made Rugby League history when they won four consecutive league titles in the National Conference League between 2015 and 2018 spanning from Division Three to the Premier Division. They also progressed to Round Three of the Coral Challenge Cup with victories against Valley Cougars and Wath Brow Hornets before a narrow loss to semi-professional side Workington Town.
Ince Rose Bridge
Ince will make their first appearance in the Coral Challenge Cup since 2013 when they booked a place in the Third Round of the competition. Rose Bridge beat Wath Brow Hornets before falling against Hemel Stags.
The North-East based side are making their debut in the Coral Challenge Cup. Jarrow Vikings are four-time North East Rugby League Premier Division champions and were Grand Finalists in 2019.
Leigh Miners Rangers
Leigh Miners Rangers progressed all the way to Round Five back in 2015 – a feat only achieved by a handful of amateur sides. Leigh Miners beat Hull Dockers, Walney Central and West Hull before also defeating League 1 side Oxford before eventually falling to York City Knights. Rangers also completed a National Conference League treble in 2015.
Another side who have progressed to Round Five of the Coral Challenge Cup is Lock Lane, based in Castleford. Their 2016 heroics saw them beat West Bowling, Shaw Cross Sharks, Oxford and Featherstone Lions before suffering defeat against Halifax. They are currently competing in the Premier Division of the National Conference League.
London Chargers have made the Second Round of the Coral Challenge Cup on three occasions, most recently in 2018 beating Hammersmith Hills Hoists before losing out to the British Army. The Chargers were Grand Finalists in the inaugural Southern Conference League in 2019 losing out to the Hills Hoists.
Longhorns are the only Irish representatives in the 2020 Coral Challenge Cup and are looking to become the first Irish team to win a game in the competition. They are two-time All-Ireland Final winners.
The National Conference Division One side will be looking for a repeat of 2014 when they made the Third Round of the Coral Challenge Cup. The Yorkshire-based side beat Saddleworth Rangers and South West London Chargers before a narrow defeat to semi-professional team Barrow Raiders.
Normanton Knights are certainly familiar with the Coral Challenge Cup having competed in every competition since 1997. Their best performance came two years ago when they made it to Round Four with victories over the Royal Navy, Rochdale Mayfield and Batley Boys before a defeat to Rochdale Hornets halted their progress.
The Raiders are currently competing in Division One of the National Conference League and made the Third Round two years ago. Oulton defeated Siddal and Shaw Cross Sharks before falling to Hunslet.
Pilkington Recs come into this year’s competition as the 2019 National Conference League Division One champions. They made the Third Round of the Coral Challenge Cup in 2018 after beating Wallsend Eagles, Thornhill Trojans and Millom before losing to Coventry Bears.
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force are the second of the three Armed Forces sides in the 2020 Coral Challenge Cup and made the Second Round in last year’s tournament. The RAF beat North Herts Crusaders 6-22 before losing to Distington.
The Welsh side are making their Coral Challenge Cup debut in 2020 after being crowned Welsh Rugby League champions in 2019. The Outlaws are one of two Welsh sides in the competition this season.
Rochdale Mayfield were one of the standout amateur sides in 2019 progressing to the Third Round of the Coral Challenge Cup. The National Conference League Premier Division side beat Kells and Thornhill Trojans before a 30-24 loss to Thatto Heath Crusaders.
The final Armed Forces side in the First Round of the 2020 Coral Challenge Cup is the Royal Navy who are looking to make the Second Round for the first time since 2015. The Royal Navy earned a memorable win over Saddleworth Rangers before being beaten by Skirlaugh.
Currently competing in Division One of the National Conference League, Saddleworth Rangers’ best performance in the Coral Challenge Cup came back in 2006. The Rangers progressed to Round Three with wins against Hull Dockers and Walney Central before suffering a 34-10 defeat against their local semi-professional side Oldham.
The four-time National Conference Premier Division winners made history in 2017 when they became the first side to face Toronto Wolfpack in the Coral Challenge Cup. They made it all the way to Round Three last year with victories over Clock Face Miners and Millom on the road before defeat against Workington Town.
Sherwood Wolf Hunt
Sherwood Wolf Hunt – based in Mansfield – come into this year’s competition as 2019 Midlands Rugby League champions having overcome Birmingham Bulldogs in the Midlands Grand Final earlier this year. They are set to make their debut in the Coral Challenge Cup.
The Hull-based outfit are currently competing in Division One of the National Conference League and will be looking to better their cup run from 2008. Skirlaugh knocked out Waterhead and Hull Dockers on their way to a clash with Widnes Vikings.
Stanningley narrowly missed out on promotion to the National Conference Premier Division in 2019 suffering a play-off final defeat against Featherstone Lions. Stanningley made Round Three of the competition back in 2005 beating Huddersfield Sharks, Walney Central and Rochdale Mayfield before defeat to Doncaster.
Thatto Heath Crusaders
Thatto Heath Crusaders were the underdog story of the 2019 Coral Challenge Cup battling all the way to the Round Five. The Crusaders beat Stanningley, Leigh Miners Rangers, Rochdale Mayfield and League 1 outfit North Wales Crusaders before eventually being knocked out by Championship side Dewsbury Rams. Thatto Heath are also two-time National Conference League Premier Division winners.
Thornhill’s best performance in the Coral Challenge Cup came back in 2006 when they progressed to Round Four of the competition. The Trojans beat Eastmoor Dragons, Leigh East and semi-professional side Workington Town before defeat against Catalans Dragons. Thornhill were crowned National Conference League Division One champions in 2018.
The second Welsh side in the 2020 Coral Challenge Cup is Torfaen Tigers who are making their third appearance in the prestigious competition. The Tigers competed in the inaugural Southern Conference League in 2019 finishing 5thin the National play-offs.
Underbank Rangers – based in Huddersfield – currently compete in the National Conference Premier Division after a number of promotions over the last decade. They made it into the Second Round in 2019 after beating Orrell St James.
Upton are another side who will be making their debut in the Coral Challenge Cup in 2020. The Cumbrian side are currently competing in the Pennine League.
West Bank Bears
The Widnes-based side head into this year’s competition on the back of a memorable North West Men’s league double which saw them win the Premier Division and Cup. They earned a place in Round Three of the Coral Challenge Cup in 2015 which wins against South West London Chargers and Great Britain Police before falling to North Wales Crusaders.
The 2019 National Conference League Division Two champions will be looking for a similar cup performance to last season which saw them make Round Three of the competition. The Bradford club beat Hammersmith Hills Hoists and Ovenden on their way to a clash with Hunslet.
West Hull had a fantastic 2019 which saw them win the National Conference League Premier Division Grand Final as well as progress to Round Four of the Coral Challenge Cup. They beat the Royal Navy, Bentley and Dewsbury Moor before eventual defeat to Dewsbury Rams.
Wests Warriors competed in the inaugural Southern Conference League in 2019 and also won the prestigious Harry Jepson Trophy for the second time in their history. The Warriors’ best performance in the Coral Challenge Cup came in 2017 when they beat Great Britain Police and Featherstone Lions before defeat against Haydock.
Wigan St Judes
Wigan St Judes found themselves in the Third Round of the Coral Challenge Cup in 2019 after victories over Crosfields and Drighlington. The cup run came to an end against Lock Lane for the National Conference League Second Division outfit.
Wigan St Patricks
St Pats currently compete in Division One of the National Conference League and enjoyed success in the Coral Challenge Cup last season making the Third Round. Victories over Leigh East and Great Britain Police saw them set-up a clash with then League 1 side Whitehaven who eventually ended Wigan St Pats’ run.
York Acorn had a successful 2019 earning promotion to the Premier Division of the National Conference League as well as progressing to Round Three of the Coral Challenge Cup. Acorn knocked off Beverley and Wath Brow Hornets before losing to Featherstone Lions.