Bentley will face military opposition for the second consecutive season in the Coral Challenge Cup after being paired with the Royal Air Force in the First Round draw which they hosted tonight (Thursday).
The thriving Doncaster community club, who were selected as draw hosts to reward their successful application for facilities funding from the CreatedBy RLWC2021 Capital Grants Programme, will be hoping for a repeat of their 18-16 victory over the British Army in the First Round of last year’s competition.
The Army will have home advantage as they aim to clear the first hurdle in 2020, against Oulton Raiders of West Yorkshire, while the Royal Navy must travel to Widnes to face the West Bank Bears.
Other intriguing ties see the Welsh amateurs Torfaen Tigers drawn away to Great Britain Police, while the former St Helens full-back Phil Veivers will take his Ashton Bears team to Scotland to face Edinburgh Eagles.
Longhorns, the Ireland Rugby League champions, have a tough trip to Normanton Knights, and the second Welsh team to enter this stage of the competition, Rhondda Outlaws, face a similarly daunting tie at Barrow Island.
But one team from development territory is guaranteed to reach the Second Round as Wests Warriors, the nearest club to Wembley in the 2020 competition, have the comparatively short trip to Nottinghamshire to face Sherwood Wolf Hunt, who won the Harry Jepson Trophy in 2019 to earn their place on the Road to Wembley.
The 22 First Round ties will take place over the weekend of 11-12 January, with one to be selected for live streaming by the BBC – the start of their coverage of at least one match from each round of the 2020 competition – and another by the RFL’s Our League cameras.
The first semi-professional clubs, from Betfred League 1, will enter at the Third Round stage on the weekend of 8-9 February, and Championship clubs two weeks later in the Fourth Round. Four Super League clubs – Huddersfield Giants, Hull KR, Wakefield Trinity and Toronto Wolfpack – will enter at Round Five on the weekend of 14-15 March, followed by the remaining Super League clubs for Round Six on the weekend of 4-5 April.
The Coral Challenge Cup Final itself will be played more than a month earlier than in 2019 – on Saturday 18 July. And fans still have time to take advantage of a special Early Bird ticket offer, with 25% off all seats meaning tickets now start from only £15 for adults and £3.75 for under 16s.
John Hill, Coral’s PR Manager, said: “We are looking forward to another exciting Coral Challenge Cup campaign where all roads now lead to Wembley for the final in July.
“Last year showcased everything which is great and special about the Challenge Cup, and we had deserving winners of both the Men’s and Women’s competitions in Warrington and Leeds respectively.
“The early rounds of the tournament are a great chance for many amateur clubs to take centre stage and keep their dream alive of pitting themselves against a professional club later in the competition so we’d like to wish all teams competing in the opening round the best of luck.”
The RFL has introduced a new and improved ticketing site since the 2019 Coral Challenge Cup Final – eticketing.co.uk/rugbyleague – and all customers will need to set up a new account to take advantage of the Early Bird prices.
2020 Coral Challenge Cup First Round draw:
Rochdale Mayfield v London Chargers
GB Police v Torfaen Tigers
Edinburgh Eagles v Ashton Bears
Leigh Miners Rangers v Stanningley
Underbank Rangers v Lock Lane
West Bank Bears v Royal Navy
Featherstone Lions v West Bowling
British Army v Oulton Raiders
Normanton Knights v Longhorns
Barrow Island v Rhondda Outlaws
Pilkingtons Recs v West Hull
Thornhill Trojans v Thatto Heath Crusaders
York Acorn v Hammersmith Hills Hoists
Siddal v Saddleworth Rangers
Sherwood Wolf Hunt v Wests Warriors
Wigan St Patricks v Dewsbury Moor
Distington v Bedford Tigers
Milford v Wigan St Judes
Upton v Jarrow Vikings
Skirlaugh v Hunslet Club Parkside
RAF v Bentley
Ince Rose Bridge v East Hull.
2020 Coral Challenge Cup schedule
Round One: 11-12 January
Round Two: 25-26 January
Round Three: 8-9 February
Round Four: 22-23 February
Round Five: 14-15 March
Round Six: 4-5 April
Quarter-finals: 9-10 May
Semi-finals: 6-7 June (Details tbc)
Final: Saturday 18 July (Wembley Stadium connected by EE)