Rugby League: Widnes next on Leeds' list

RUGBY LEAGUE ROUND-UP
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The Independent Online
LEEDS AND London have got the ties that Super League clubs wanted by coming out the velvet bag with teams from the Northern Ford Premiership for the quarter-finals of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup.

Leeds will go to Widnes while London have an even more favourable tie, at home to Whitehaven. "We can't be unhappy if we draw a First Division side," said the Leeds captain, Iestyn Harris. After tough tasks against Wigan and St Helens it was, he admitted, what Leeds had wanted.

They reached the quarter- finals thanks to a 24-16 victory over Saints on Saturday, with their scrum-half Ryan Sheridan continuing to stamp his personality on this year's competition.

Sheridan was man of the match in the memorable victory over Wigan in the last round and repeated the feat against Saints, scoring one try and setting up the other for his team.

The deciding factor in the match, however, was St Helens' inability to stop conceding penalties, something for which their coach, Ellery Hanley, roundly criticised them.

Warrington's reward for beating Halifax is a quarter-final at Bradford, which will mark the return to Odsal for their charismatic new chief executive, Peter Deakin, the man largely responsible for starting the Bulls' bandwagon rolling when he was marketing chief there. "It will be a great day out for us," he said, but his coach Darryl van de Velde admitted: "We could have done with an easier draw."

Yesterday Bradford Bulls marched into the last eight of the competition - but only after a below-par victory in atrocious conditions at Wakefield.

The Bulls, Wembley losers in 1996 and 1997, battled past the Super League newcomers 26-8 - but their coach, Matthew Elliott, was far from satisfied. "I thought it was an ugly game in ugly conditions," he said.

Henry Paul scored his first competitive try for his new club, but had to leave the field early in the second half with an ankle injury.

Stuart Fielden, Steve McNamara and James Lowes also scored tries for the Bulls.

QUARTER-FINAL DRAW

London v Whitehaven

Castleford v Salford

Widnes v Leeds

Bradford v Warrington

Ties to be played 13 or 14 March. The BBC will screen Castleford v Salford (3pm) on 13 March and Bradford v Warrington (2.30pm) on 14 March.

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