Date: Sunday 10th August
Venue: Leigh Sports Village
Kick-off: 3:00pm GMT
Widnes Vikings 19 man squad:
Dave Allen, Kevin Brown, Hep Cahil, Liam Carberry, Jon Clarke, Chris Dean, Paddy Flynn, Danny Galea, Alex Gerrard, Rhys Hanbury, Willie Isa, Ben Kavanagh, Macgraff Leuluai, Stefan Marsh, Joe Mellor, Eamon O’Carroll, Jack Owens, Danny Tickle, Lloyd White
Castleford Tigers 19 man squad:
Kirk Dixon, Michael Shenton, Jake Webster, Luke Dorn, Marc Sneyd, Andy Lynch, Adam Milner, Craig Huby, Nathan Massey, Daryl Clark, Oliver Holmes, Frankie Mariano, Scott Wheeldon, Jamie Ellis, Ashley Gibson, James Clare, Liam Finn, Lee Jewitt, Gareth Carvell
Widnes Vikings and Castleford Tigers will go head to head in front of a sell-out crowd on Sunday afternoon for a place in the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.
Leigh Sports Village will host the two surprise packages from this season as Widnes have all but secured a place in the top eight and the Tigers currently occupy a place in the top four.
League form goes out the window when it comes to cup football though and the stage is set for a nail biting finale to the semi-final weekend with the final Wembley spot up for grabs.
Widnes are buoyed by the fitness of Kevin Brown who has been instrumental in their impressive season so far and will look to Rhys Hanbury for a magic moment which he can so easily conjure up. Jon Clarke and Danny Tickle’s invaluable experience will be vital if the Vikings are to upset the favourites.
Castleford are without Justin Carney and Weller Huaraki due to suspension and Grant Millington misses out due to injury however, they have plenty of firepower throughout their squad. Daryl Clark is in outstanding form while Mark Sneyd is at the heart of everything good the Tigers have done this season. Combine the two with Michael Shenton, who has returned to the form which secured him a move to St Helens and a place in the England set up, then you have a really tough side to beat.
Both sides are 80 minutes away from a date with destiny at Wembley and that thought alone is enough to push the players into giving their all for that place in the final.
It will be a great reward for Castleford as they look to continue their incredible season, which has shocked everyone, by booking a place in the final and lifting the Challenge Cup trophy for the first time since 1986.
On the other hand, Widnes will look to the days when greats like Offiah, Sorenson and Davies were at the forefront of a Vikings side nicknamed the ‘Cup Kings’ as extra motivation to finally return to a place they used to call home.
This is a very tough game to call and I have been racking my brains all week, so I’m not picking a side to win this one but I’m going for a four point victory either way.
Road to the Semi-Finals
Fourth Round: Halifax (A), 10-34
Fifth Round: Salford Red Devils (A), 20-30
Quarter Finals: Keighley Cougars (H), 56-6
Fourth Round: Batley Bulldogs (A), 10-48
Fifth Round: Sheffield Eagles (H), 60-16
Quarter Finals: Wigan Warriors (A), 4-16