This Betfred Challenge Cup draw feels a little different. The third round of this season’s competition will see a fantastic mix of fixtures which will showcase rugby league’s historic knockout tournament at its very best.
There’s Championship v Championship action as three-time winners Featherstone Rovers – the favourites for promotion to Super League this year – host Halifax Panthers, whose five Challenge Cup wins include a famous 19-18 win over St Helens in 1987.
Also available is the potential for an upset, with London amateur side Wests Warriors playing host to rugby league giants Widnes Vikings, league champions as recently as 1989. And throw in a couple of all-National Conference League match-ups and we have a guarantee of at least two teams from outside the semi-professional ranks making it to the fourth round of this year’s event.
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While Wests v Widnes takes the headlines on first glance, there are other games which could bring a bit of that old magic to the 2023 Challenge Cup. Second-tier Sheffield Eagles head to Siddal in another David v Goliath contest, while Newcastle Thunder face a tricky trip to Stanningley. And while York Acorn will be massive underdogs for their visit to Bradford Bulls, it does give us another outside shot of a giant-killing, as does Batley Bulldogs’ meeting with Wath Brow Hornets and West Bowling’s fixture with York Knights at the LNER Community Stadium.
Beyond Featherstone v Halifax there are further all-Championship clashes as Barrow Raiders welcome Swinton Lions and Whitehaven take the lengthy trip to the capital to meet London Broncos.
Thatto Heath Crusaders are handed the chance to repeat their 2019 heroics when they beat North Wales Crusaders 16-14 in the fourth round with the League 1 outfit again drawn to visit Crusader Park, while Midlands Hurricanes have another trip to NCL opposition having beaten Hull Dockers in round two live on The Sportsman, this time travelling to Orrell St James.
With ties to be played on the weekend of March 11 and 12, there are a whole host of sensational storylines to follow. It really is the Betfred Challenge Cup at its finest.
Barrow Raiders (CHAMP) v Swinton Lions (CHAMP)
Batley Bulldogs (CHAMP) v Wath Brow Hornets (NCL)
Bradford Bulls (CHAMP) v York Acorn (NCL)
Dewsbury Rams (L1) v Rochdale Hornets (L1)
Doncaster (L1) v Workington Town (L1)
Featherstone Rovers (CHAMP) v Halifax Panthers (CHAMP)
Hunslet (L1) v Keighley Cougars (CHAMP)
Leigh Miners Rangers (NCL) v Rochdale Mayfield (NCL)
London Broncos (CHAMP) v Whitehaven (CHAMP)
Orrell St James (NCL) v Midlands Hurricanes (L1)
Siddal (NCL) v Sheffield Eagles (CHAMP)
Stanningley (NCL) v Newcastle Thunder (CHAMP)
Thatto Heath Crusaders (NCL) v North Wales Crusaders (L1)
Westgate Common (NCL) v Hunslet ARLFC (NCL)
Wests Warriors (NCL) v Widnes Vikings (CHAMP)
York Knights (CHAMP) v West Bowling (NCL)
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject to Change