Grassroots news round-up

Details regarding which of the first round ties in the 2022 Betfred Challenge Cup are to be televised, or streamed live, are likely to be announced early this week.

Meanwhile, dates and kick-off times have been confirmed by the Rugby Football League. All but two of the 14 fixtures will be played on Saturday 15 January, while Bridgend Blue Bulls will entertain the Royal Navy on the Friday evening and Stanningley will travel to National Conference League new boys Bentley on the Sunday.

Jarrow Vikings have switched their clash with London outfit Wests Warriors to Kingston Park – the home of Newcastle Thunder – while the tie involving London Chargers and Ellenborough Rangers will be staged at Chiswick RUFC.

And Galway Tribesmen, although drawn at home to Pilkington Recs, will travel to their St Helens opponents, in line with the terms of their inclusion in the competition.


Friday 14 January 2022
Bridgend Blue Bulls v Royal Navy (7.00pm)
Saturday 15 January 2022
Edinburgh Eagles v York Acorn (1.30pm)
Featherstone Lions v Hunslet Club Parkside (2.00pm)
Galway Tribesmen v Pilkington Recs (2.30pm, at Pilkingtons)
Jarrow Vikings v Wests Warriors (2.00pm, at Kingston Park)
Leigh Miners Rangers v Milford (2.30pm)
Lock Lane v Thatto Heath Crusaders (2.00pm)
London Chargers v Ellenborough Rangers (1.00pm, at Chiswick RUFC)
Orrell St James v British Army (12.30pm)
Rochdale Mayfield v Wigan St Patricks (2.00pm)
Siddal v Great Britain Police (2.00pm)
Thornhill Trojans v RAF (1.30pm)
West Hull v Upton (1.30pm)
Sunday 16 January 2022
Bentley v Stanningley (2.00pm)


With Brow Hornets have been given a major boost with a £200,000 grant that will facilitate a new training complex.

The cash windfall, which has been four years in the procuring, is courtesy of the Rugby League World Cup fund, Cumbria County Council, Copeland Council, Hornets’ local council and the Postcode Lottery.

The Cumbrian outfit can now prepare for the 2022 season and beyond in a 25 x 17 metres ‘barn’, which will ensure that training can take place throughout the year, with minimum disruption for local residents.

Head coach Ian Rooney said: “The committee and the sub-committee which was formed to oversee this development have been fantastic and we are extremely grateful for the support we’ve had from all our funders.

“The project has been delivered by William King construction, who have simply been the best in taking it on and finishing it to the highest of standards.

“If you walk around Wath Brow you will see the most important people – the kids – and they are going to really benefit. But it will not just benefit Wath Brow Hornets, it will benefit the whole community.”


Higginshaw are celebrating a World Cup grant of £16,406.

The cash windfall, which will be used to purchase a new tractor, a mowing machine and ground maintenance equipment, is funded by the CreatedBy Capital Grants Programme, delivered in partnership between RLWC2021, The National Lottery, the Rugby Football League, Sport England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

The vital new equipment will enable the amateur Oldham outfit to maintain their recently refurbished pitch, the £121,000 cost being facilitated by Sport England, with the club itself contributing more than £13,000.

Official John Mellor said: “This funding has been the shot in the arm we needed to support the growth of Rugby League at Higginshaw and to help us celebrate our 125th anniversary.”

Jon Dutton, Chief Executive, RLWC2021, added: “The CreatedBy RLWC2021 Capital Grants Programme is focused on ensuring the next generation of Rugby League players have the best possible experience and barriers to participate are removed.

“We are delighted to award this grant to Higginshaw and look forward to seeing the results of an investment that aims to deliver real change in their community.”


Alison Gascoyne, the deputy head at Purston Infants School, near Featherstone, will shortly be presented with a signed Featherstone Rovers shirt after her guess as to the total metres that would be covered by Dave Merrick in his sponsored swim in aid of the Rob Burrow Fund came closest to the actual figure.

Former referee Dave swam 149,120 metres between the beginning of November and Christmas Eve at the Aspire in the Park facility at Pontefract and Alison wasn’t too far off the mark with her prediction of 149,025 metres.

Dave told League Express on New Year’s Eve: “It’s been worked out that I swam 92.6 miles. It was a fair old slog but it was worth it, especially when I was joined by Rob’s children on the last length.

“That was emotional, and the initiative has had tremendous support from so many people.

There are too many to mention everyone but I have to put in a word for former Featherstone Miners Welfare player Paul Windmill and his wife Alison, who run the Bradley Arms in North Featherstone. They raffled a Rob Burrow hoodie that I gave them and raised £500 – it was a fantastic effort.”

The total raised by Dave Merrick stood, on New Year’s Eve, at £9,090. Further donations can be made by visiting


A couple of late entries for the BARLA National Cup, both of which had been delayed in the Christmas post, dropped into the Association’s Huddersfield offices the day after the designated deadline, taking the number of teams involved in the 2022 competition to 21.

Cumbrian outfit Aspatria Hornets and Leigh Miners Rangers (who won the competition in 1973-74 and in 1982-83) are therefore among the hopefuls aiming to make it through to the final, which is set for Sunday 10 April at a venue to be confirmed.

Pairings in the first round, which will be played on Saturday 29 January, are: Cockermouth Titans v Waterhead Warriors; Sharlston Rovers v HM Prison Service; Orrell St James A v Drighlington; Haresfinch v Birkenshaw Blue Dogs; Myton Warriors v Leigh Miners Rangers.

Holders Thatto Heath Crusaders and 2019 runners-up West Hull have byes, together with Ackworth Jaguars, Aspatria Hornets, Blackbrook, Fryston Warriors, Hindley, Maryport, Normanton Knights, Orrell St James and Upton.


The Castleford & Featherstone ARL’s first meeting of 2022 will be next Monday (10 January).
Delegates are asked to arrive at the league’s base at Glasshoughton WMC for a prompt 7.30pm start.

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