No one involved in RNRL is underestimating the task ahead facing one of the country’s top Amateur outfits. West Hull compete in the NCL Premier League and over the last five seasons have come top once and fished runners up on two other occasions including last season when they came joint second, with Thatto Heath, behind Hunslet Club Parkside who took the League by a clear 14 points.
Based on league standings alone RNRL face by far the most difficult tie of the uniformed services in this year’s first round draw. The other fixtures see the Army take on Yorkshire Men’s league side Bentley, the RAF travel to East RL side North Herts whilst the GB Police travel to Newcastle to play Wallsend Eagles.
RNRL can chalk off another Hull side we have faced in the Challenge Cup over the years, we must almost have the set by now! Away from ticking off the names from Humberside this fixture also throws up a couple of connections between the two clubs although we have never met before. Firstly one of the most talented players ever to wear the RNRL jersey is now with the West Hull club namely Scott Partis. Scotty was a member of the team that won RNRL's first ever Inter Services title in 2004, the climax being the victory over the Army at Richmond. The other connection is that Head Coach Steve Lockton played for West Hull in the 99/00 season prior to joining the Service and is still well remembered at the club.
So a difficult task ahead for the Brothers but plans are now in place to get the players together for the pre season Camp ahead of the match to prepare for the test ahead.
The match itself will be played at United Services Sports Ground, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth, PO1 2EJ. Admission is free to all spectators service or civilian with gates opening at 1pm, as always the bar will be open throughout the afternoon, please come along and support the lads and Rugby League on the South coast.
Updated 13:00 - 20 Jan 2019 by Keith Humpleby