Normanton Knights hoping for Challenge Cup run

Sebastian Sternik

Normanton Knights are aiming to make the third round of the Challenge Cup for the fourth time in six years as they face Haydock at the Graveyard.  

In the opening round of the competition, the Knights prevailed against Edinburgh Eagles, despite a first half scare. 

The Scottish outfit were in the lead for the majority of the first half and went into the half-time break with the score level 16-16. 

Normanton managed to find another gear and dominated proceedings in the second half to secure a 50-16 win. 

Knights’ head coach Paul Seal admits he is relieved to have made it through to the second round and believes this upcoming clash with Haydock is another tough encounter. 

He said: “We’re relieved to be through to the second round as we didn’t play particularly well in that opening 40 minutes. I was delighted with win but not so much with that first half performance

“Haydock is another tough tie for us. From what I’ve been researching, they have been coming up and building a very good team for the last two or three years.  

“They got to the fourth round a couple of years ago and last season they got to the final of the National Cup as well so they’re obviously doing something right and we’re expecting another tough tie.”

Haydock became the lowest ever ranked team to make the fourth round of the Challenge Cup in 2017 before eventually losing to Oldham 40-12.  

Back in 2016, Haydock also won the North West Premier League and the Grand Final. The St Helens-based outfit missed out on another major trophy last year when they were beaten in the National Cup final by West Hull. 

Haydock head into this second-round clash with Normanton having beaten Shaw Cross Sharks 28-18 away from home. 

The Knights may have been relegated last season however, they have a stellar record in the Challenge Cup. 

In 2018, they bowed out of the fourth round following a defeat to Rochdale Hornets. In 2015 and 2014, Normanton reached the fourth and third round of the competition, only to be beaten by the likes of Batley Bulldogs and Workington Town.