Both of this weekend’s 1895 Cup semi-final ties will be streamed live on OurLeague, with four sides vying for a spot in the competition’s showpiece final at Wembley next month.
As confirmed by the RFL earlier on today, this weekend’s ties have been arranged so as to not clash with any of the equivalent ties in the Challenge Cup, both men’s and women’s.
The first of the two 1895 Cup semi-final ties sees London Broncos face Halifax Panthers at 5pm on Saturday, July 22.
Due to playing on the Saturday, the Broncos are unable to use their usual home venue with owners of the Cherry Red Records Stadium, AFC Wimbledon, in pre-season action against fellow Londoners Queens Park Rangers. Instead, London will take on Halifax at Rosslyn Park FC, around seven miles North-East of their normal home.
Then, on Sunday – July 23 -, the other last-four tie will be played out when York Knights host Batley Bulldogs. The Knights also share a ground with a football team, York City, but are fine to play as normal at the LNER Community Stadium. That clash gets underway at midday.
1895 Cup: The remaining four
Of this year’s four semi-finalists, only York have previously reached the final of the competition. The Knights did so in 2021, but lost out to Featherstone Rovers.
In a tighter affair than most expected, Rovers ran out 41-34 winners on the day. That year was the competition’s most expansive format to date, with York having to see off Sheffield, London and Swinton Lions to book their spot at Wembley.
York’s last-four opponents this term, Batley, are in search of a first-ever appearance at the ‘home of football’. The Bulldogs are three-time Challenge Cup winners, but all three of those final successes came at Headingley comfortably prior to the Wembley move in 1929.
In the other semi-final clash, London will look to book a short hop across the capital to Wembley next month. Despite how close they sit geographically to the national stadium, the Broncos have only appeared there once prior. That came in 1999 when Leeds Rhinos mauled them in the Challenge Cup final.
London’s 2023 opponents Halifax meanwhile have the most experience of any of the four sides when it comes to pedigree. They made no less than seven appearances at Wembley between 1931 and 1988. Three of those outings yielded wins, with three defeats, and even a rare draw in 1954 which came against Warrington Wolves.
What is the 1895 Cup?
Created in 2019, the 1895 Cup provides clubs outside Super League a second bite of the cherry when it comes to reaching Wembley. It’s sponsored by AB Sundecks, the company owned by Leigh Leopards chief Derek Beaumont.
There have been a few tweaks to the format already, but for this year, the Championship teams had to reach the sixth round of the Challenge Cup to then be eligible to begin their journey in the 1895 Cup. Only four did that, so it was straight forward to head into two semi-final ties.
Leigh are the most recent winners, beating Featherstone at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last year on their way to winning promotion. Adrian Lam’s side have taken Super League by storm and are currently second on the ladder, involved in the Challenge Cup semi-finals this weekend.
Only two other clubs have had the honour of lifting the 1895 Cup, which wasn’t played in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sheffield Eagles were the first-ever holders, beating Widnes Vikings at Wembley in 2019.
As mentioned above, 2022’s beaten finalists Featherstone were the competition’s winners the year prior, beating York with Craig Hall picking up the Ray French award for a man of the match performance.
This weekend’s ties in the 1895 Cup will cost fans £4.95 each to view providing they buy prior to gameday. Buying a streaming pass on the day of the game will see them rise to £10 each.
Our League itself is free to join, with over 250,000 rugby league supporters already signed up to the platform.
The competition’s final will be played at Wembley on Challenge Cup final day – August 12 – as the last match of a four-game day.