Watching the FA Cup ties between Chorley and Wolves and Cheltenham and Manchester City got me thinking about how we could revive our own Challenge Cup when we get back to some sort of normality in life.
Even without fans in the ground, there was still a buzz about the matches at Victory Park (remember when Rugby League was played there by the way?) and Whaddon Road.
Neither Chorley nor Cheltenham were able to pull off a shock, but will still benefit, both financially from TV coverage and the payments for progressing in the competition, and through the publicity generated.
The Challenge Cup has certainly lost some sparkle in recent years, and the days when the Wembley match was a day out for fans of all clubs, not just the two finalists, seem a long time ago.
I’m not a fan of seeding, which means Super League sides don’t enter until the later stages. I think it detracts from the competition.
I’d be all for having a qualifying competition for the community sides, then throwing every club into the hat, just like we used to do.
That way we’d get the Rugby League equivalent of Chorley v Wolves or Cheltenham v Manchester City.
Sure, the Goliaths might win, but the Davids would get the excitement of taking on a big club and also, when we can get back to fans in grounds, a decent pay day.
I well remember the 1988 Challenge Cup when I was with Leeds and we played Kells in the preliminary round.
The game was switched to Whitehaven on a cold Wednesday evening in mid-January.
It was a cracking cup-tie and while we eventually won 28-0, they gave a good account of themselves, and with around 6,000 squeezed in, it made a few quid into the bargain.
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