We’re still only just in December but the rugby league calendar doesn’t stop and we’ve now seen the first and second round draws for the 2024 Challenge Cup.
The draw was made on BBC Radio Manchester with last year’s winner and multiple time champion Josh Charnley doing the draw and he’s helped picked out 20 community clubs for the first round.
Charnley and Leigh’s victory earlier this year was an incredible story for the ages with the club lifting the trophy for the first time since 1971 in what owner Derek Beaumont described as a moment of ‘serendipity’. Most others would just describe it as a thriller, the game going to golden point with Lachlan Lam slotting the game winning drop goal to break Hull KR hearts.
It was widely celebrated by the neutral that the cup final last year saw two of the none traditional ‘big teams’, with the magic of the cup being all about how the smaller teams fare.
That’s what makes these early round draws so special with the community clubs getting their chance to shine, potentially even on TV as well.
The Round One draw has put together the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, whilst the British Army will travel to face Fryston Warriors.
Round 1 draw (ties to be played on the weekend of 13/14 January)
– Fryston Warriors v British Army
– Lowca v Edinburgh Eagles
– South Wales Jets v Stanningley
– Royal Air Force v Royal Navy
– Doncaster Toll Bar v Ashton Bears
– Orrell St James v Haresfinch
– Clock Face Miners v Heworth
– Oulton Raiders v West Bowling
– Hammersmith Hills Hoists v Medway Dragons
– Wests Warriors v Newsome Panthers
As for round two the winners of the above ties will join ten clubs from the National Conference League, with the games set to be played a fortnight after the first round.
Round 2 draw (ties to be played on the weekend of 27/28 January)
– Orrell St James or Haresfinch v York Acorn
– Royal Air Force or Royal Navy v Thatto Heath Crusaders
– Leigh Miners Rangers v South Wales Jets or Stanningley
– Fryston Warriors or British Army v Hunslet ARLFC
– Doncaster Toll Bar or Ashton Bears v West Hull
– Clock Face Miners or Heworth v Siddal
– Wests Warriors or Newsome Panthers v Rochdale Mayfield
– Hammersmith Hills Hoists or Medway Dragons v Oulton Raiders or West Bowling
– Lock Lane v Lowca or Edinburgh Eagles
– Hull Dockers v Wath Brow Hornets
Broadcast coverage was also confirmed by the RFL, stating: “BBC Sport will select one tie from each of the rounds, which will be streamed live on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and app.”