Rochdale Mayfield coach Sam Butterworth says reaching the Challenge Cup fourth round is like a ‘mini final’ for the National Conference League club.
Mayfield are just one of two community clubs left in the Challenge Cup after the third round – the other being Hunslet ARLFC.
Rochdale enjoyed an impressive 38-10 win away at Leigh Miners Rangers on Saturday, booking themselves a place in the hat for the fourth round draw on Wednesday.
“The Challenge Cup is the Challenge Cup for me,” Mayfield coach Sam Butterworth said. “You go as far as you can in the competition.
“We’re hoping for a really good draw. I hope for a really good draw for the club and I know the club are as well.
“With just the hard work to get to this round, it’s like a mini final for us. This is our final getting through to this round and we just need a bit of luck in the draw for the club.
“And then as for it affecting the NCL (fixtures), its all games and minutes for the lads. We are open to getting more to the squad so we can use more players. We’re happy to be in the Challenge Cup and we hope to get to the next round as well.”
The draws for the fourth and fifth Rounds will be held the following Wednesday, March 15, at Millom ARLFC.
Millom are celebrating their 150th anniversary and thought to be the world’s oldest amateur rugby league club.
The 12 Super League clubs do not enter the competition until the sixth round, which is scheduled to be played on the weekend of May 20/21.
The fourth round takes place April 1/2, with the fifth round three weeks later on April 22/23.
Rochdale Mayfield boss delighted with Miners win
Butterworth, who enjoyed spells with Leigh and Rochdale Hornets during his playing career, praised his side’s effort in their third round win at Leigh Miners.
He added: “We came here really confident, we were on a bit of a roll.
“We started off really well and posted points but then we had a flat point 10 minutes in the second half. I think we let them back in and we were coughing up errors and finished in the wrong places.
“We just went a bit flat and then let Leigh back in. They’re always going to come and give it a go out but we did well to withstand it.
“We came back strong in the back end of the first half and took it in to our time. It is always great coming away with the win whenever you are away from home.”
How the Challenge Cup feeds in to the 1895 Cup
The four non-Super League teams that reach the fifth round will be the semi-finalists for this year’s 1895 Cup.
The draw details will be confirmed for that at a later date, but it will be a straight final four with the two winners going in to the final to be played at Wembley on August 12.
There will be three finals at Wembley this year, with the Women’s Challenge Cup final also taking place.
Last season’s 1895 Cup required a play-off round before the semi-finals, due to Toulouse being in Super League and not participating in the Challenge Cup.
Sheffield beat Whitehaven in the play-off round, before losing to Leigh in the semi-finals. In the final, Leigh beat Featherstone, who had seen off Barrow in the semi-finals.
In 2021, as there were no community clubs able to participate in the Challenge Cup due to COVID, the early rounds of the Challenge Cup also doubled up as the early rounds of the 1895 Cup.