Ladbrokes Challenge Cup: First round draw almost upon us

The first round draw for the 2016 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup is almost upon us with the 40 teams entering the first round of the competition learning their fate on January 7.

Leeds Rhinos record breaker Tom Briscoe – scorer of five tries in this year’s final – will make the draw alongside Lizzie Jones at Wembley Stadium.

The 40 teams in the hat for the first round of the competition may only hold amateur status but the potential for tasty ties remains and after seeing Leigh Miners Rangers go all the way to the fifth round in 2015 the motivation is there for all.

The Rangers had actually lost their first round tie 10-6 against Hull Dockers but with the Dockers found guilty of fielding an ineligible player Leigh were reinstated and went on a run that saw them defeat Walney Central, West Hull and Oxford before losing out York City Knights.

The way the balls fell meant that Leigh had actually been playing for the right to face St Helens in the sixth round at Langtree Park and these are exactly the opportunities that teams in the first round will be hoping come their way this time round.

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The first rounders can’t get too carried away, however, and instead the New Year will see the rugby league community focus on the draw and the potential for some mouth watering ties.

With the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force sides all in the hat there is the potential for an all Armed Forces clash, while Hull University and Northumbria University could potentially play out an academic affair.

With Leeds’ winning captain Kevin Sinfield on the shortlist for Sports Personality of the Year, after steering his side to a 50-0 win over Hull KR at Wembley, there is likely to be increased attention on the competition, starting with the draw early next year.

Challenge Cup first round draw numbers in full:

1 Aberdeen Warriors
2 Blue Bulls
3 Distington
4 East Leeds
5 Egremont Rangers
6 Featherstone Lions
7 Great Britain Police Rugby League
8 Hull Dockers
9 Hull University
10 Hunslet Club Parkside
11 Kells
12 Leigh Miners Rangers
13 Lock Lane
14 London Chargers RL
15 Millom
16 Normanton Knights
17 Northumbria University
18 Nottingham Outlaws
19 Oulton Raiders
20 Pilkington Recs
21 Rochdale Mayfield
22 Royal Air Force
23 Royal Navy
24 Sharlston Rovers
25 Shaw Cross Sharks
26 Siddal
27 Stanningley
28 Thatto Heath Crusaders
29 The Army
30 Thornhill Trojans
31 Underbank Rangers
32 Wath Brow Hornets
33 West Bowling
34 West Hull
35 Widnes West Bank
36 York Acorn

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.