THE DRAW FOR THE FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS OF THE BETFRED CHALLENGE CUP HAVE BEEN MADE
The wait is nearly over as the Panthers get ready to return to action on the weekend of March 21 after the Betfred Challenge Cup draw took place yesterday.
Panthers have a home tie against the Batley Bulldogs to look forward to in what will be both teams first game in over 12 months when the two sides meet at The Shay Stadium.
The winners of the Panthers vs Bulldogs tie will be rewarded with a trip to either Featherstone Rovers or Bradford Bulls in the second round
The draws for both the First and Second Rounds were held consecutively because they will be played on consecutive weekends in March – marking the first Rugby League action of 2021, and a return to action after more than a year of enforced inactivity for all 16 clubs involved.
The winners of the four Second Round ties will join the 12 Betfred Super League clubs in the Third Round in April – and will earn a second attempt to reach Wembley as they will also qualify for the semi finals of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup in June.
Days and times for kick-offs for the eight First Round ties will be confirmed as soon as possible, following discussions with clubs and the BBC about broadcast & streaming schedules.
Betfred Challenge Cup
First Round (ties to be played weekend of March 21): London Broncos v Keighley Cougars, Whitehaven v Dewsbury Rams, Oldham v Barrow Raiders, West Wales Raiders v Widnes Vikings, Swinton Lions v Newcastle Thunder, Halifax Panthers v Batley Bulldogs, Sheffield Eagles v York City Knights, Featherstone Rovers v Bradford Bulls.
Second Round (ties to be played weekend of March 28): Swinton Lions or Newcastle Thunder v Oldham or Barrow Raiders, Featherstone Rovers or Bradford Bulls v Halifax Panthers or Batley Bulldogs, London Broncos or Keighley Cougars v Sheffield Eagles or York City Knights, West Wales Raiders or Widnes Vikings v Whitehaven or Dewsbury Rams.*
Third Round (Four Second Round winners and 12 Betfred Super League clubs): Weekend of April 11
Quarter Finals: Weekend of May 9
Semi Finals: Weekend of June 5
Final: Saturday July 17 (Wembley Stadium)
*The four Second Round winners will also qualify for the semi finals of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup