The Magic of the Challenge Cup Returns

By Daniel Andruczyk

The Challenge Cup threw up a surprise this week. In Super League we are starting to see the dominance of the ‘Big 4’ being challenged finally. Its coming close to the NRL season start and in the Middle East Saudi Arabia caused an upset. In Jamaica GC Foster college secured their spot in the Final of the Uni Championships and another international is announced in the mid-year.

Challenge Cup

This weekend saw round 3 of the Challenge Cup played. When I was overseas I made sure I made it out to a couple of the earlier rounds in the Challenge Cup, not just the final. There is a magic these rounds have, where the amateur clubs come up against the semi pro and pro clubs in the hope they can cause an upset.

Sure in the years gone by it was easier and these days they are almost as rare as an exciting game of Rugby Union, but this weekend saw one of these happen and happen in a BIG way. Halifax amateurs Siddal thumped Doncaster 26-0 in what truly is the upset of the season. Sure Donny sits at the bottom of Championship 1 at the moment (after one round) but they should have won. But hats off to the amateurs on a great win.

Round three also sees the top two French teams from the LER 1 come in. This year its Lezignan and Limoux. Along with Toulouse in the Championship they won through to make it 4/4 for the next round where we see Catalans come in.

So finally results from the weekend: Oldham 80-6 Blackwood, Gatehead 12-44 York, Skolars 16-42 Limoux, Doncaster 00-26 Siddal, Rochdale 22-32 Lezignan, Dirghlington 10-42 Dewsbury, Batley 70-6 Leeds Met., Featherstone 74-0 Workington, Warrington Wizzards 22-34 Swinton, Leigh Miners 20-40 Whitehaven, Sheffield 55-0 Thatto, Ovenden 10-88 Halifax, Barrow 62-10 Hunslet, Keighley 26-35 Toulouse, Leigh East 14-30 Hunslet, Leigh Centurions 52-4 Wath Brow.

Super League

The traditionally ‘big 4’ teams, Saint Helens, Leeds, Bradford and Wigan are getting a run for their money this year with Warrington, Hull and Huddersfield all in the mix after 5 rounds. Weekends results: Bradford beat Wigan in a come from behind thriller 22-20. They were 20-0 down at half-time. Leeds beat harlequins 62-4, Catalans are off the bottom beating Salford 24-12 and Hull defeated Castleford 42-22. Huddersfield absolutely smashed Wakefield 52-0 and Hull Kingston Rovers made it a Hull double beating St Helens in a 28-24 thriller. Glamour team Warrington has a good win over the Crusaders 46-12.

Team P W D L PD Pt
01. Wigan 5 4 0 1 116 8
02. Warrington 5 4 0 1 106 8
03. Hull FC 5 4 0 1 70 8
04. Huddersfield 5 3 0 2 82 6
05. Leeds 5 3 0 2 74 6
06. St Helens 5 3 0 2 44 6
07. Bradford 5 3 0 2 -16 6
08. Hull KR 5 3 0 2 -30 6
09. Wakefield 5 3 0 2 -32 6
10. Crusaders 5 2 0 3 -72 4
11. Castleford 5 1 0 4 -41 2
12. Catalans 5 1 0 4 -96 2
13. Harlequins 5 1 0 4 -136 2
14. Salford 5 0 0 5 -69 0

Middle East

The Lebanese Bank of Beirut Championships are on a hiatus this week due to the Mena U16’s Championships. The Championships saw three teams take part, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Palestine. Lebanon had a predictable win over Palestine in the first match 16-6. Then Saudi Arabia also thumped the Palestinians 20-00. In what can only be describes as an upset Saudi Arabia then drew with Lebanon 14-14. This gave them a superior Point differential and so they are the Inaugural winners of the Championships!

Team P W D L PD Pt
Saudi Arabia 2 1 1 0 20 3
Lebanon 2 1 1 0 10 3
Palestine 2 o 0 1 -30 0

Jamaica

GC Foster beat the University of West Indies to book a place in the final. It was a very close one with neither team hitting double figures. In the end it was 8-6 to GC Foster.

Team P W D L PD Pt
GC Foster College 2 1 1 0 20 3
University of Technology 2 1 1 0 10 3
University of West Indies 2 0 0 1 -30 0

South Africa

Finally a sort of report from the Broncos tour of South Africa. South Africa’s International Development Officer Nigel Goos has written a report on their website. The Broncos team which consisted of Michael De Vere, Michael Hancock, Tony Guilfoyle, Richard Johnson and Nigel Goos did clinics with schools and teams in the SARL.

Also in the final of the Provincial Competition was played while the Broncos were there.The Mpumalanga Panthers piped the Northern Bulls on the siren to win 30-26.

NRL

Its only a week to go till the NRL start and already there has been some off field controversy with players misbehaving. Looks like the New Zealand Warriors are looking to snap up Sonny Bill Williams and the Bulldogs are demanding that they be compensated $1 million. This will be interesting to see what happens. I would not be surprised if we see Gasnier heading back to the NRL in a couple of years as well.

Netherlands

This weekend I got word that the Dutch have revamped their website, actually they have two websites and are getting into the swing of things once again. on the 18th of June the Dutch will play Germany in an international in Heidelberg and the next day field a team in the annual Heidelberg 9’s tournament. This is great seeing one of the strong teams in Europe make a come back, remember they played out for a place in the 2008 World Cup.

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Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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2 Responses to “The Magic of the Challenge Cup Returns”

  1. Jon says:

    Any plans for a Dutch and German league Dan?
    That’s got to be the key for league in any country, a vibrant competitive league.
    Haven’t heard anything about the Catalan Championship being repeated this summer but keeping fingers crossed.

    • druzik says:

      A pan-German-Dutch league is most unlikely. German clubs stretch from the Bavarian alps and Munich (Bad Reichenhall) to Heidelberg (Rorbach Hornets) and Kaiserslautern…. the dutch teams although much closer are still a good 4-500 km away from the closest club. A trip from Rotterdam to Bad Reichenhall is over 1000km and when your dealing with amateur teams and not much money and players needing to get time off work, doing regular trip at those distances just wont work.

      Even the German are finding it hard… and it has been mooted that Germany gets split into conferences with the winners coming out to play a GF. This would make more sense, So you would have the Sud Conference with say Munich, Bad Reichenhall, Nuremberg and a Central Conference of Kaiserslautern, Rorbach Hornets and Frankfurt.

      Holland have been pretty good when it comes to their own domestic games, they get into the sport quite well. The Czecjs also are looking at a 4 team comp of all RL clubs, no ex-union clubs or players. Union had made life hard for them in the past with player availability.

      Look I think there will be a Catalan championships, maybe reduced teams… but once the Euro comps are announced then teams will build their domestic comps around them… its what everyone is waiting for at the moment.

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