Five teams march on in Ladbrokes Challenge Cup

By Robert Haile

THE long road to Wembley has started for Rugby League clubs as the first round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup took place.

Almost there as Kells are held up short of the line.

National Conference clubs were joined by the three forces clubs, the British Police, University sides Hull and Loughborough, Scottish side Strathmore Silverbacks, Irish side Longhorns and Welsh side Valley Cougars.

In this year’s competition Cumbria had six side involved on Saturday, January 27, with Conference Premier Division sides Wath Brow Hornets travelling to Hunslet Warriors while Kells welcomed the British Police.

Whitehaven-based Hensingham traveled to face the University of Hull, Conference Division 1 team, York Acorn, hosted Askem, Millom faced Scottish Champions Strathmore Silverbacks and Distington welcomed Yorkshire team, Queens.

It proved to be a good draw as Wath Brow ran out 30 – 0 winners at Hunslet Warriors.

Strathmore Silverbacks didn’t have an enjoyable trip to Millom going down 36 – 18 and Queens followed the Scots back out of Cumbria with a 32 – 24 defeat at Distington.

Askem went through to the second round with a 16 – 32 win away to York Acorn, but it was a trip to far as Hensingham went down 24 – 10 at the University of Hull.

Kells had a destructive opening 20 minutes which set them on their way to a 40 – 8 win over the British Police.

In blustery conditions the home side mixed swift passing moves with pin point kicking to keep the Police backs on their toes, during the opening exchanges, as Kells raced into the lead.

It wasn’t all one way traffic, as the half went on the Police grew in confidence and, though Kells ran in another three tries, the visitors managed to cross to give them a slim chance in the second half.

The second half was a tighter play as the Police dug deep to score first.

The match, then, settled into a bruising encounter with both sides running hard into the opposition.

Tempers were flaring at perceived roughness in the tackles, after Kells were put on a team warning for high tackling.

As the match came towards its inevitable end, Kells pounced on a loose ball to score another try.

Moments later another sweeping passing moved added the final points of the match to secure their place in the draw for the second round.

The Challenge Cup draw takes place on Wednesday 31 at 5:00pm with fixtures to be played on February 10 and 11, to watch the draw live head to the BBC website or the Challenge Cup Facebook page.