Two Championship sides were in the draw for the quarter finals of the Coral Challenge Cup which was made this afternoon at the Halliwell-Jones, after the pulsating game between the Wolves and the Warriors.
Yesterday’s giant killers, the Bradford Bulls, present at the expense of the Leeds Rhinos, and were joined by six other sides including fellow championship side Halifax. Hull KR who shocked the Salford Red Devils on Saturday afternoon and the holders, Catalan Dragons, were also in the hat.
The draw was made by league legends, and international superstars, Jonathan Davies and Ellery Handley.
As Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors players and supporters held their breath for the sixth round draw of the Challenge Cup, both sides will have hoped for an easier draw than on against their arch rivals.
Both sides have a massive Challenge Cup history, sharing twenty-seven wins between them. The Warriors last picked up the trophy in 2013 when they became the next name on a long an illustrious list after the Wolves who had won it in three out of the previous four years. Warrington were, of course, the losing finalists last year when they were beaten by the Catalans Dragons whereas it was Wigan who had the disappointment the year before when they lost to Hull FC.
Second placed Warrington were the favourites with the bookies and expected to make home advantage pay against an eighth placed Wigan Warriors.
There was plenty of history between the two sides meeting at Odsal Stadium in Bradford and the Bulls and the Rhinos redrew the battle lines in a Challenge Cup which has seen many encounters over the last couple of decades.
The Rhinos faced their first outingunder the custodianship of Richard Agar after partig company with Dave Furner during the week while the home side will have been well-drilled by Cup shock supremo John Kear.
The last time that these two sides met in the Challenge Cup was the Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in 2003 where the Bulls ran out as 24-22 victors. But in 2019 it was Leeds who were massive favourites for the win and progress into the quarter finals.
For the remaining eight Super League clubs the road to Wembley starts here as the sixth round of the competition now sees the entry of the sides who finished in the top eight slots last season. Two of those met at the KC Stadium tonight as Hull FC and the Castleford Tigers went head to head for a quarter final place.
The two sides are currently separated by two league positions and two league points but both sides were beaten last weekend and the Tigers came into the game on the back of three straight defeats and have only three wins in their last ten outings.
The home side were the favourites with the bookies, thanks to their recent form and higher league position, but this was the Cup and everything was to play for.
Round Thirteen of the Betfred Championship was played over the opening weekend of May with two games on Saturday afternoon, and the remaining five on Sunday.
On paper, the game of the round was between Leigh Centurions and Sheffield Eagles as the two sides came into the game fighting for third place. Saturday’s games were between Dewsbury and Toulouse, and Toronto and Bradford as the top two attempted to break further clear of the chasing pack.
The other games on Sunday were between; Halifax and Barrow, Rochdale and Featherstone, Swinton and Widnes and York and Batley.
The tie of the round saw the visit of the Bradford Bulls to the Lamport Stadium in Tornoto as the team in fourth place in the league table looked to spring a surprise on the league leaders and reduce their lead at the top of the table whilst securing themselves third spot, at least overnight.
Liam Kay and Joe Mellor were back for the Wolfpack as Brian McDermott’s side came up against the experience of John Kear, the coach with a reputation for springing surprises in big games.
Both sides came out of the dressing rooms like steam trains, it was going to be a brutal encounter between two sides which knew that this could be a defining weekend in their campaigns for Super League 2020.
Eight Betfred Championship league one teams kicked off the opening round of the inaugral 1896 Cup, which will culminate in a Wembley final on Challenge Cup Final day, the 24th August. They will be joined by the twelve English Championship sides for round two to be played over the first weekend in June.
The South Leeds Stadium was the venue as Hunslet faced a Workington Town side under the new custodianship of Chris Thorman, who was only appointed towards the end of last week following the sacking of Leon Pryce.
Workington reportedly travelled to Hunslet with a squad of just fourteen players and the home side were clear favourites, currently sitting in second place in the league ladder.
It was second against fifth in the game of round fourteen as the Mend-A-Hose Jungle saw the Castleford Tigers host the Warrington Wolves. Warrington were looking to build on last weekend’s big win over the Huddersfield Giants, whereas the home side needed to put the disappointment of a tryless loss away at Wigan behind them.
A win would put the visitors within two points of the top of the table St Helens, and a loss could see the Tigers finish the weekend by slipping outside the top six.
With the Tigers having an indifferent season, and missing eleven first choice players, the Wolves were strong favourites for the away win.
A win would do little to improve either sides league position, but would do a great deal more for team moral and aspirations for the remainder of the season, as we head towards the half way point in Super League XXIV.
Eighth placed Wigan Warriors needed to win by fifty-five points or more to go above the Salford Red Devils, whereas the London Broncos, currently propping up the table, needed a forty-two point winning margin to claw themselves ahead of Hull KR.
All the smart money was on more misery for Danny Ward’s travelling London Broncos, but Wigan were fragile enough in 2019 to be worried about every match they play.
HURRY! The 50% discount for season ticket holders ends tomorrow! Attend Dacia Magic Weekend from as little as £12.50 for adults, and £6.25 for juniors- buy directly from your club to receive this offer.
Dacia Magic Weekend debuts in Liverpool, at the iconic Anfield Stadium on May 25 & 26. This year’s event boasts a packed fanzone, special guests, DJs and plenty of interactive fun and games. Not forgetting 6 mouth-watering clashes on the pitch, including the top four teams from the 2018 Betfred Super League season rounding off each day with Wigan taking on Warrington on Saturday night, and St Helens battling it out with Castleford on Sunday.
Not a season ticket holder? Don’t worry, you can still join us for a party in the from as little as £25 for adults and £12.50 for U16s!