Confusion surrounds Leeds clubs in Challenge Cup draw

Lizzie Jones and Tom Briscoe with the Challenge Cup at Wembley today.
Lizzie Jones and Tom Briscoe with the Challenge Cup at Wembley today.
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Leeds clubs were at the centre of confusion during the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup first round draw, made at Wembley Stadium.

Rugby league has a reputation for mistake-ridden draws and the latest was no exception with East Leeds announced as facing both Pilkington Recs and Oulton Raiders – while Stanningley’s name was not read out at all.

When No 27 – which was allocated to Stanningley – was drawn at home to Pilkington, presenter Dave Woods misread his sheet and called East Leeds’ name instead.

He later correctly announced East Leeds as No 4, when they were pulled out first for a mouthwatering derby against Oulton.

The home teams were drawn by Tom Briscoe, who won the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match after scoring a record five tries in Leeds Rhinos’ 50-0 Wembley win over Hull KR last year. Lizzie Jones, widow of Keighley Cougars player Danny Jones, drew the away teams.

Woods later took to social media to admit his error, tweeting: “Apologies. It was Stanningley v Pilk Recs. E.Leeds play Oulton. Right ball by Tom, wrong words from yours truly.”

An RFL spokesman said: “It was an unfortunate glitch, but a corrected draw went out within minutes.”

The all-Leeds derby was the highlight of the draw which will also see Hunslet Club Parkside travel to Thatto Heath, Shaw Cross Sharks away to London Chargers, Normanton Knights at home to Distington, Lock Lane visit West Bowling, Featherstone Lions at Royal Navy, Thornhill Trojans away to Hull Dockers and Sharlston Rovers at York Acorn.

Meanwhile, Leeds are 7-2 second favourites to win the Cup for a third successive year. Wigan Warriors are 10/3 favourites with sponsors Ladbrokes.

Jessica Bridge, of Ladbrokes, said: “Wigan Warriors marginally edge favouritism thanks to the return of Sam Tomkins and the money from punters already suggests they’re the team to beat in both the Cup and Super League.

“The Rhinos look to be in a transitional period following the retirement of legendary trio Sinfield, Peacock and Leuluai, but it would be foolish of us even consider writing them off before the season has started.”

Briscoe reckons Leeds can hang on to the trophy.

He said: Obviously it’s a tough thing to do and there’s only been two other teams to do it in the Super League era.

“The way it is set up, with the final and then going into the play-offs, it makes it a long season but that’s the carrot in front of us. We’ve proved it can be done and we’re definitely aiming to achieve that again.”

The first round draw is: London Chargers v Shaw Cross Sharks, Thatto Heath v Hunslet Parkside, Aberdeen Warriors v Northumbria University, Stanningley v Pilkington Recs, Normanton v Distington, Army v Siddal, West Bowling v Lock Lane, Leigh Miners Rangers v Underbank Rangers, East Leeds v Oulton Rangers, Millom v University of Hull, Royal Navy v Featherstone Lions, Widnes West Bank v Rochdale Mayfield, Wath Brow Hornets v RAF, Hull Dockers v Thornhill Trojans, Egremont Rangers v Bridgend Blue Bulls, West Hull v GB Police, Kells v Nottingham Outlaws, York Acorn v Sharlston.

Ties to be played on the weekend of January 30.

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