Up for the Cup: Fourth Round

The Powergen Challenge Cup fourth round saw the news that the road to Wembley would be re-routed across London to become the road to Twickenham. It also saw the entrance into the competition of the twelve engage Super League sides, with three of them biting the dust.

The tie of the round came on Saturday afternoon, as cup holders Hull FC clashed with World and Super League champions Bradford Bulls. This was a game played on an atrocious pitch at Odsal, with a surprisingly entertaining game ensuing. Both sides were evenly matched to begin with, with the Bulls leading just 8-6 at the break. However, Bradford had just too much and won the game 23-12.

Wigan Warriors got back to winning ways with a 32-22 victory over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, but were made to fight all the way. Indeed, the Wildcats lead 22-12 at the break, before Wigan rediscovered their form, scoring twenty unanswered points in the second half.

The upset of the round came at the Halton Stadium, where relegated Widnes Vikings showed their mettle against promoted Castleford Tigers. The Tigers had rested five players, but still should have been good enough to defeat the Vikings. Widnes' defensive efforts were outstanding, and their 14-4 win was well deserved.

Barrow Raiders also caused an upset when they took on Oldham at Craven Park. The Raiders, relegated from NL1 last season, held an 18-2 lead at the interval, and did not relent afterwards, smashing the Roughyeds 40-8.

Thornhill Trojans made their way into the fourth round with a shock win over Workington Town, and their reward was a trip to Perpignan to face Les Catalans Dragons. However the Trojans could not repeat the upset, with the Catalan side winning 66-0.

The other engage Super League sides made good their passage to the fifth round. Leeds Rhinos defeated Leigh Centurions at Hilton Park, but did not have it easy. After one-sided wins in Super league last season, Leigh can afford to be pleased at the relatively narrow 36-12 loss.

Harlequins welcomed last season's surprise package Toulouse to the Twickenham Stoop, in what could have been a close-fought game. But there would be no repeat for the French, as Quins ran out 40-8 winners.

Doncaster Lakers took on St Helens at Knowsley Road on Friday night, and did themselves credit in a 56-6 loss. Huddersfield Giants also faced NL1 opposition in the shape of  Halifax at Galpharm Stadium in what was a notable local derby, winning 40-8.

Salford City Reds faced off with NL2 promotion chasers Dewsbury Rams, running out 32-4 winners. However, the result was not an embarrassment for the Rams. The same goes for London Skolars, who were defeated 52-0 by Warrington Wolves at the Haliwell Jones Stadium.  

Swinton Lions pushed NL1 newcomers York City Knights all the way, the scores level at 6-6 after the first forty minutes. In the end the Knights were able to pull off a narrow 20-18 win. Whitehaven were also made to work hard in their 28-16 win over Batley Bulldogs.

Hull Kingston Rovers were not troubled by Hunslet Hawks at South Leeds Stadium, but their 22-0 win was not as emphatic as some others. Keighley Cougars must have been quite disappointed as they lost out 44-10 to Featherstone Rovers at Post Office Road.

New Welsh side Celtic Crusaders suffered defeat away at Rochdale Hornets, when many were predicting an upset at Spotland. The Hornets were just too good for the NL2 side, but the Crusaders may have their own back when the two sides meet at Brewery Field in the Northern Rail Cup.

The draw for the fifth round of the cup comes on Tuesday, and the seven remaining National League sides will be hoping for a lucrative tie with Super League opposition, and maybe the chance of a famous cup upset.

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