The Challenge Cip Round One draw happened earlier in the month and it saw the draw made at Wembley under the iconic arch in recognition of the final relocating to it’s spiritual home this season.
Both the men’s first and second round draws were made whilst the women’s competition saw the teams split into their respective pots.
Plenty of new names or forgotten names also featured with the likes of Doncaster Toll Bar making a first appearance in the 127-year-old competition and then also Dublin City Exiles becoming the first Irish team to feature for 20 years.
Today has seen confirmation of the television coverage for round one and the BBC are set to treat us to a game outside of the heartlands with Edinburgh set to play, the first time the broadcasting company have shown a cup game from Scotland in their long history.
The news was announced via the Challenge Cup’s Twitter account with a link to the RFL website.
📺 @BBCSport will break new ground when the 2023 @Betfred #ChallengeCup kicks off next month, after selecting the First Round tie between @EdinEaglesRL and @SaddRangers for coverage on @BBCiPlayer and online…
— Betfred Challenge Cup (@TheChallengeCup) January 27, 2023
The game in question will see Edinburgh Eagles host Saddleworth Rangers on February 11th for a lunchtime kick-off at 1.15pm.
A statement on the RFL site explained the historic nature of the televised tie that will be shown on BBC iPlayer.
“BBC Sport will break new ground when the 2023 Betfred Challenge Cup kicks off next month, after selecting the First Round tie between Edinburgh Eagles and Saddleworth Rangers for coverage on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online on Saturday February 11 (115pm kick-off).
“It will be the first time the BBC have shown a tie from Scotland since the unique coverage of the early rounds of the Challenge Cup was launched seven seasons ago.
“The Eagles have been the dominant club in Scottish Rugby League since they were founded in 1998, and play their home matches at Edinburgh’s Royal High School, one of the oldest schools in Europe dating back to at least the 12th century, and whose former pupils include Sir Walter Scott, Alexander Graham Bell and Ronnie Corbett.
“Saddleworth Rangers are one of the strongest community clubs in Rugby League’s traditional heartlands, based just on the Red Rose side of the Lancashire-Yorkshire border in the hills and moors above Oldham.”
It just so happens that Saddleworth have produced the son of one of the competition’s legendary winners with Jack Sinfield, son of Kevin, having made his way in the game coming through the Rangers ranks.
The RFL also confirmed in their statement that the BBC will continue to provide coverage of the first five rounds with one tie from each round selected, and then from round six onwards Super League clubs will join the pot as teams fight for their spot at Wembley on August 12th.
The final will be a double-header of both the men and women playing at the national stadium and the run to the final commences with the round one games with all bar two being played on Saturday February 11th.
Sunday 12th will see Heworth host Oulton Rangers and Myton Warriors travel to Jarrow Vikings.
A link to the first round fixtures can be found here.