Hull avoid Cup exile over Thackray

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The Independent Online

Hull have escaped being ejected from the Challenge Cup, despite fielding the ineligible Jamie Thackray in the last two rounds.

The prop played against both Rochdale and Widnes, not having been registered in time for either round.

The Rugby League yesterday described that as “a very serious breach” but ruled that the results would stand. The case will be passed to the League’s compliance commissioner, who has the power to impose a fine on the club.

However heavy that fine, however, Hull will have got off lightly by comparison with clubs in other sports who have been expelled for similar offences.

Hull’s quarter-final at Bradford will now be one of the BBC’s televised ties at the end of the month, but there is a major problem over the other tie they want.

Leeds’ tie at home to Wigan would clash with the Roses cricket at Headingley if it was played on either the Saturday or Sunday and could have to be moved to a neutral venue.

Wigan have signed the Parramatta hooker, Mark Riddell, on a three-year contract, starting next season.

The signing raises doubts over the future of Mickey Higham, who is out of contract at the end of this campaign and was offered to Bradford in exchange for Terry Newton early this year.

“Mark is exactly the type of hooker Wigan need to lead our forwards and further develop young Michael McIlorum,” said the club’s chairman, Ian Lenagan, who finalized the deal in Sydney this week.

Riddell has been granted an early release by Parramatta. “Wigan is the biggest name in world rugby league and it’s a wonderful opportunity for me,” he said.

Hull KR will be without their Australian back-row forward, Ben Galea, for four to six weeks with knee ligament damage.

The old BBC Floodlit Trophy is to be competed for again the August. The trophy, which was the focus of a televised tournament in the 60s and 70s, is to be the prize in the Carnegie Floodlit Nines at Headingley.

Six Super League clubs – Bradford, Huddersfield, Hull, Hull KR, Leeds and Wakefield – will compete, along with the students of Leeds Met, the British Army, Cumbria and a British-based Fijian side.