Marlins fly the flag for Leeds in Challenge Cup draw

Michael Channing
Michael Channing
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MILFORD MARLINS will be the only Leeds side in next year’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup first round.

The National Conference Division One club will be among 32 sides setting off on the road to Wembley when the competition begins on the weekend of January 28-29.

The first round draw – to be made at The Deep aquarium in Hull on Thursday, January 5 – also includes Conference Division One clubs Lock Lane, Featherstone Lions and Normanton Knights. Thornhill Trojans, from Conference Division Two, are included after winning this year’s BARLA National Cup and Fryston Warriors, reigning champions of the winter Pennine League, will also feature.

The 16 winners will go through to the second round two weeks later before teams from Kingstone Press League One join the action in round three, on February 25-26.

Championship clubs will enter the competition in round four on March 18/19 and last year’s bottom-four from Super League, including Leeds Rhinos, are involved in round five, on April 22-23.

The remaining top-flight clubs begin their campaign on May 13/14, in round six.

The full line-up for the Challenge Cup first round is: Aberdeen Warriors, Bridgend Blue Bulls, Distington, Egremont Rangers, Featherstone Lions, Fryston Warriors, Great Britain Police, Haydock, Hull Dockers, Hull University, Kells, Leigh Miners Rangers, Lock Lane, London Chargers, Milford Marlins, Myton Warriors, Normanton Knights, Pilkington Recs, Rochdale Mayfield, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Siddal, Skirlaugh, Thatto Heath Crusaders, The Army, Thornhill Trojans, Wath Brow Hornets, West Bowling, West Hull, Wests Warriors, Wigan St Patrick’s, York Acorn.

Former Castleford Tigers and Featherstone Rovers centre Michael Channing is facing a six-month lay-off.

Channing rejoined London Broncos from Featherstone at the end of last season, but is set to undergo a cervical spine fusion to remove a damaged disk.

A Broncos spokesman said: “He is expected to make a full recovery and should be available to play in six months.”

Dalton Grant, signed by London from Dewsbury Rams, is recovering from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon and is expected to return in March or April.