Twenty-eight amateur teams will be involved in the 2022 Betfred Challenge Cup, which will include amateur sides once again after grassroots outfits were excluded this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The sides will go into the hat in tomorrow’s draws for the first two rounds, together with ten Betfred League 1 outfits being involved at the second stage.
The event, on Tuesday 14 December, will take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – where the final will be held on Saturday 28 May – from 5.30pm, and will be streamed live on BBC Red Button, and on the RFL’s Our League web and app.
Fourteen National Conference League sides are included, together with two Southern Conference League outfits.
The Iggesund Cumberland, North East, North West Men’s, Pennine, Scottish, Welsh and Yorkshire Men’s Leagues are also represented while the four ‘services’ sides (the Army, Great Britain Police, the RAF and the Royal Navy) are again taking part.
Amateur teams in the first round draw (the fourteen ties are to be played on the weekend of 15/16 January) are:
NATIONAL CONFERENCE LEAGUE: Featherstone Lions, Hunslet Club Parkside, Leigh Miners Rangers, Lock Lane, Milford, Pilkington Recs, Rochdale Mayfield, Siddal, Stanningley, Thatto Heath Crusaders, Thornhill Trojans, West Hull, Wigan St Patricks and York Acorn.
SOUTHERN CONFERENCE LEAGUE: London Chargers, Wests Warriors.
IGGESUND CUMBERLAND LEAGUE: Ellenborough Rangers.
IRELAND: Galway Tribesmen.
NORTH EAST LEAGUE: Jarrow Vikings.
NORTH WEST MEN’S LEAGUE: Orrell St James.
PENNINE LEAGUE: Upton.
SCOTTISH LEAGUE: Edinburgh Eagles.
SERVICES: Army, Great Britain Police, RAF, Royal Navy.
WALES: Bridgend Blue Bulls.
YORKSHIRE MEN’S LEAGUE: Bentley.
Betfred League 1 teams entering in round two (with the twelve ties to be played on the weekend of 29-30 January) are: Doncaster, Hunslet, Keighley Cougars, London Skolars, Midlands Hurricanes, North Wales Crusaders, Oldham, Rochdale Hornets, Swinton Lions and West Wales Raiders.
Four of those – Hunslet, Oldham, Rochdale Hornets and Swinton – have previously lifted the famous trophy. All will perhaps be keen to avoid some of the grassroots game’s ‘big guns’, typified by reigning National Conference League champions Thatto Heath Crusaders who, two years ago, reached the fifth round, with North Wales Crusaders among their scalps.
No one can be prouder of Bentley’s admission to the National Conference League than Bob Fox.
Fox told League Express: “Having been the 21-years-old founder of the club in 1963, and the club secretary for the following 20 years, I was highly delighted to learn of their acceptance into the NCL for the 2022 season.
“It was certainly very hard going for the first couple of seasons, being on the wrong side of some horrendous score-lines. We had a really good local council pitch to play on but our changing facilities in a nearby school weren’t so good, with no showers, just wash hand basins.”
He continued: “However, slowly but surely, Bentley made good progress on and off the field, benefiting from also having formed under 17s and under 19s teams.
“Several players progressed to the open age squad, enabling the club to grow in stature and become highly competitive as the years rolled on, winning a few trophies along the way.
Bentley were growing from strength to strength, with purpose built modern changing rooms befitting the high standard the club had achieved.”
Fox concluded: “Moving to their present location has obviously been a huge benefit to Bentley and I’m sure they will continue to make excellent progress and be a great credit to not only the National Conference League but also to the local community. I wish them all the very best for a great future.”
Bentley’s founding father attached a team photograph from 1980, listing – Back row (left to right) Mick Beynon (Committee), Trevor Neep, John Cuffling, Ben Allison, Bob Couper, Stuart Sheard, Stan Jinks, Bunty Stokes, Kenny Barber, Graham Wainwright, Mark Larner. Front row, Ted Hill (first aid) Dave Greenall (Committee) John Hickman, Mick Burns, Keith Head, Ken Roe, Kevin Gregory, Mick Page, Bob Fox (Secretary).
The Castleford & Featherstone ARL holds its last meeting of 2021 this evening (Monday 13 December, 7.30pm) at Glasshoughton WMC.
Delegates, who will discuss the reformation of the District’s representative team, and the league’s knockout cup competitions, are asked to wear facemasks at the event.
Applications to host the inaugural European 9s Championship, which will take place in 2023, are being sought.
The competition will take place as part of the European Rugby League’s drive to further expand the international game, with Nines seen as a perfect weekend event for players and spectators alike.
Organisers aim to run men’s and women’s competitions and ERL General Manager David Butler said: “We’ve seen that Nines generate a significant amount of interest and the fast and frenetic nature of the game makes it a perfect spectator sport.
“The event will give the game in Europe another perfect platform to showcase itself.”
Interested organisations have until late February to submit bids.
The deadline is looming for entries for the 2022 BARLA National Cup.
Ambitious amateur outfits have until Friday (18 December) to lodge their names at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com
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