Wigan Warriors and St Helens stars look ahead to Challenge Cup double-header in Doncaster

DONCASTER is back on Challenge Cup semi-final duty for the first time in seven years.

The South Yorkshire city will host one each of both the men’s and women’s Challenge Cup draws in a double-header on Saturday, May 18.

St Helens play York in the women’s competition at 11.15am, before Wigan face Hull KR in the men’s at 1.45pm.

It is the fifth time that the Eco-Power Stadium (formerly Keepmoat Stadium) has hosted semi-final action, having previously seen Hull FC wins in 2008, 2016 and 2017 (against Wakefield, Wigan and Leeds respectively) and Leeds’ victory over Castleford in 2011.

“I’m really proud to play my part in bringing these major sporting events to our city,” said Doncaster CEO Carl Hall.

Both ties are repeats of semi-finals last season, when both were settled by a single point.

St Helens beat York 17-16 thanks to a Faye Gaskin field-goal with 30 seconds remaining at Leigh Sports Village, while Hull KR’s Brad Schneider struck a one-pointer in golden-point extra-time to down Wigan at Headingley.

The Warriors went on a 16-match winning run thereafter, collecting three trophies along the way, but winger Liam Marshall – who scored the winning try in the 2022 final at Tottenham against Huddersfield – isn’t thinking about this tie as a rematch.

“There will probably be a lot of talk around the fact that we lost in the circumstances that we did, the drop-goal in golden-point,” he said.

“There could be something to feed into there but I don’t think we’ll clutch at that.

“It’s another game. It’s a brand-new season with new players and new opposition. It’s a completely different tie. Hopefully we can go one better this year.”

Saints went on to beat Leeds in last year’s Women’s Challenge Cup final, the first to be played at Wembley.

Prop Chantelle Crowl said: “Knowing it was at Wembley, that was everyone’s goal for that year to make it, and we achieved that goal. 

“To win, that feeling after it, the crowd chanting, all our families there, and lifting that Challenge Cup – it’s something that will never be taken away from us as a group.

“It won’t be as wild as it was last year, but it will be amazing any time you get to Wembley. 

“Playing in that stadium is just phenomenal. If we can reach that stage again, it will still give us the biggest buzz.”

The other double-header on Sunday, May 19 will take place at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium.

Warrington will return to the scene of their men’s quarter-final defeat of Saints to face Huddersfield (3.15pm), after the women’s tie between Wigan and Leeds (12.30pm), which is also a repeat of last season, when the Rhinos won on home turf.

All four matches will be broadcast on the BBC, with the men’s games on television and the women’s ties on iPlayer.

The Challenge Cup finals are on Saturday, June 8 at Wembley, alongside the final of the 1895 Cup, for which the semis take place on Sunday, May 12, with Bradford at home to Wakefield and York hosting Sheffield.