Hunslet ARLFC and Rochdale Mayfield, the two community clubs remaining in the Betfred Challenge Cup, will both have home advantage in the Fourth Round next month.
Hunslet ARLFC, who were formed during the winter through a merger of Hunslet Warriors with the 2022 National Conference League champions Hunslet Club Parkside, will host Batley Bulldogs, the first ever winners of the Challenge Cup in 1897 who have been one of the most consistent teams in the Betfred Championship in recent seasons.
Mayfield, who have already claimed one semi-professional scalp from outside Rugby League’s traditional northern heartland in this year’s competition with their Second Round win against Cornwall RLFC, will now face higher level opposition from Newcastle Thunder, also of the Betfred Championship.
The draws for both the Fourth and Fifth Rounds were held at Millom RLFC, the Cumbrian community club who are celebrating their 150th anniversary in 2023 – and are thought to be the oldest amateur Rugby League club in the world.
That means all 16 clubs remaining in the competition now have a clear idea of their path to the Sixth Round of the Betfred Challenge Cup – when the 12 Super League clubs join the competition.
The four non-Super League clubs who reach that stage will have an additional reward of comprising the Semi Finals for the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup – the knockout competition that was introduced in 2019 to give non-Super League clubs a second and more realistic chance of reaching Wembley.
Halifax Panthers, London Broncos and York Knights have each been handed consecutive home draws – provided they make it through the Fourth Round.
Halifax, who were impressive winners at Featherstone Rovers in the Third Round, will play Barrow Raiders in the Fourth Round, with the winners to host the winners of the tie between Midlands Hurricanes and Bradford Bulls.
The Broncos have drawn Doncaster of Betfred League One in the Fourth Round, with the winners to host the winners of the tie between Dewsbury Rams and Widnes Vikings.
York Knights, who were 1895 Cup finalists at Wembley in 2021, have a tough tie against the inaugural 1895 Cup winners Sheffield Eagles – who are also celebrating the 25th anniversary of their famous Challenge Cup Final triumph against Wigan in 1998.
The winners of that tie will be at home to Rochdale Mayfield or Newcastle Thunder in the Fifth Round.
Tickets for Betfred Challenge Cup Final Day at Wembley on August 12, which this year includes the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final for the first time as well as the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final, are available, still at Earlybird prices starting from £15 for adults and £7.50 for under-16s.
Betfred Challenge Cup
Fourth Round (ties to be played April 1-2)
London Broncos v Doncaster
Keighley Cougars v North Wales Crusaders
Hunslet ARLFC v Batley Bulldogs
Midlands Hurricanes v Bradford Bulls
Dewsbury Rams v Widnes Vikings
Rochdale Mayfield v Newcastle Thunder
York Knights v Sheffield Eagles
HALIFAX PANTHERS v Barrow Raiders
Fifth Round (ties to be played April 22-23)
York Knights or Sheffield Eagles v Rochdale Mayfield or Newcastle Thunder
London Broncos or Doncaster v Dewsbury Rams or Widnes Vikings
Hunslet ARLFC or Batley Bulldogs v Keighley Cougars or North Wales Crusaders
HALIFAX PANTHERS or Barrow Raiders v Midlands Hurricanes or Bradford Bulls
Betfred Challenge Cup Schedule
Sixth Round – May 19-21
Quarter Finals – June 17-18
Semi Finals – July 22-23
Final – August 12, Wembley Stadium