HUDDERSFIELD YMCA are to stage a Challenge Cup third-round tie for the first time in their history.
The Laund Hill ground will host the clash between top Halifax amateur club Siddal and Championship side Keighley Cougars on Sunday week (3.30) in what is seen as a massive coup for the rugby union club.
With National Conference League Premier Division club Siddal’s Chevinedge ground failing to meet the standards required by the Rugby Football League (RFL) – including a covered stand – to stage third-round ties in rugby league’s most famous knockout competition, head coach Gareth Greenwood’s side were forced to make the switch.
But with The Shay unavailable next weekend, with Halifax hosting Oxford in the Challenge Cup on Sunday and Halifax Town at home to Altrincham on the Saturday, moving the tie to Laund Hill seemed the next best thing.
“We’re delighted we’ve been able to strike a deal,” said Siddal football secretary Steve Dyson.
“To be honest, we’ve had to get through an awful lot of red tape to get the RFL to approve the YMCA as the venue, even though they already host Huddersfield Giants Academy games all the time.
“The facilitIes at Laund Hill are great, and we know all of their officials will make sure everything goes without a hitch.
“And we’re also confident we’ll get a decent turn-out. Only Ainley Top separates Siddal from the YMCA, so the travelling for our supporters won’t be an issue, while I’m sure Keighley will bring quite a few fans with them.
“But we also hope a number of Giants supporters will become Siddal fans for the day, because Huddersfield play their Super League game at Castleford the day before.
“The last thing we wanted was to concede home advantage and take the game to Keighley, and we’re delighted with the way things have turned out.”
Former Halifax RL player and YMCA rugby director Damon Scholes was central to the deal to come to Laund Hill being struck, and he couldn’t be happier.
“It’s great for us and I hope Siddal would agree it’s great for them, too,” said Scholes.
“We’re proud of the standard of facilities we’ve now got at the YMCA, and that’s something that’s again been endorsed by the RFL.
“We intend to do everything we possibly can to make sure Siddal have a fantastic day.
“It’s the first time the YMCA has staged a Challenge Cup third-round tie, so we intend to do everything we possibly can to make sure it’s not the last.”