The 2017 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup kicks off in style this weekend, with the 16 games in question including a local derby, a top clash between two Premier Division sides and the chance for a certain Castleford club to repeat their 2016 cup heroics.
Here’s just why the Ladbrokes News team can’t wait for the action to kick off.
Can Lock Lane repeat the feat?
Castleford-based Lock Lane were the underdog story of 2016’s Challenge Cup, reaching the fifth round after victories over West Bowling, Shaw Cross Sharks, Oxford RLFC and Featherstone Lions – before exiting to Halifax.
This time out they make the short trip to Thornhill Trojans, with head coach Craig Booth looking to repeat the feat in 2017. Can they go on and match last year’s achievements again? Time will tell…
Local pride at stake in home of champions
Hull FC lifted the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup back in August, giving the East Yorkshire city its first champions in this competition since 2005. And while it may be unlikely we’ll see either West Hull or Hull Dockers win the competition this time out, they’re sure to serve up a first round cracker.
The National Conference League pair do battle once again on Saturday, with West Hull looking to build on their 38-6 victory they chalked up against the Dockers in July 2016.
Enjoy it from the stands – or the sofa
While many will be braving the January chill to enjoy the fantastic action live with a hot cuppa, if you’re not able to make it to a first round game, there’s now the chance to enjoy one of the round’s top ties whether you’re at home, on the go or relaxing on your private yacht (you never know who’s reading!).
With the early rounds of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup having provided plenty of drama and excitement in recent years, the BBC are now streaming games from each of the first five rounds on BBC Sport.
That begins with Leigh Miners Welfare v. Wigan St Patrick’s at 13:00 on Saturday. So tune in to this all-Premier Division cracker and enjoy – the Ladbrokes News team will be doing just that.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing