Challenge Cup First Round: Results & Round-up as road to Wembley begins for community & Armed Forces teams

Ben Olawumi
Challenge Cup trophy

The Challenge Cup trophy in situ at Hull FC's MKM Stadium ahead of a game in 2023 - Alamy

Nine of the 10 Challenge Cup First Round ties took place today, with five of those decided by six points or less as the long road to Wembley and the competition’s final under the arch on June 8 begins.

Round One sees community clubs and Armed Forces sides in action, with over 400 points scored in total across the nine games which took place this afternoon.

There’s still one game to take place in Round One with Orrell St James hosting Haresfinch live on The Sportsman tomorrow afternoon (2pm BST KO), but we’ve provided a round-up of all nine that have been played so far below.

Challenge Cup First Round: Results & Round-up as road to Wembley begins for community & Armed Forces teams

Royal Air Force 22-28 Royal Navy (12.30pm)

Armed Forces, Hull FC, MKM Stadium
The Armed Forces host an event ahead of a Hull FC game in 2022 – Alamy

The 2024 Challenge Cup kicked off at lunchtime with an all-Armed Forces clash screened live on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Red Button as the Royal Air Force hosted the Royal Navy.

In the end, it was the Navy who came out on top, with Charlie Mattison’s 76th minute try the all-important winner. With the conversion added, that took the scoreline of a tie which had been in the balance throughout to 28-16 in their favour.

The RAF still had time to respond with another try of their own, cutting the deficit to six oncemore, but they didn’t have enough in the locker to force the tie into golden point extra time.

Lowca 22-28 Edinburgh Eagles (1pm)

Scottish outfit Edinburgh were also winners by a six-point margin – and coincidentally the exact same scoreline – away from home against Lowca.

The Eagles‘ trip down the M6 to Cumbria saw nine tries overall, with eight different scorers. Lowca’s Luke Stockton was actually the only man to cross more than once, but he and his team-mates will have to wait another 12 months for their next crack at the cup.

Clock Face Miners 22-20 Heworth (1.30pm)

St Helens-based Clock Face Miners had been sailing through into Round Two, holding a 22-4 lead at one point this afternoon on home soil against Heworth.

As it turned out, they did progress through and won a first-ever tie in the Challenge Cup, but it wasn’t without an almighty scare from visitors Heworth who got it back to 22-20 with two minutes remaining but couldn’t push on for a winner.

Doncaster Toll Bar 22-20 Ashton Bears (1.30pm)

Kicking off at the same time, there was another identical score over in South Yorkshire as Doncaster Toll Bar clung on for a priceless cup victory.

Visitors Ashton Bears went over for a try from the last play of the game, and had the chance to level it up, but couldn’t do so with the conversion missed, unable to take the Round One clash into golden point.

South Wales Jets 4-40 Stanningley (1.30pm)

South Wales Jets Ben Flower Lloyd White
Former Wales internationals Ben Flower (left) and Lloyd White (right) have joined the South Wales Jets’ coaching staff – Alamy

For the scoreline alone, South Wales Jets’ first-ever appearance in the Challenge Cup isn’t one that they’ll want to remember, comfortably beaten by Stanningley at Ebbw Vale RFC.

Notably, the Welsh outfit saw former Super League aces Ben Flower and Lloyd White join their coaching staff as they prepared for this clash.

Fryston Warriors 13-10 British Army (2pm)

While their RAF and Navy counterparts did battle in front of the cameras, the British Army faced a trip to Castleford-based Fryston Warriors. This game was too broadcast, with YouTube channel Forces News‘ showing it live.

The Army had led 6-4 at the break in Yorkshire, but went 12-6 down in the second half and saw Ryan Watkins sin-binned. While they were down a man, Fryston added a drop goal to seal their spot in Round Two, and a late try from Aporosa Bainikoro proved just a consolation.

Oulton Raiders 22-34 West Bowling (2pm)

Lewis Camden scooped the Man of the Match award for Bradford-based West Bowling as they booked their spot in Round Two of the Challenge Cup.

It was a first win in four years away against Oulton, where Hull KR winger and Super League icon Ryan Hall spent time as a youngster.

Wests Warriors 28-4 Newsome Panthers (2pm)

Kobe Poching
Kobe Poching in action for Wakefield Trinity during a pre-season friendly against Halifax Panthers in January 2022 – Alamy

London natives Wests Warriors enjoyed a comfortable afternoon and breezed through, running out 28-4 winners having been 16-0 up by the break in the capital against Huddersfield-based Newsome.

Willie Poching‘s sons Kobe and Will both featured, with the latter named in Wests’ starting 13 and Kobe utilised as an interchange.

Hammersmith Hills Hoists 56-6 Medway Dragons (3pm)

Held at Chiswick RFU, this was the last game to get underway this afternoon, and by half-time, hosts Hammersmith Hills Hoists had the game wrapped up.

They ran out 56-6 victors come full-time against Medway Dragons, who are based in Gillingham, Kent.

Challenge Cup 2024 Round Two draw

A Challenge Cup winner with Leigh Leopards in 2023, experienced winger Josh Charnley conducted the draw for Round Two of the competition last month just after he had completed the Round One draw. 

Round Two sees 10 teams from the National Conference League join the competition, including the likes of Lock Lane & Thatto Heath Crusaders.

Accordingly, after today’s results, this is how the next round of the competition looks:

Orrell St James OR Haresfinch v York Acorn

Royal Navy v Thatto Heath Crusaders

Leigh Miners Rangers v Stanningley

Fryston Warriors v Hunslet ARLFC

Doncaster Toll Bar v West Hull

Clock Face Miners v Siddal

Wests Warriors v Rochdale Mayfield

Hammersmith Hills Hoists v West Bowling

Lock Lane v Edinburgh Eagles

Hull Dockers v Wath Brow Hornets

BBC Sport will select one tie from each of the rounds, which will be streamed live on BBC iPlayer, as well as the BBC Sport website and app.  

The winners of the Round Two ties will then be joined in Round Three by 22 semi-professional clubs from the Championship and League 1, with those fixtures taking place over the weekend of February 10 and 11.

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