Rugby League: Ten facts about the Challenge Cup

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The Independent Online
Four amateur teams will be taking part in this weekend's last 32 for the first time for 50 years. It is more than 90 years since two amateur sides made the last 16.

Third-round wins by Featherstone Lions and Ellenborough took the number of victories by non-League clubs over senior opposition since 1904 - the cut-off point for statisticians - to 14.

The 1998 Challenge Cup winners will collect a record pounds 100,000 from sponsors Silk Cut out of a total prize fund of pounds 486,000. Losers this weekend will each pick up a pounds 5,000 cheque.

Sheffield Eagles have the current longest run of 10 successive appearances in the last 16. They have not been beaten at this stage since suffering an 8-6 home defeat to Keighley in 1987.

Lancashire Lynx, founded in 1989, have never appeared in the last 16.

Swinton have gone the longest without reaching the last 16. They last achieved it in 1983 with a 21-13 victory over Doncaster.

Huddersfield hold the record Challenge Cup score with a 119-2 win over the amateur side, Swinton Park, in 1914.

Wigan, 6-4 favourites this year, set a competition record when they went 43 successive matches unbeaten from 1988-96. Shaun Edwards, now with Bradford, was the only man to appear in all 43 ties.

Of the clubs in action this weekend, only Batley, London, Rochdale, Sheffield, Swinton and Whitehaven - in addition to Lancashire Lynx - have never appeared at Wembley.

The semi-finals will be held on successive days this year instead of on separate weekends but, up to 1962, they were always played on the same Saturday.