RFL launch revamped cup

The RFL have confirmed the 1895 Cup will be revamped 1895 Cup, with three community sides entering.

The competition was launched last year to give clubs outside of the Super League a chance to play at Wembley Stadium.

NCL Premier Division champions West Hull, NCL Division One runners-up York Acorn and Underbank Rangers, the story of the year so far in the Challenge Cup, will all enter this year.

Both the second round and the quarter finals will be played in midweek.

The final will now also take place before the Challenge Cup Final this year. Last year it was after and it saw a dramatically reduced attendance.

Mark Foster, the Chief Commercial Officer of the Rugby Football League, said: “We’ve been delighted by the positive reaction to the announcement of the new kick-off time for the Final of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup at Wembley Stadium on July 18.

“The competition was introduced last year to give non-Super League clubs a second chance to earn a trip to Wembley, and it’s great to see three Community clubs who have already made a big impact in the Coral Challenge Cup this season – Underbank Rangers, West Hull and York Acorn – getting involved.

“Sheffield Eagles and Widnes Vikings were the first two clubs to earn a trip to Wembley last year, and you only had to watch their semi final victories over Batley and Leigh respectively, or the memorable quarter final performances produced by Barrow, Doncaster and York, to see that the competition had gripped the imagination of players, coaches and supporters.

“We’ll again be showing a game from each round on Our League, as well as both Semi Finals.

“We appreciate that playing the Second Round and the Quarter Finals in midweek is challenging, especially for players. But before introducing this new competition last year we discussed all options with the Clubs and it was agreed that it would be unavoidable given the demands of our other competitions. We hope the players and supporters feel that it’s worthwhile for the chance of a trip to Wembley.”

Full schedule is below:

First Round (draw March 18, ties to be played on weekend of April 18-19): Barrow Raiders, Doncaster, Keighley Cougars, Newcastle Thunder, Rochdale Hornets, Underbank Rangers, West Hull, York Acorn.

Second Round (draw March 18, ties to be played week starting April 27): Four First Round winners plus Batley Bulldogs, Bradford Bulls, Dewsbury Rams, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax, Leigh Centurions, Oldham, Sheffield Eagles, Swinton Lions, Whitehaven, Widnes Vikings, York City Knights.

Quarter Finals: Week starting May 11.

Semi Finals: Sunday June 7.

Final: Saturday July 18, Wembley Stadium (Midday kick-off).

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