Calderdale’s amateurs back on Challenge Cup trail

editorial image

Calderdale’s top amateur sides return to the Challenge Cup this weekend, with Siddal and Ovenden both in second round action.

NCL Premier Division Siddal, winners over St Helens outfit Clock Face in round one, undertake a potentially tricky to Cumbria to play Millom, who play in Division Two of the Conference.

And Ovenden, who mounted a 12-man comeback against visitors Woolston in the first round, have home advantage again when they welcome Bradford outfit West Bowling.

Siddal’s joint coach Gareth English, who shares the Chevinedge coaching with the club’s former full back Darren Phillips, recognised the tie’s banana skin potential.

“It could be a tricky one, they are never easy games up in Cumbria,” he said.

“It’s definitely one we want to win though.

“These games are ideal preparation for our league season, but it would be a good day out for the club to get a semi-pro club in the next couple of rounds.

“For some of the older boys it might be their last chance and for the young lads it would be the first opportunity to play in a game like that, so we’re definitely motivated.”

Siddal’s chances are boosted by the return from suspension of former Halifax full back Freddie Walker and hooker Shaun McCormack.

For Ovenden, undergoing something of a resurgence under the coaching of Hull and England star Jake Connor, the benefits of playing at Four Fields could again prove crucial according to assistant coach Steve Taylor.

“The home draw is massive for us,” said Taylor.

“It’s an advantage on the field because we know how to play the pitch, and it’s a big deal off it as well in terms of getting some money into the club.

“We just want to go as far as we can in the competition, it’s important for us this year.”

Ovenden will have veteran playmaker Anthony Irvine, who was dismissed against Woolston with half an hour remaining, available after he was given a sending off sufficient verdict but have a doubt over back rower Nathan Smith, who has a back injury.

But Dean Robertshaw should return for the home side.