Preview: Challenge Cup Fourth Round

Jacob Kilbride

during Super League 2018 Season Launch the at John Smith's Stadium on January 25, 2018 in Huddersfield, England.

After a few weeks break, the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup is back with 11 Championship clubs joining at this stage of the competition this weekend.

With two all-Championship ties, amateur sides against full-time opposition and television coverage, there’s plenty to look forward to.

Game to watch: Normanton Knights vs Rochdale Hornets

This week’s game to watch is one that is freely available to watch as Normanton Knights face Rochdale Hornets in front of the BBC Sport cameras on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 2pm).

The match will take place at the LD Nutrition Stadium, the home ground of Featherstone Rovers, and will be streamed live on the BBC Sport website.

BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 27 : Daniel Yates of Rochdale Hornets prepares for a conversion during the Rugby League Summer Bash match between Oldham RLFC and Rochdale Hornets at Bloomfield Road on May 27, 2017 in Blackpool, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Normanton are one of the three amateur sides still remaining in the competition, alongside Kells and Pilkington Recs, having defeated the Royal Navy, Rochdale Mayfield and Batley Boys to progress through the fourth round.

After losing their opening three, opponents Rochdale recorded their first win of the season last weekend as they came from 12-0 down to win 24-12 against Barrow Raiders.

A Hornets victory is widely expected although don’t be surprised to see the Knights make it a competitive tie.

Player to watch: Kieran Dixon (London Broncos)

After five rounds of action in the Betfred Championship, the clear pace setter are the London Broncos.

The Broncos have five wins from as many matches, conceded less points than any other side and only Toulouse, who’ve played a game more, have scored more than their incredible 227 points.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Kieran Dixon (L) of Hull KR celebrates at full-time with team-mate Josh Mantellato following the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Semi-Final match between Warrington Wolves and Hull KR at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium on August 1, 2015 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

One player profiting from their potent attack is winger Kieran Dixon, who enjoyed another prolific afternoon against Batley last week.

Dixon crossed the whitewash four times – and knocked over four goals – in the 68-12 rout over the Bulldogs, taking his season tally of tries up to eight.

The Hull KR star has yet to score outside of the capital this season and he’ll be eager to put that right when London make the long trip up to League 1 side Workington Town on Sunday.

Team to watch: Leigh Centurions

After a torrid start to life back in the Championship, Leigh may have viewed a fourth round Challenge Cup tie as an ideal opportunity to put some much-needed confidence back in their squad.

Last month’s draw certainly didn’t provide that chance though, as Leigh were handed a visit to Batley and Mount Pleasant in one of two all-Championship fixtures this weekend.

LEIGH, GREATER MANCHESTER - FEBRUARY 04: Liam Kay of Toronto Wolfpack in action during the Betfred Championship match between Leigh Centurions and Toronto Wolfpack on February 4, 2018 in Leigh, Greater Manchester. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

The Centurions suffered a fifth defeat of 2018 to Halifax last week – losing 38-18 – and interim coach Kieran Purtell admitted to being “embarrassed” by the club’s current predicament.

Leigh may take confidence from the fact that their only victory this season came against Batley, who come into the game off a heavy 68-12 loss to London.

Of course, fighting for a place in the Qualifiers will be the priority for Leigh, but the weekend’s game provides a chance to them to get back to winning ways this season.

Potential upset of the week: York City Knights vs Swinton Lions

Tipped for a year of struggle by many during the off-season, Swinton are living up to their up expectations.

Five matches have yielded five defeats, with four of those by a margin of 20 points or more.

The Lions face a strong League 1 side York who have enjoyed a good start to 2018, with a 64-6 thrashing of Askam in the last round and a narrow win over recently relegated Oldham last weekend.

York boast the likes of ex Halifax half-back Connor Robinson and former Hull KR back Ben Cockayne in their squad and could well provide the surprise package of the round.

Full list of matches

Friday, March 16

Kells vs Toronto Wolfpack (6:15pm)

Doncaster vs Newcastle Thunder (8pm)

Saturday, March 17

Normanton Knights vs Rochdale Hornets (2pm)

Sunday, March 18

North Wales Crusaders vs Featherstone Rovers (2:30pm)

Barrow Raiders vs Sheffield Eagles (3pm)

Batley Bulldogs vs Leigh Centurions (3pm)

Coventry vs Pilkington Recs (3pm)

Halifax vs Oldham (3pm)

Hunslet vs Bradford Bulls (3pm)

Whitehaven vs Dewsbury Rams (3pm)

Workington Town vs London Broncos (3pm)

York City Knights vs Swinton Lions (3pm)