Challenge Cup Third Round Preview

Jacob Kilbride

The League One teams enter the Challenge Cup this weekend in the third round. There are 13 ties taking place, including four all League One affairs.

Game to watch: Whitehaven RLFC vs London Skolars

In one of three all League 1 ties, Whitehaven host London Skolars on Saturday night as the hosts aim for another strong run in the competition.

Last season, Haven earned a spot in the fifth round of the Challenge Cup for the first time in almost a decade before suffering a 12-36 home defeat to Halifax in April.

The Cumbrian side came agonisingly close to promotion the Championship side in 2017, but suffered a narrow 10-6 loss at Barrow Raiders in the League 1 play-off final.

After opening the new season with a 0-14 defeat to Oldham, Whitehaven will be out to kick-start their 2018 campaign with a victory over capital club London Skolars.

Meanwhile, London enjoyed a strong finish to the 2017 season and will be looking to pick up from where they left off at the Recreation Ground.

The Skolars won six of their last seven matches in the League 1 Shield however couldn’t maintain their form in the final as they lost by 20 points to Hunslet.

Both sides will fancy their chances of earning a spot in the fourth round, hopefully producing a enthralling game.

Player to watch: Hakim Miloudi (Doncaster RLFC)

“Talented but erratic” was how a Hull Daily Mail headline described Hakim Miloudi last month.

Well, Miloudi certainly showed the former of those two labels last week as the versatile back came off the bench to score a record 32 points for Doncaster against Coventry last week.

The Frenchman, who currently on dual registration from Hull FC, bagged four tries and knocked over  eight goals, continuing his form with Doncaster from last season.

Miloudi scored twice and won the LoveRugbyLeague Man-of-the-Match award on four occasions during his five matches for the Dons in 2017.

Doncaster host National Conference League side Myton Warriors this Sunday afternoon, so expect to see plenty more points-scoring from Miloudi.

Coach to watch: John Kear (Bradford Bulls)

John Kear returns to coach in the Challenge Cup third round for the first time since 2014 as Bradford Bulls host West Wales Raiders on Sunday.

Bradford begun their League 1 campaign with a dramatic 22-20 victory over York City Knights as Joe Keyes’ penalty on the hooter sealing victory.

The Bulls are heavy favourites to seal an immediate return to the Championship and Kear will be eager to test themselves against second-tier opposition in the next round by they can overcoming West Wales.

Team to watch: York City Knights

York City Knights travel to Cumbria this weekend hoping to avoid a potential upset as they face sixth-tier side Askam ARLFC.

Askam, who compete in Division Two of the National Conference League, progressed to the third-round stage of the competition after a surprise 16-4 home win over West Hull, who sit two tiers ahead of them.

York will be eager for a repeat of last year’s run in the Challenge Cup after they reached the fifth round following a 26-20 win over Championship outfit Rochdale Hornets.

A last-minute 40-yard penalty from Joe Keyes was all that separated York and Bradford last weekend and the Knights will be eager for their first win of the season against the Cumbrian minnows.

Full list of matches

Saturday 24th February

Kells vs British Army (2pm)

Normanton Knights vs Batley Boys (2pm)

Askam vs York City Knights (2:30pm)

Hunslet Parkside vs Workington Town (2:30pm)

Pilkington Recs vs Millom (2:30pm)

Whitehaven vs London Skolars (6pm)

Sunday 25th February

Hemel Stags vs Newcastle (2pm)

North Wales Crusaders vs Keighley (2:30pm)

Bradford Bulls vs West Wales Raiders (3pm)

Coventry Bears vs Distington (3pm)

Doncaster vs Myton Warriors (3pm)

Hunslet RLFC vs Oulton Raiders (3pm)

Oldham vs Featherstone Lions (3pm)