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Cup Shocking
Posted by southstander on May 05 2011 - 13:34:18

This weekend sees the start of the Superleague teams long road to Wembley as the Challenge Cup, or as it will be called for the rest of the season if we get knocked out 'the Mickey Mouse Cup', welcomes the big boys.

Countless preliminaries and three full rounds have already been played and we are now down to the last thirty-two teams.

With only one all-Superleague encounter it is unlikely that there will be many shocks.

We cast our eyes over the ties....

This weekends cup games are spread over three days with two on friday, three saturday and ten on sunday afternoon. The televised games are; Leeds v. Crusaders (split over BBCs 1 & 2), and Halifax v. Bradford (BBC2).

I've highlighted my 'winners' in red.

Friday 6th May

Gateshead v Harlequins RL20.00
Leigh v Catalan Dragons 20.00

Despite a long journey the Quins should easily see off Co-operative Championship 1 (CC1) bottom side Gateshead, probably by an absolute landslide margin. The home side are leaking an average of 50 points a game against their peers. Leigh, on the other hand, should give another side earning plenty of air-miles rather a more difficult game. The home side is currently top of the Co-operative Championship (CC) and altough it will be a close one the Dragons should have enough in the tanks.

Saturday 7th May

Featherstone v FC Lezignan-Corbieres 18.30
Hull v Oldham 13.00
Leeds v Crusaders 15.15 - BBC1/2
St Helens v Sheffield 15.00

CC's second place side Featherstone should have the players and experience to beat the French side and Hull FC will be more than a match for a side two divisions below them giving Agar chance to lick his wounds after his monster fine this week. Expect him to keep his mouth shut at the end of the game, howevere badley the referee performs.

It goes without saying that we should beat the Crusaders and Sheffield are unlikely to spring such a surprise as they did at Wembley in 1998 by beating the Saints.

Four Superleague sides through already and just the Crusaders to fall at the first hurdle.

Sunday 8th May

Batley v Huddersfield 15.00
Dewsbury v Swinton 15.00
Doncaster v Wakefield 15.00
Halifax v Bradford 15.15 - BBC2
Hunslet v Salford 15.00
London Skolars v Widnes 15.00
Rochdale v Castleford 15.00
Warrington v Keighley 15.00
Wigan v Barrow 15.00
York v Hull K R 15.00

The concentration of fixtures comes on sunday afternoon and looking down the list I think that it is unlikely that there will be many/any upsets.

The Giants, Wakefield, Bradford and Hull KR will all win their local derbies against more lowly opposition, the only outside chance of an upset is in the televised game at the New Shay, but it is highly unlikely. I fancy Swinton to cause a mini upset by beating Dewsbury from the league above, but the shocks will stop there.

Salford, Castleford, Warrington and Wigan will all their games with ease and 2012 Superleague franchise hopefulls Widnes will cruise past London Skolars.

The main excitement of the weekend is that this is the start of the Challenge Cup but I reckon that there will be little on-field shocks or giant-killings that the cup is famed for.

Hopefully round five will bring more interest, and hopefully we'll still be in it.

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