Royal Navy planning Challenge Cup revenge at Skirlaugh

The Royal Navy are the only remaining Armed Forces team left in this year’s Challenge Cup competition.

That alone would normally be a powerful motivating factor for the team, but their forthcoming trip to Hull side Skirlaugh in the second round of the Cup this Saturday also has some extra spice.

The Navy were knocked out of the 2013 Challenge Cup by Skirlaugh, and will be using the memory of that previous trip to East Yorkshire to help fire them on.

“We are feeling really strong at the moment, the support of all the units and the establishment of the Navy has been fantastic, we are really growing Rugby League in the Forces,” said Navy coach Steve Lockton.

“We’ve got lads travelling from all over the country, from Scotland to Plymouth for this one game, it’s really exciting.

“There is a big rivalry between us and the other Forces teams and it’s great to be the team that got through.

“It’s a lot of pressure to achieve but we want to get the message out that come September when we start our Inter Services competition, we’ll be ready for them.

“We play knock-out rugby every week so this is normal for us, we are rally determined to show the Navy hierarchy how strong this sport is and we want to be on par with the rugby union lads.

“Three or four years ago we got through to playing Hunslet and we were winning until the 68th minute. We have worked hard in youth development since then and have a fresh young team.

“It would be great for the lads to take on some of the big guns, it’s what they dream of.

“I’m a Hull lad and so are some of the others. We played Skirlaugh about two years ago and fell short but we’ve made a lot of changes since then.

“We talk about the Challenge Cup at length. I remember watching the likes of Martin Offiah and Ellery Hanley play when I was younger. It’s an honour to be a part of the Challenge Cup.”

Skirlaugh coach Colin Brown is also anticipating a memorable contest between the teams. Skirlaugh knocked out Scotland‘s Aberdeen Warriors in a close game in the first round.

“The bad weather has stopped us from training a few times but we’ve been going well and the lads are really up for this game,” he said.

“It would be a great experience for us to go through to the third round. We watch some of those guys on the telly and we know that they would be stronger and quicker than us but the experience would be worth it.

“It would be a day out for us potentially at a semi-professional club, it would be fantastic.

“I have fond memories of going to the Challenge Cup final, it’s a fantastic tournament.

“We played the Navy about two years ago and they are everything you would expect from armed forces lads, they were a big outfit with a strong mentality, it will be a really tough game.”

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