Rugby League: Wigan set Hull challenge

Click to follow
WIGAN, the winners of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup for the last five years, will meet the one team to beat them at Central Park this season in a preliminary round tie that neither party wanted. Hull won 14-13 in the First Division in September, Wigan's last defeat in any competition.

'They were too good for us on the day,' the Wigan coach, John Monie, said. 'We had a couple of players in from the reserves, made a few mistakes in our own 22 and missed a kick that would have won us the game. Hull played mistake- free rugby that day and deserved to win, but we learned a few things.'

This is likely to be the last year in which First Division clubs play in the preliminary round of the Challenge Cup. 'It has been a terrible system,' Monie said.

His counterpart at Hull, Royce Simmons, was in full agreement. 'It's stupid to have two teams like us meeting in the preliminary round. The administrators are changing the rules, but they are 10 years too late,' he said. 'If you are going to win the cup, you are going to have to play Wigan at some stage. I would just rather it wasn't in the preliminary round.'

The winners are at Dewsbury in the first round proper. Widnes, at home to Swinton, are the other First Division club involved in the preliminary round on 17 January.

The first-round draw has produced three all-First Division ties - Warrington v Castleford, Salford v Wakefield and Sheffield v Leigh. Featherstone, beaten by St Helens in the second round of the Regal Trophy, face the same opposition at Post Office Road. 'We proved to ourselves when we played them that we are capable of beating them,' the Featherstone coach, Steve Martin, said.

SILK CUT CHALLENGE CUP DRAW: Preliminary round: Wigan v Hull; Batley v Blackpool; Widnes v Swinton (ties to be played 17 Jan). First round: Dewsbury v Wigan or Hull; Warrington v Castleford; Leeds v Barrow; Huddersfield v Nottingham City; Featherstone Rovers v St Helens; Chorley Borough v Batley or Blackpool; Hunslet v Ryedale-York; Salford v Wakefield Trinity; Halifax v Carlisle; Rochdale Hornets v Doncaster; Bradford Northern v Workington Town; Whitehaven v Widnes or Swinton; Hull KR v Bramley; Sheffield Eagles v Leigh; Oldham v London Crusaders; Keighley v Highfield (ties to be played 30 or 31 Jan).