Round five of the Challenge Cup gets underway tonight with some bumper matchups on show as well as the potential for some major upsets.
Four fixtures are spread across the weekend with two match-ups available to watch online as well.
Of the eight teams, all but one hail from the Championship with League One Dewsbury Rams being the lone side not playing in rugby’s second tier. In round four they sprung the upset on Widnes with a hugely impressive 32-12 victory at home.
Victory in this round doesn’t just mean putting their name in the hat for round six but it also means teams get one step closer to Wembley and the prospect of playing in the 1895 Cup final, of which Leigh are the reigning holders.
Friday 21st April
York Knights vs Newcastle Thunder
Prediction: York 30-12 Newcastle
The home side have struggled in the league of late as they’ve lost their last four however their win over Sheffield in round four of the cup was hugely impressive. They invite a side whose form is even worse in Newcastle with Thunder rooted to the bottom of the Championship and without a league win since opening day. Newcastle’s progression so far has been on account of facing amateur sides and their luck will likely run out tonight at the LNER against Andrew Henderson’s men.
Saturday 22nd April
Halifax Panthers vs Bradford Bulls
TV Coverage: BBC iPlayer
Prediction: Halifax 20-16 Bradford
Saturday sees one of the broadcast fixtures and it’s live from the Shay with Halifax hosting West Yorkshire rivals Bradford. The two sides have just met recently in the league with the Bulls coming out on top 26-22 in a close game. Since then Lachlan Walmsley’s fitness has improved for Fax and crucially Bradford don’t have their loanees and dual registration recruits from Leeds Rhinos. The home side will want to avenge their league loss and this is the perfect game for it.
Sunday 23rd April
Batley Bulldogs vs Keighley Cougars
TV Coverage: Sportsman Rugby League Youtube channel
Prediction: Batley 18-23 Keighley
This is the second meeting of these sides this season with Batley running out narrow winners in the first meeting by a score of 28-23. Since then both sides have lost twice and won their remaining games however this game could be a reversal of results. Keighley have clicked in the past few weeks and the experience of players like Luke Gale and Dane Chisholm in a cup tie will be invaluable. Batley have impressed of late but in part due to the loan deal of full-back Luke Hooley, however the Leeds man won’t be available for them this week as confirmed by Rohan Smith and that could be the difference.
London Broncos vs Dewsbury Rams
Prediction: London 24-20 Dewsbury
There might not be the fairy-tale cup upset that fans will be wishing for this weekend. It’s certainly not ruled out and had the game been at Dewsbury then it would be a completely different matter but for the League One team to travel to London and get the win could be a stretch too far. Dewsbury haven’t tasted defeat this season and London have conceded 92 in their last two, but the Broncos dispatched of high-flying League One side Doncaster last round and they can do the same to Dewsbury on Sunday.