HUDDERSFIELD Underbank Rangers can expect a bumper crowd when they welcome Challenge Cup competition to The Cross on Sunday.
It’s a 2.00 kick-off for the qualifying round clash with York-based Heworth of the National Conference League Division II.
Thirty eight of the 40 clubs entering Qualifying Round One are in action this weekend and some of the stand-out ties include a Cumbrian derby between Askam and Millom, Welsh champions Bonymaen Broncos travelling to Bradford Dudley Hill and Student champions Leeds Metropolitan University hosting Elland.
One club who are excited to be involved in the competition are Conference 3 side Bristol Sonics, who host Eccles.
Bristol Sonics chairman Phil Cole said: “The Challenge Cup is the competition that most people outside of Rugby League are aware of.
“The final takes place every year at Wembley and over the years has become one of the essential days out in the British sporting calendar. To take part in such a historic competition is brilliant for Rugby League in the South West, and of course for Bristol Sonics.
“I would urge anyone with a few hours to spare on Saturday afternoon or Sunday to go down and cheer on their club.”
The Sonics have appeared in the Challenge Cup once before, losing to Leeds Met Carnegie in the first round back in 2009. In front of a record crowd for a Rugby League fixture in Bristol, the Sonics sensationally took the lead before wilting under sustained pressure in the second period. Despite losing heavily, it was one of the most memorable days in the club’s history.
Bristol’s second appearance in the competition comes just over a month after the club celebrated its 10th birthday and captain Dom Swann believes they can cause an upset.
He said: “Eccles will be the best side we’ve ever faced, and they’re arguably miles ahead of us.
“That said, our form in the latter half of the National Conference League 3 season was excellent, so I’m sure we can give them a very good game at the very least. If we did win, it would be our best result to date by some distance.”
Cup fixtures are:
Saturday – Blackbrook v Castleford Lock Lane (1.30), Askam v Millom (2.00 TBC), Bank Quay Bulls v Castleford Panthers (2.00 TBC), Bradford Dudley Hill v Bonymaen Broncos (2.30), Dewsbury Celtic v Ovenden (2.30), East Leeds v Drighlington (1.30), Featherstone Lions v Stanley Rangers (2.30), Hunslet Warriors v Wigan St Jude’s (2.30), Leeds Metropolitan University v Elland (2.00), Northumbria University v Milford Marlins (2.00), Rochdale Mayfield v Hull University (2.00), Stanningley v Widnes West Bank (2.00), Bristol Sonics v Eccles (2.00), Hunslet Old Boys v St Mary’s University (2.30), Shaw Cross Sharks v Pilkington Recs (2.30).
Sunday – Eastmoor Dragons v Loughborough University (1.30), Warrington Wizards v British Police (2.00), Huddersfield Underbank Rangers v Heworth (2.00).
Saturday (November 3) – Kells v Egremont Rangers (1.30), Normanton Knights v York Acorn (1.30).
Castleford are to send half-back Ben Johnston and full-back or winger James Clare out on loan for 2013.
Johnston, 20, who went on loan to York last season before returning to make his Super League debut for the Tigers, will join Dewsbury.
Clare, who made three Super League appearances in 2012, will go on loan to Championship newcomers Doncaster.
They will be available to play for their Championship clubs from February and will be on a 24-hour call back for the Tigers after 28 days.