Sharlston hopeful to feature in Challenge cup

Gareth Davies with cup winning duo

Gareth Davies with cup winning duo

Two time cup winning captain Adrian Morley and Lance Todd winner Lee Briers started the road to Wembley this evening (Tuesday 7th December), the Warrington duo pulled out the balls for the Preliminary and first round of the Carnegie challenge cup at The George Hotel Huddersfield.

The Yorkshire cup final will again have a major bearing on Rovers involvement in the competition. Last season Rovers had to wait until the result of the final was known to see if they progressed into the competition as league winners or through Yorkshire cup qualification. On that occasion Rovers beat Hunslet Old Boys 28-12 and so took up their Yorkshire cup fixture versus Leigh East, while Drighlington as league runners-up joined the competition as the Pennine league nomination.

This season Rovers involvement isn't quite as clear cut as the Yorkshire cup finalists have yet to be finalised with the semiís falling foul to the recent white out. Queens are yet to host Crigglestone All Blacks and Drighlington will travel to the current champions. Queens are currently serving their second year of a three year disqualification following crowd trouble at Doncaster in 2009 and will not be eligible to qualify as Yorkshire cup winners. That means the Yorkshire cup spot will be contested by Sharlston, Drighlington and Crigglestone All Blacks.

Drighlington have already qualified for the competition via the league route which means Sharlston Rovers are odds on to take the cup spot unless underdogs Crigglestone All Blacks can pull a major cup victory shock. They must first knock out BARLA National cup winners Queens before taking the scalp of the winner of the Sharlston-Drigh semi in the final that is scheduled for Monday 27th December at The Big Fellas Stadium, Featherstone.

Eerily and to add to the confusion of the qualification routes Yorkshire cup winners were drawn at home to the Pennine league nomination in the preliminary round in the first weekend of the new year. That date may be the subject of late rescheduling if this weekends semis and resulting final fails to be played on the expected dates.

Possible final outcomes and resulting changes to prelim tie :

FinalistsWinnerPrelim tie
Sharlston v QueensSharlstonSharlston v Drighlington
Sharlston v Queens Queens Sharlston v Drighlington
Drighlington v Queens Drighlington Drighlington v Sharlston
Drighlington v Queens Queens Drighlington v Sharlston
Sharlston v Crigglestone Sharlston Sharlston v Drighlington
Sharlston v Crigglestone Crigglestone Crigglestone v Drighlington
Drighlington v Crigglestone Drighlington Drighlington v Sharlston
Drighlington v Crigglestone Crigglestone Crigglestone v Drighlington

Preliminary round (to be played weekend of January 8):

Pool A: Oulton v Normanton, Ovenden v Rochdale Mayfield, Millom v Egremont, Eccles and Salford Juniors v Castleford Panthers, Yorkshire Cup winners (to be decided) v Drighlington, Shaw Cross v Stanley Rangers, Lancashire Cup winners (to be decided) v Seaton Rangers.

Pool B: St Albans v British Police, Loughborough University v Featherstone Lions, Northampton v Gloucester University.

First round (to be played weekend of January 22):

Pool A: East Leeds v Crosfields, East Hull v Saddleworth, Leigh East v Heworth, Fryston v Stanningley, Eccles and Salford Juniors or Castleford Panthers v Wigan St Patricks, Wigan St Judes v West Bowling, Skirlaugh v Oulton or Normanton, Wath Brow v Norland Sharks, Ovenden or Rochdale Mayfield v Lancashire Cup winners or Seaton Rangers, Yorkshire Cup winners or Drighlington v Hunslet Warriors, York Acorn v Milford, Shaw Cross or Stanningley v Widnes St Maries, Elland v Thatto Heath, Kells v Bradford Dudley Hill, Myton Warriors v Ince Rose Bridge, Siddal v Eastmoor, Oldham St Annes v Hull Dockers, Castleford Lock Lane v Halton Sims Cross, Leigh Miners Rangers v West Hull, Waterhead v Millom or Egremont.

Pool B: Loughborough or Featherstone Lions v Kippax, Northampton or Gloucestershire University v Leeds Met University, Nottingham Outlaws v RAF, Warrington Wizards v Carluke Tigers, University of Central Lancashire v Northumbria University, Edge Hill University v Hull University, The Royal Navy v St Albans or British Police, Valley Cougars v The Army.