Tetley's Challenge Cup takes centre stage in Cumbria
The Tetley’s Challenge Cup second round has served up a mouth-watering tie as Cumbrian clubs Walney Central and Egremont Rangers battle for bragging rights and the possibility of playing professional opposition in the competition’s third round.
After their 650-mile-round trip to Portsmouth, where they overcame the Royal Navy in the first round, Walney have been rewarded with a home tie against Cumbrian counterparts Egremont, which will be played at Central Drive, Barrow on Saturday (2.00pm).
Walney chairman John Morrow is relishing the tie, especially after the difficulties his club faced in making their way down to the south coast – the costs for which were funded by the club’s own players, and assistance from the RFL.
“It is always a special occasion when you have the prospect of a Cumbrian derby,” said Morrow. “Egremont are a couple of leagues above us so we will go into the game as underdogs, but we have a great chance.
“Originally we thought we had the cost of the trip to Plymouth covered but the price was a little higher than we were expecting so it came as a great relief that the governing body were able to keep us in the competition.
“Over the off-season we managed to sign ex-pros Chris Larkin and Liam Finch whose presence gives the team a massive boost – our only worry now is the weather.
“If it holds then we can get some much needed training done, because up until now it has mainly been cardio training for the players. But the local nature of the game is keeping their intensity sky high.”
Egremont appointed ex-Workington Town captain Colin Armstrong as their manager just last week and, despite his quick introduction, the 51-year-old is confident of success.
“The players are in great spirits,” said Armstrong. “Obviously it is a tricky time to be taking over at a new club so close to the start of the season but our assistant coach Rob Purdham has done a fantastic job to get the players ready for the upcoming season.
“Everyone dreams of getting through to the latter stages of the tournament and you never know what can happen.
“It is an honour to be involved with such a historic competition and the players are looking forward to getting their teeth into it.
“We could win and get a nice third round draw, and end up facing a Super League club in the fourth round. That is the ideal scenario because the financial gain it offers is unbelievable.
“With it being one of our closest derbies the fans are naturally getting very excited. They will be down in numbers showing us their fantastic support.”
Tickets for the 2014 Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 23 cost from as little as £22 and can be purchased by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk.