Two-time Carnegie Challenge Cup winner Richie Mathers is dreaming of a Wembley hat-trick as Castleford Tigers prepare to face derby rivals Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in Saturday’s televised fifth round tie at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium (2.30pm).
Mathers lifted the prestigious trophy in both 2009 and 2010 when playing for Warrington Wolves and the full-back, who hasn’t lost a Cup tie in three years, is hoping he can continue his Challenge Cup winning streak with his new club as they bid for a place in the last eight of Rugby League’s oldest and most prestigious knockout competition.
“I’m really looking forward to the game,” said Mathers. “It’s a derby game so we know the emotions will be high. We’ve already played them twice this season and we know that there is no second chance in the Cup.
“I’ve been lucky enough to win the Challenge Cup and it would be amazing for me to make it to Wembley again and to do it with Castleford would be even more special. Once you’ve had a taste of the atmosphere and the success, it’s something that you want to repeat again and again.
“It would be great to relive that experience but not just for me personally. It would mean so much to this town and the supporters because they are very passionate about the game and they deserve some success.
“When you look at it, there are only three games between now and then and in that context anyone is capable of winning with a few good performances, so there’s no reason why we couldn’t go all the way.”
The last meeting between the sides in the league saw the Wildcats take the spoils in a close fought 28-24 contest which signalled the start of a slump in form for the Tigers, but Mathers insists recent results will have no bearing this weekend.
“We lost to them recently in the league but the Cup is a completely different competition and we have to take it on its own merit,” he said. “We need to prepare well and train well all week and then we need to put the performance together on the pitch.
“We had a very tough Easter period and on the back of that we suffered two heavy defeats but we were guilty of not sticking to the things that had been working for us earlier in the season and we just need to stick together and keep working and the performances will come back.
“The players don’t need any extra focus or motivation for the game. As a player you’re mindful that there is no tomorrow if you lose and you know that when that whistle blows, you have to perform or else the cup run will come to a swift end.”
Tickets for the Carnegie Challenge Cup fifth round tie, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Castleford Tigers at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Saturday May 21 (2.30pm) are priced from £15 Adult, £10 concession and £5 juniors and are available by calling 01924 211611.
Tickets for the 2011 Carnegie Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 27 costs from £21 to £76 and are selling fast. Last year’s final was a sell-out and fans are advised to move quickly to secure their seat at the historic showpiece final. To book tickets call 0844 856 1113 or visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk
For more information about the Carnegie Challenge Cup visit www.carnegiechallengecup.co.uk