Cats eye quarter-finals in all-Championship tie
By Lewis Firth
Keighley Cougars player-coach Paul March is excited about the proposition of a Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-final but knows his side face a tough test in the form of Swinton Lions when they travel to Leigh Sports Village in the competition’s fifth round on Saturday (3.00pm).
With both teams plying their trading in the Championship, March know just how big the opportunity to reach the quarter-finals of Rugby League’s oldest and most prestigious competition is.
“In the last few years we’ve always come up against Super League opposition in round four,” said March. “So for us to be in round five is obviously a big achievement. If we do get to the quarter-finals, hopefully there will be a massive tie waiting for us.
“But Swinton will be tough, we know that but we’ve got to concentrate on our own game and what we do. If we play well I’m confident we’ll see ourselves in the hat for the quarter-finals.
March’s opposite number – Swinton player-coach Ian Watson – is equally upbeat about the meeting with their Championship rivals.
“It’s a massive game, absolutely huge, not only for the players on a personal note as an experience, but massive for the club as well,” said Watson.
“The prestige of getting to the quarter-finals and possibly getting that big Super League club, as well as the prize money, it’s all huge for the club.”
The 37-year-old says his early memories of the Challenge Cup were as a youngster making his way in the game at Salford, in a year where the now-Red Devils shone in the cup.
“I didn’t get a chance to play in the games but the memories of how big an occasion ending Wigan’s run and playing St Helens in the semi-final were are still with me,” said Watson.
“I was only 18 at the time but it is a special competition. It’s watched throughout the world and when you get to those latter stages you really start to dream and think ‘maybe we could make Wembley’.”
Tickets for the Swinton Lions v Keighley Cougars Tetley’s Challenge Cup fifth round tie at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday (3.00pm) can be purchased from as little as £15 for adults, £10 for concessions and £2 for juniors.
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 856 113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk