Rugby League: Rangers handed another big draw

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The Independent Online
EGREMONT RANGERS, the amateurs who reached the last 16 of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup last year, will fancy their chances of making progress again after drawing York in the third round yesterday.

The Cumbrian side beat their professional neighbours, Workington Town, last time, while York have twice gone out to amateurs in recent years.

Other sides who cannot afford to be over-confident include Bramley, who are at home to Leigh Miners Rangers, and Workington, who have to beat the leaders of the National Conference, Skirlaugh from Humberside, if they are to avoid a second ignominious season.

Doncaster, who have been in turmoil during the winter, lost to Featherstone Lions last year and face another potential banana skin in the shape of Oldham St Annes.

The ties, which guarantee home ground advantage to the professional clubs, will be played on the weekend of 30 and 31 January. The 13 participating Super League clubs - Gateshead have decided not to enter the Cup - join the competition in the fourth round.

Last year's Challenge Cup winners, the Sheffield Eagles, have continued their restructuring for the coming season by signing the St Helens utility player, Paul Anderson, at the third attempt. Sheffield are paying pounds 10,000 for the Great Britain Academy international, whose appearances for Saints were mainly as a versatile substitute.

The Eagles' coach, John Kear, believes that Anderson will thrive on a more regular role with Sheffield. "His arrival will compensate in the forwards for some of the key players who have left," he said.

The Hull chief executive, Brian Callam, has criticised the Rugby League tribunal's ruling that they will only receive pounds 25,000 from the Bradford Bulls for another Academy international forward, Lee Radford. Radford played in the second row in both under-19 Tests against France last season and is generally regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in the country. "I thought we would get a lot more for him," said Callam.

Meanwhile, Bradford have re-appointed their New Zealand international, Robbie Paul, as team captain. Paul will now captain his elder brother, Henry, who has been recruited from Wigan, during the coming season.

Another senior professional, Steve McNamara, takes over from the younger Paul as the club captain. He has also been awarded the loose forward's No 13 shirt, superseding Sonny Nickle, who has moved to St Helens as a free agent.

SILK CUT CHALLENGE CUP Third-round draw: Barrow v Dudley Hill; Batley v Castleford Lock Lane; Bramley v Leigh Miners Rangers; Dewsbury v Siddal; Doncaster v Oldham St Annes; Featherstone Rovers v Thornhill; Hemel Stags v Featherstone Lions; Hull KR v Wath Brow Hornets; Hunslet v Townville; Keighley v Rochdale Mayfield; Lancashire Lynx v Askam; Leigh v Norland; Oldham v Eccles; Rochdale v Wigan St Judes; Swinton v Moldgreen; Whitehaven v Saddleworth; Widnes v West Hull; Workington v Skirlaugh; York v Egremont. (Ties to be played on 30 or 31 January).