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Honor James

Challenge Cup qualifying rounds kick-off

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The qualifying rounds for the 2013 Challenge Cup kick-off this weekend with community Rugby League clubs from across England and Wales taking their first steps on the road to Wembley.

Thirty eight of the 40 clubs entering Qualifying Round One are in action this weekend and some of the stand-out ties include a Cumbrian derby between Askam and Millom, Welsh champions Bonymaen Broncos travelling to Bradford Dudley Hill and Student champions Leeds Metropolitan University hosting Elland.

One club who are excited to be involved in the competition are Conference 3 side Bristol Sonics, who host Eccles.

Bristol Sonics Chairman Phil Cole said: "The Challenge Cup is the competition that most people outside of Rugby League are aware of.

"The final takes place every year at Wembley and over the years has become one of the essential days out in the British sporting calendar. To take part in such a historic competition is brilliant for Rugby League in the South West, and of course for Bristol Sonics.

"I would urge anyone with a few hours to spare on Saturday afternoon to come down and cheer on the club - the lads will need all the support they can get."

The Sonics have appeared in the Challenge Cup once before, losing to Leeds Met Carnegie in the first round back in 2009. In front of a record crowd for a Rugby League fixture in Bristol, the Sonics sensationally took the lead before wilting under sustained pressure in the second period. Despite losing heavily, it was one of the most memorable days in the club's history.

Bristol's second appearance in the competition comes just over a month after the club celebrated its tenth birthday and captain Dom Swann believes they can cause an upset.

He said: "Eccles will be the best side we've ever faced, and they're arguably miles ahead of us at the moment.

"That said, our form in the latter half of the National Conference League 3 season was excellent, so I'm sure we can give them a very good game at the very least. If we did win, it would be our best result to date by some distance."

Bristol Sonics face Eccles in the First Qualifying Round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup at Clifton RFC, Cribbs Causeway, on Saturday October 27 (2.30pm).

Challenge Cup Qualifying Round One

Saturday October 27

Blackbrook v Castleford Lock Lane (1.30pm)

Askam v Millom (2pm TBC)

Bank Quay Bulls v Castleford Panthers (KO 2pm TBC)

Bradford Dudley Hill v Bonymaen Broncos (KO 2.30pm)

Dewsbury Celtic v Ovenden (KO 2.30pm)

East Leeds v Drighlington (KO 1.30pm)

Featherstone Lions v Stanley Rangers (KO 2.30pm)

Hunslet Warriors v Wigan St Jude's (KO 2.30pm)

Leeds Metropolitan University v Elland (KO 2pm)

Northumbria University v Milford Marlins (KO 2pm)

Rochdale Mayfield v Hull University (KO 2pm)

Stanningley v Widnes West Bank (KO 2pm)

Bristol Sonics v Eccles (KO 2pm)

Hunslet Old Boys v St Mary's University (KO 2 30pm)

Shaw Cross Sharks v Pilkington Recs (KO 2 30pm)

Sunday October 28

Eastmoor Dragons v Loughborough University (KO 1 30pm)

Warrington Wizards v British Police (KO 2pm)

Huddersfield Underbank Rangers v Heworth (KO 2pm)

Saturday November 3

Kells v Egremont Rangers (KO 1.30pm)

Normanton Knights v York Acorn (KO 1.30pm)

-ends-

Nick Boothroyd

Community PR Manager

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How many qualifying rounds are there now? I thought there only used to be just the one, but sounds like there are more this year?

If so, does this make it the biggest Challenge Cup ever?!

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There are two qualifying rounds - 27th October and 3rd November. I believe the first round is 10th November and then the second round is not until March. 2013

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Am I correct in believing that the Carnegie sponsorship has now ended?

Yes, the competition is between sponsors. Seems a bit mad to kick off the qualifying rounds before you've sorted a sponsor - looks very amateurish IMHO

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Yes, the competition is between sponsors. Seems a bit mad to kick off the qualifying rounds before you've sorted a sponsor - looks very amateurish IMHO

On the other hand delaying until you've found one also looks pants, especially if one isn't forthcoming.

Heads must roll for not securing a significant portion of the wealth of Abu Dhabi for rugby's oldest knock out competition well in advance.

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On the other hand delaying until you've found one also looks pants, especially if one isn't forthcoming.

Heads must roll for not securing a significant portion of the wealth of Abu Dhabi for rugby's oldest knock out competition well in advance.

Well, they'd be criticised either way, as you point out. According to RFL insiders "the commercial department are working really hard on it", so hopefully there will be an announcement soon. It is a good proposition though - historic comp, terrestrial TV coverage etc.

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Well, they'd be criticised either way, as you point out.

That's the problem. And, as a sport (and sporting governing body), we seem acutely aware of embarrassment where none is to be found.

Plenty of soccerball cups and leagues get their sponsorship mid season.

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That's the problem. And, as a sport (and sporting governing body), we seem acutely aware of embarrassment where none is to be found.

Plenty of soccerball cups and leagues get their sponsorship mid season.

Yup - tbf the Cup only ended 9 weeks ago.

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Why are there so few Southern teams in the cup?

I keep reading on here about the spread of RL in the South.And why can;t the Welsh champions make the trip to Dudley Hill?

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Why are there so few Southern teams in the cup?

I keep reading on here about the spread of RL in the South.And why can;t the Welsh champions make the trip to Dudley Hill?

I dont know the reason they gave but i am led to believe a lot of their players are from the union team there wonder whether that has any influence on it?

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Free entry for Leeds Met's fixture down at Kirkstall Brewery for those in need of an RL fix...

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Why were they allowed to enter when they knew they would be unlikely to be able to raise a team during the Union season?

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Why were they allowed to enter when they knew they would be unlikely to be able to raise a team during the Union season?

Well, according to the rules of the competition it is possible for games to be played on Sundays if both teams agree. Maybe Bony M Broncos (sorry - I'll get my coat) thought that whatever team they drew would be OK with playing on a Sunday, so they could use their union players (of course clubs are within their rights to turn down requests for a switch to Sunday). At the end of the day teams are invited to take part, so they should have thought of all eventualities before accepting the RFL's invitation.

It may be that more southern/midlands teams were invited to enter (I don't know who was and wasn't invited, sadly) but decided against it as summer teams are now 'out of season'. Remember that most summer comps, bar the NCL, finished nearly two months ago.

We loved our Challenge Cup experience in 2009 so were delighted to be asked to enter again. We might not have as strong a team on Saturday as we would have had if the game had been played during our regular season, but we'll have a full side. That's one of the benefits of running two teams etc. I guess it's the same for Eccles, as their side on Saturday will most likely be a mix of first and second team players, too. At the end of the day it's a lot easier if you run multiple teams - as far as I know most Welsh clubs have got one team, which is very reliant on union players, and that's it.

I also know that some of our lads see the Challenge Cup as a big draw - it's not often players from this neck of the woods get a chance to take part in the one RL comp that most non League fans will be aware of. It's our F.A cup, after all.

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How many qualifying rounds are there now? I thought there only used to be just the one, but sounds like there are more this year?

If so, does this make it the biggest Challenge Cup ever?!

I think it's roughly the same or slightly fewer. The extra qualifying round is to account for the Championship expansion.

If things haven't changed from when I last heard then the bottom 8 NCL premier teams enter at round 1 and then the 6 playoff teams plus the 3 forces sides enter at round 2. Assuming Oxford are entering the Challenge Cup this would imply there's back up to 4 French clubs as well (compensation for the end of the Anglo French cup and Toulouse's NRC place?)

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Dudley Hill through to next qualifier, Bonymaen Broncos not making the trip

Inevitable. Seems disrespectful they dropped a place for the Hull League winners buy kept one for the South Wales League winners when:

A. The South Wales league collapsed

B. It's very rare that Welsh amateur sides turn up to their games in the Challenge Cup due to RU (I know Cardiff Demons used to).

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On the other hand delaying until you've found one also looks pants, especially if one isn't forthcoming.

Heads must roll for not securing a significant portion of the wealth of Abu Dhabi for rugby's oldest knock out competition well in advance.

stobart trucks?

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Bristol 24-36 Eccles

Decent game. Eccles well worthy of the win, though we caused them a few problems with ball in hand. Unfortunately, for a 10 minute period in the first half we didn't touch the ball. The sequence pretty much went like this: we gave away a penalty, they went down our end and scored. Repeat for 10 minutes. In that time they scored three tries. They added another before half time and that was more or less it. We were the better team in the second half, and had been leading 12-4 before that sequence, so that mad 10-15 minutes pretty much lost us the game.

Still, a decent game, a good performance and a great (if freezing cold) afternoon of RL in sunny Bristol.

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We are looking at entering this competition for 2013/14 but cannot find anywhere on how to enter, could somebody point me in the right direction please.

 

Many thanks

 

Alex

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We are looking at entering this competition for 2013/14 but cannot find anywhere on how to enter, could somebody point me in the right direction please.

 

Many thanks

 

Alex

Which club are you? It's not an open competition, you have to be invited.

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Cottingham Tigers - I was reliably (??) informed last night that the Preliminary round was open invitation.

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All NCL clubs are invited plus champions of the various other local leagues/cups are nominated/invited.

 

The BARLA National Cup is an Open Invitation and winning that would gain you an entry

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Thank you all for your help.

I have emailed the RFL for some clarification.

We used to be in the NCL 6 years back and I think my source was thinking back then.

Alex

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