Rugby League: Council call for county cups to stay

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The Independent Online
THE RUGBY League Council, faced yesterday with far-reaching proposals for re-organising the game, is pressing for the county cups to be retained as mandatory, pre-season competitions.

The council will meet again on 15 December to discuss that and other potential refinements, including the methods of promotion and relegation between the League and the Alliance. A special meeting of clubs on 5 January will make the final decision, but the League's chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, said that 'the Council appeared to give its approval to the plans in principle.'

Qualified support for the idea of the Alliance as a feeder league for the Rugby League has come from the one club trying to use it as a stepping stone, Hemel Hempstead.

Hemel's founder, Bob Brown, said: 'The Alliance is the ideal place for a club like Hemel Hempstead to cut its teeth. The trouble is that there aren't any more Hemel Hempsteads around and the Alliance would not appeal to Tottenham Hotspur, for instance, if they decided they wanted to field a rugby league side.'

The British Amateur Rugby League Association has welcomed one feature of the blueprint - the decision to invite amateur clubs into the Challenge Cup and the Regal Trophy. Despite the year- long dispute between the two bodies, BARLA's national administrator, Maurice Oldroyd, praised the plan as 'a visionary idea'.

Leigh have rejected a bid of pounds 15,000 from Sheffield Eagles for their unsettled utility player, Paul Topping. They have also turned down an exchange deal involving the Eagles' former Great Britain prop, Hugh Waddell.

Sheffield, who are strongly opposed to a proposed reduction of the overseas quota from three to two players per club, are re-signing their three Australians - the former internationals, Garry Jack and Bruce McGuire, plus Paul Carr - for next season.

Carr, signed from Hunslet this summer, could be out of action for the next six weeks following a knee cartilage operation yesterday.

Salford have signed the Orrell rugby union full-back, Gary Tyrer, on a three-year contract. Tyrer, who has played for the North of England Under-21 side, is Orrell's second loss to rugby league in a less than a week, following Martin Strett's decision to join Oldham.

Paul Moriarty has not suffered a recurrence of a shoulder injury as was feared when he was forced off against Wakefield Trinity on Tuesday night. He has rib damage, however, which could keep him out of the Welsh team to play in France in 10 days' time. If he withdraws, Wales will have only the bare minimum of 17 players.

The Great Britain scrum-half, Deryck Fox, who has had twice- daily treatment on a torn stomach muscle, hopes to be fit to return for Bradford Northern in the Regal Trophy at Warrington on Saturday.

Featherstone and Rochdale are discussing a deal which could take the prop forward, Leo Casey, to Hornets in exchange for the transfer-listed centre, Darren Abram.