THIRTY-TWO amateur sides will go into the hat tonight (Thursday 5 January) for the first and second round draws of the 2017 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
The hopefuls looking for favourable pairings in the opening stage on the last weekend of January – and potential progress to the second round on 11/12 February – include 20 teams from the Kingstone Press Cider National Conference League.
Two of those (Thornhill Trojans and West Bowling) have been included through having won, respectively, the Xamax BARLA National Cup and the Yorkshire Men’s League last season.
The others comprise all 12 Premier Division sides – champions Siddal together with Egremont Rangers, Kells, Leigh Miners Rangers, Myton Warriors, Pilkington Recs, Rochdale Mayfield, Skirlaugh, Thatto Heath Crusaders, Wath Brow Hornets, West Hull and Wigan St Patrick’s – plus Featherstone Lions, Hull Dockers, Lock Lane, Milford Marlins, Normanton Knights and York Acorn from Division One.
The other 12 teams going into the hat comprise Pennine League champions Fryston Warriors, Cumbria Men’s League title-holders Distington, North West Men’s League top-dogs Haydock, Conference League South champions London Chargers, Aberdeen Warriors – champions of Scotland – and Welsh League winners Bridgend Blue Bulls, together with Harry Jepson Trophy holders Wests Warriors.
Hull University are the Student representatives, and the Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and Great Britain Police are also in the mix.
The draw will be conducted from 7.00pm by Lee Radford, the Head Coach of holders Hull FC, and the RFL’s President, Air Commodore Dean Andrew, at the Deep in Hull, as part of the celebrations surrounding the city’s status as the 2017 UK City of Culture.