After a phenomenal weekend for the Challenge Cup in which five amateur teams dumped out professional opposition, the stage is set for tonight’s fourth round draw.
With all 12 Championship sides entering the fray alongside the amateur and League 1 sides left in, the draw could throw up some real mouthwatering ties.
Is this the most eagerly anticipated fourth round draw in recent years? It could well be – and the fact it’s an open draw (so anyone can get anyone) makes it even more interesting. Here’s three ties in particular that leap out as potentially standout games.
Siddal v Halifax
An all-Halifax derby is on the cards after Siddal produced the result of round three, thumping Newcastle Thunder 30-4 to make their way to the next stage of the competition. You can imagine the reaction from most of the West Yorkshire town if Siddal were drawn against Richard Marshall’s Shaymen – that would certainly be a tie worth heading along to, as it would no doubt be full of big hits and intensity!
Featherstone Lions v Featherstone Rovers
Similarly, another inter-town match is on the cards in this most intriguing of fourth round draws – if amateur side Featherstone Lions are paired with their bigger cousins from across town, Fev Rovers. The Lions were another side who caused an upset in the round previous, and if they drew Jon Sharp’s men, you would imagine the whole town would turn out to watch what would be a thrilling derby.
Pilkington Recs v Bradford Bulls
This doesn’t sound as appealing a tie as the previous two on paper, but when you factor in the circumstances surrounding the tie, you can see why. Pilky’s were chanting “we want Bradford” after their stunning win at the weekend, and if they draw the Bulls – arguably the biggest name in the draw – it would pit the Pilkington coach, Kurt Haggerty, up against his current employers in the Bulls. There would certainly be some divided loyalties there, that’s for sure!
Bonus: Do we want an all-amateur tie too?
The luxury of having five amateur teams through to this stage means that as well as getting some David v Goliath ties like the ones above, we could also have the guarantee of an amateur side making it through to round five. The other two amateur teams left in are Kells and Lock Lane – would they take being drawn against one another to throw up the prospect of potentially getting someone like last year’s finalists, Hull KR, next?