Rochdale Hornets will compete in the 1895 Cup this season

Date published: 21 February 2020

The AB Sundecks 1895 Cup returns this season with a new look as three community clubs from the National Conference League Premier Division will join 17 from Betfred Championship and League 1 clubs - including Rochdale Hornets - for a second opportunity in 2020 to reach a Wembley final.

The NCL champions West Hull will join Underbank Rangers – who are still alive and kicking in the Coral Challenge Cup – in the first round draw which will be held in Cumbria on 18 March.

They will be joined by five clubs from Betfred League 1, all in the knowledge that four wins would secure a trip to Wembley on Saturday 18 July – Barrow Raiders, Doncaster, Keighley Cougars, Newcastle Thunder and Rochdale Hornets.

As last year, the 12 Betfred Championship clubs who have entered the competition have been given a bye to the second round, where they will be joined by the four first round winners – and this year the second round draw will also be held on 18 March, to allow clubs more time to plan their fixtures.

The first round ties are scheduled for the weekend of 18-19 April, with the eight second round ties to be played in midweek, in the week starting 27 April.

The quarter finals will be played in the week beginning 11 May, with both semi finals on Sunday 7 June - and the final again at Wembley Stadium on Coral Challenge Cup final day (18 July), but this year being played ahead of the Coral Challenge Cup final, with a midday kick-off.

Mark Foster, the Chief Commercial Officer of the Rugby Football League, said: “We’ve been delighted by the positive reaction to the announcement of the new kick-off time for the final of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup at Wembley Stadium on 18 July.

“The competition was introduced last year to give non-Super League clubs a second chance to earn a trip to Wembley, and it’s great to see three community clubs who have already made a big impact in the Coral Challenge Cup this season – Underbank Rangers, West Hull and York Acorn – getting involved.

“Sheffield Eagles and Widnes Vikings were the first two clubs to earn a trip to Wembley last year, and you only had to watch their semi final victories over Batley and Leigh respectively, or the memorable quarter final performances produced by Barrow, Doncaster and York, to see that the competition had gripped the imagination of players, coaches and supporters.

“We’ll again be showing a game from each round on Our League, as well as both semi finals.”

AB Sundecks 1895 Cup

First Round (draw 18 March, ties to be played on weekend of 18-19 April): Barrow Raiders, Doncaster, Keighley Cougars, Newcastle Thunder, Rochdale Hornets, Underbank Rangers, West Hull, York Acorn.

Second Round (draw 18 March, ties to be played week starting 27 April): Four first round winners plus Batley Bulldogs, Bradford Bulls, Dewsbury Rams, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax, Leigh Centurions, Oldham, Sheffield Eagles, Swinton Lions, Whitehaven, Widnes Vikings, York City Knights.

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