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2019 Challenge Cup Final Day

The Rugby Football League today confirms not only the date for the 2019 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium connected by EE – Saturday August 24 – but also a July date for the 2020 Final, a new long-term agreement with Wembley, and a new competition – the 1895 Cup – which means a bumper new-look programme of three matches on Challenge Cup Final Day.

Tickets go on open sale today for the 2019 Wembley Stadium showpiece, along with dates for the eight rounds on the Road to Wembley – which will begin next month with the draw for the First Round to be played on January 26-27.

But for supporters of Championship and League One clubs, there’s an extra reason to make a note of Challenge Cup Final Day – as they will have a second chance to reach Wembley next year, in the 1895 Cup.

Full details will be announced with the Betfred Championship and League One fixtures on Sunday week, but the clubs have agreed after a meeting last week to introduce the new competition.

All but one of the 12 English Championship clubs have previously won the Challenge Cup, sharing a total of 30 Cup wins – from Batley, who were the first winners in 1897, to Bradford Bulls, the most recent to do so in 2003.

In addition three League One clubs – Hunslet, Oldham and Workington Town – are also former Challenge Cup winners, although in Oldham’s case famously never at Wembley.
But only Sheffield Eagles and Bradford have played in a Challenge Cup Final at Wembley during the Super League era (since 1996), and none of the Championship or League One clubs have reached the new Wembley Stadium since the Challenge Cup Final returned to its spiritual home in 2007.

The introduction of the 1895 Cup means that there will be three Finals at Wembley Stadium next August – as the Steven Mullaney Memorial Match (the RFL Champion Schools Final for Year 7s), which has long been established as a popular curtain-raiser to the Challenge Cup Final, will also remain a key part of the day.

The RFL have also extended their partnership with Wembley – which has staged 76 Challenge Cup Finals since the first between Wigan and Dewsbury in 1929 – until 2027, which will therefore be the 85th at the Stadium.

Next year’s Challenge Cup Final Day will stick to what has become a regular place on the calendar, the August Bank Holiday Weekend. But in 2020, there will be a move forward to Saturday July 18.

Ralph Rimmer, the chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said: “This is a significant and exciting day for the Challenge Cup, and the game’s relationship with Wembley Stadium.

“Next year we will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the first Challenge Cup Final at Wembley in 1929. Rugby League is proud of the length and strength of that association – Wembley Stadium has been the setting for so many of the greatest matches and memories in the game’s history, with Catalans Dragons writing another chapter when they became the first overseas club to win the Cup earlier this year.

“We are therefore delighted to confirm the extension of that relationship until 2027.

“We believe the introduction of the 1895 Cup will give that relationship another boost. It’s a recognition that the game has changed since the onset of full-time
professionalism in the Super League era, meaning that for a good number of the Championship and League One clubs who have won the Challenge Cup in the past, reaching Wembley currently seems a distant dream. This innovation makes that dream of Wembley much more realistic and achievable.

“We’ve seen in football, with the EFL Trophy that was introduced for teams for the third and fourth tiers of their professional structure as the Associate Members’ Cup in 1983, that the introduction of a realistic additional chance to reach Wembley can have a rejuvenating effect on clubs.

“With the 1895 Cup, we want to recognise the contribution of our non-Super League clubs to the game’s history since its founding as the Northern Union 123 years ago – and provide an exciting new chance for their players and supporters to taste the magic of Wembley.

“With the Steven Mullaney Memorial Match continuing to provide a unique opportunity for some potential future stars to play at Wembley Stadium, we’ve tried to create a Challenge Cup Final Day package which will breathe new life into Rugby League’s big day out.”

Confirmed Challenge Cup Round Dates for 2019:

  • Round 1 – 26th/27th January
  • Round 2 – 9th/10th February
  • Round 3 – 9th/10th March
  • Round 4 – 30th/31st March
  • Round 5 – 13th/14th April
  • Round 6 – 11th/12th May
  • Quarter-Finals – 1st/2nd June
  • Semi-Finals – 27th/28th July
  • Final – Saturday 24th August – Wembley Stadium connected by EE

The draw for Round 1 of the 2019 Challenge Cup will take place week commencing December 10th. Further details to follow soon.

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Club Cash

AS you all know from your own experiences these are tough times for everybody, but we believe you will agree that OLDHAM RLFC is taking massive inspiration from the fabulous NHS and other key workers in tackling Covid head-on, while looking forward positively to the 2021 season and better times ahead thanks to the outstanding work now being done to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, we have to face facts and be realistic enough to accept that the club urgently needs every pound that is currently coming in from whatever source. One of those sources is our Club Cash lottery and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who support us on this. A lot of you who used to pay our collectors on the doorstep have responded to our suggestions on how to pay by different methods and we are extremely grateful for that. Thanks again. You will never know how much difference your contributions make.

Alas, our income from the lottery has dropped by more than 50 per cent over the course of the pandemic and that would be a huge blow financially at any time let alone a time of unprecedented hardship because of the pandemic. It really is a situation we seriously need to address.

With that in mind the prize fund for the duration of the latest national lockdown will be temporarily reduced from February 10.

You will still be able to win a £1,000 first prize, plus £100, £50, £25 and ten £10 prizes every week, while continuing to provide vital support for the club and it will only cost you £1 a week. You can’t get a decent coffee for that, but the difference it makes to the club when multiplied a few times over and then multiplied again by 52 – the number of weeks in the financial year – is of major significance.

If you can help us at all — for £1 a week — it would be hugely appreciated by everyone with Oldham RL Club at heart. The prize structure still represents good value for money for an outlay of £1.

To those who are already members and help us accordingly, we very much hope to retain your support at this extremely difficult time.

Should you wish to play but don’t, due to the pausing of cash collection rounds, we have other options available, which you can discuss with our lottery administrator, John McAndrew on 07980129541 or from the club on 07904 898177.

Alternatively, you can send an email to: mcandrewj@aol.com or to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The prize fund will be increased back to previous levels as soon as latest lockdowns are released. Please watch our website and social media platforms for further announcements.

Finally, if you want more information about the lottery or you wish to discuss your membership please contact one of the numbers given above.

A huge thank-you to you all.

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