Challenge Cup gets underway this weekend

The 2011 Carnegie Challenge Cup kicks off this weekend with six Preliminary Round ties taking place across the country including St Albans Centurions taking on the British Police in Hemel Hempstead.

The British Police will be able to draw on the vast experience of their team manager Jon Hamer who capped his professional career with Bradford Bulls by playing against St Helens in the 1996 Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

British Police team manager, Jon Hamer said: “It’s only the second year that the British Police have played in the Challenge Cup and we’re delighted to be involved in this prestigious tournament.

“The squad is comprised of players from police forces all over the country, with representatives from Yorkshire and Lancashire as well as from the Metropolitan Police and Leicestershire Constabulary amongst others.

“Being involved in this flagship competition has a positive impact as regards attracting players to the sport and we were a little disappointed to be knocked out in the Second Round last year.

“We would like to progress further but we are treating St Albans Centurions with the utmost respect having seen some of the very impressive victories they recorded over the summer.”

The captain of the British Police side is stand-off Steve Brown from the Lancashire Police Force, the brother of Huddersfield Giants and England Rugby League half-back Kevin Brown.

Jon Hamer said: “Steve Brown is an integral part of the squad; he’s a stand-off like his brother Kevin and has been a vital cog in our wheel for three years now.”

The winner of this tie will face the Royal Navy in Portsmouth in the Carnegie Challenge Cup First Round later this month.

The Preliminary Round draw has produced a number of other intriguing ties with an all Cumbrian clash between Millom and Egremont Rangers, Oulton Raiders hosting Normanton Knights and Stanley Rangers travelling to Shaw Cross Sharks.

Elsewhere Ovenden host Rochdale Mayfield whilst Eccles and Salford Juniors face Castleford Panthers.

Drighlington, who were due to face the Yorkshire Cup Final winners, have been given a bye to the First Round of the competition because of the continued postponement of the Yorkshire Cup Final.

Due to the postponement of the Lancashire Cup Final the Carnegie Challenge Cup Preliminary Round tie between the Lancashire Cup Winners and Seaton has been put back to Saturday January 15.

Loughborough University v Featherstone Lions and Northampton RL v Gloucestershire University will be played on Sunday January 16 because of University holidays.

Tickets for the Carnegie Challenge Cup Final at Wembley on Saturday August 27 are available by calling 0844 856 1113 or visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk

For more information about the Carnegie Challenge Cup visit www.carnegiechallengecup.co.uk

2011 Carnegie Challenge Cup Preliminary Round ties

Saturday January 8
Oulton Raiders v Normanton Knights KO 1.30pm
Ovenden v Rochdale Mayfield KO 1.30pm
Millom v Egremont Rangers KO 1.30pm
Eccles and Salford Juniors v Castleford Panthers KO 1.30pm
Shaw Cross Sharks v Stanley Rangers KO 1.30pm

Sunday January 9
St Albans Centurions v British Police KO 2.00pm

Saturday January 15
Lancashire Cup Winners v Seaton KO 1.30pm

Sunday January 16
Loughborough University v Featherstone Lions KO 1.30pm
Northampton RL v Gloucestershire University KO 1.30pm