North Wales Crusaders will be the only Betfred League One club remaining when the draw for the Fifth Round of the Challenge Cup is conducted after the last Fourth Round tie between Leigh Centurions and Widnes Vikings on Monday night.
Anthony Murray’s Crusaders relished a trip across the border on Saturday afternoon with their regular home ground in Colwyn Bay unavailable, beating their League One rivals Hunslet at the home of Caldy RFC on the Wirral.
Of the other League One clubs who had reached the Fourth Round, Doncaster and Rochdale Hornets both suffered home defeats against Cumbrian opposition – with victories for Whitehaven and Barrow Raiders meaning all three Cumbrian clubs will be in the Fifth Round draw, after Chris Thorman’s Workington Town claimed their first win of the season in impressive style at home to Betfred Championship rivals Dewsbury Rams.
Sheffield Eagles, the 1998 Challenge Cup winners at Wembley, withstood a typically spirited and skilful challenge from Hunslet Club Parkside, the only National Conference League team to have reached the Fourth Round, at the South Leeds Stadium – with Ben Jones-Bishop scoring the first of three late tries which secured a 40-20 win for Mark Aston’s Eagles.
The Royal Navy, who had emulated Parkside by winning three ties through January and February to reach the Fourth Round for the first time in their history, suffered a heavier defeat against a slick Batley Bulldogs team who turned on the style for a BBC Sport audience at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium – although they claimed a well-deserved consolation try from James Teixeira in a 66-6 defeat.
Brian McDermott’s Featherstone Rovers and John Kear’s Bradford Bulls had impressive away wins in all-Championship ties at Halifax Panthers and London Broncos respectively, while York City Knights overcame Newcastle Thunder in a tie streamed live by The Sportsman.
The 10th and last place in the Fifth Round draw will be taken by either the 1921 and 1971 Challenge Cup winners Leigh or their local rivals Widnes, who have won the competition seven times from 13 Final appearances – with their tie to be shown live by Premier Sports on Monday Night Rugby League, and the draw to follow.
The five Fifth Round winners will be joined by 11 Betfred Super League clubs in the Sixth Round in March – and will also secure places in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup, the competition which provides a second chance for non-Super League clubs to reach Challenge Cup Final day, this year at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday May 28.
Betfred Challenge Cup Fifth Round draw numbers:
1 Barrow Raiders
2 Batley Bulldogs
3 Bradford Bulls
4 Featherstone Rovers
5 North Wales Crusaders
6 Sheffield Eagles
8 Workington Town
9 York City Knights
10 Leigh Centurions or Widnes Vikings