12th December 2017, 20:04
Trip to Leeds for Valley Cougars in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup
Valley Cougars are facing a tough draw in the first round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup after they were given an away tie at Hunslet Club Parkside from Leeds when the draw was made on BBC Online.
It’s the third season in a row that a Welsh club has been drawn away in round one and this is arguably one the most difficult ties that the Welsh Champions could have had. Their opponents won the 2017 Challenge Trophy, the knockout competition for community clubs in the UK, beating Wigan St Patricks 22-0 in the Final.
The Cougars qualified for the Challenge Cup first round after winning the 2017 Welsh Premier League Grand Final, beating Torfaen Tigers 32-18 in Cardiff in August.
Valley Cougars coach Dafydd Hellard said: “I think any fixture in the Challenge Cup was going to be a tough one.
“We were hoping for a home game in the draw but we’ve got a pretty long trip up to Leeds to look forward to.
“I think Hunslet Parkside will be a tough opposition they've had a great couple of years being promoted as their divisional champions for three years on the bounce and at home they will be tough for anyone to break down.
“We've got a great sense of belief in this squad though and we were looking forward to taking on anyone, we're going into the game full of confidence after finishing our season undefeated and can't wait to get back on the field.
“I think this game will give us the opportunity to measure how far we've come as a side and we're excited to get stuck into them in the new year. I'm sure we'll have a great following for the match as we always do and hopefully we get a full bus of supporters following us up.”
Conducting the draw was former Hull FC captain and back-to-back winner of the Challenge Cup Gareth Ellis, who was picking the home balls. Away teams were drawn by England Assistant Coach and five-time Challenge Cup trophy winner Paul Wellens.
In an all-time first for the Challenge Cup, London Chargers were drawn at home against Hammersmith Hills Hoists in an all-London fixture.
Scottish Champions Strathmore Silverbacks will travel to Cumbria to face Millom in the first round.
West Hull will welcome the first Irish side to enter the Cup since 1998, Longhorns.
The Challenge Cup first-round draw in full…
Leigh Miners Rangers v Myton Warriors
Underbank Rangers v Batley Boys
Kells v British Police
Wallsend Eagles v Pilkington Recs
Rochdale Mayfield v Crosfields
Lock Lane v Hindley
Hunslet Club Parkside v Valley Cougars
London Chargers v Hammersmith Hills Hoists
Royal Air Force v Drighlington
Oulton Raiders v Siddal
Millom v Strathmore Silverbacks
Loughborough University v Bradford Dudley Hill
University of Hull v Hensingham
Orrell St James v Northampton Demons
Royal Navy v Normanton Knights
York Acorn v Askam
Saddleworth Rangers v Thatto Heath Crusaders
Shaw Cross Sharks v Beverley
West Hull v Longhorns RL
East Leeds v Thornhill Trojans
Hunslet Warriors v Wath Brow Hornets
Featherstone Lions v Skirlaugh
British Army v Milford Marlins
Distington v Queens
All matches will be played across 27/28 January 2018.