Fax: Northern Rail Cup still on the agenda for next season

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Halifax’s joint chief executive Ian Croad has said that Championship clubs have not given up hope of the Northern Rail Cup running in 2014.

Weeks of speculation about the future of the competition culminated in a Rugby Football League Press release late last week saying the NRC was ‘under review’ and strongly hinting that next year’s edition would be cancelled.

But Croad told Courier Sport that the door had not yet been closed.

“Northern Rail want to stay with the rugby league family,” he said, explaining the uncertainty related to a gap in funding rather than the loss of the sponsor.

“It’s about making the competition financially viable for everyone concerned.

“Discussions are ongoing over that and hopefully those will bear fruit in the next few weeks.

“The clubs obviously want it to continue; I don’t think there’s much doubt that last year’s format, with the Championship clubs coming in at the knockout stage, was the best there’s been and we want to continue with that.

“But the figures have to stack up first.”

Halifax were beaten NRC finalists in 2011, losing to Leigh, but won the competition in 2012 when they edged out Featherstone.

The Shay hosted this year’s final, with Leigh emerging victorious against Sheffield Eagles.