It may only be early in the 2016 season but we are in the third month of the 115th Challenge Cup which saw the best amateur sides in the country go up against each other in Round 1 & Round 2. Round 3 saw several shocks as 5 amateur sides beat their semi-professional opposition and advance to Round 4. We see several interesting ties and see an amateur side guaranteed in Round 5 as Featherstone Lions take on Castleford Lock Lane.

Friday 18th March 

Hunslet V Doncaster – 7.30pm. 

The first tie of the weekend sees an all League 1 clash between Hunslet and Doncaster at the South Leeds Stadium. Hunslet booked their place in Round 4 with a 46-12 victory over Barrow Raiders in what was their only victory this season.

2015 record

Round 4 – 10 – 28 victory v Gloucester (A)

Round 5 – 16-31 defeat v Dewsbury (H)

2016 campaign 

Round 4 – 46 – 12 victory v Barrow (H)

Doncaster are currently unbeaten with four victories from their four games. They progressed from Round 3 with a 54-0 victory over West Hull.

2015 record

Round 4 – 40-12 defeat v North Wales Crusaders (A)

2016 campaign

Round 3 – 54-0 victory v West Hull (A)

Dewsbury V Bradford – 8pm 

Dewsbury have won 3 of their six league games but lost a close encounter in their last fixture against London Broncos 22-18.

2015 Record 

Round 4 – 28 – 18 victory v Newcastle (H)

Round 5 – 16 – 31 victory v Hunslet (A)

Round 6 – 10-52 defeat v Warrington (H)

Bradford are still unbeaten in 2016 with three wins from five games and two draws. The second draw coming in controversial circumstances against Batley last time out. They drew 24 all as a last minute Batley penalty goal was given despite looking to have drifted wide past the right hand post.

2015  Record

Round 4 – 74-6 v Workington (H)

Round 5 – 30-50 v Hull KR (A)

Saturday 19th March 

Featherstone Lions v Castleford Lock Lane 2pm (Played at Bigfella’s Stadium)

Jamie Rooney’s Fev Lions come into this game on the back of a one point defeat in their first league game at home to Myton Warriors.

2016 campaign 

Round 1 – 18-20 v Royal Navy (A)

Round 2 – 12-14 v Hull Dockers (A)

Round 3 – 37-20 v South Wales (H)

Lock Lane currently sitting top of the NCL premier division with a very convincing 58-12 victory at home to York Acorn.

2016 campaign 

Round 1 – 0-16 v West Bowling (A)

Round 2 – 6-40 v Shaw Cross Sharks (A)

Round 3 – 22 – 37 v Oxford (A)

Pilkington Recs v Halifax 2.30pm (Played at Langtree Park)

St Helens based Pilkington Recs lost their first game of the NCL season last weekend as they fell to a 12-20 defeat at home against Wigan St Pats.

2016 campaign

Round 1 – 16-28 v Stanningley (A)

Round 2 – 12-46 v Millom (A)

Round 3 – 13-0 v London Skolars (H)

Halifax have won just 2 of their first 6 league games in their bid to build on last year’s success in reaching the Super League qualifiers. They lost last weekend as Leigh defeated them 18-26 at the Shay.

2015 record 

Round 4 – 16 – 56 v Barrow (H)

Round 5 – 44-16 V Wakefield (A)

Toulouse V Gloucester 2.30pm (GMT)

Toulouse are 3 from 3 so far in 2016. The french side have scored 128 points in their first two league games while only conceding 6 points. Their biggest test has come in round 3 as they travelled to West Cumbrian to take on amateur giants Wath Brow Hornets and they come through in a tight contest.

2016 campaign 

Round 3 – 14-32 v Wath Brow (A)

Gloucester have won 1 of their 2 fixtures in the league and got their first victory in the league last weekend in a high scoring 44-22 victory over South Wales Scorpions. They progressed with a victory over North Wales.

2015 record 

Round 3 – 66-4 V Skirlaugh (H)

Round 4 – 10-28 v Hunslet (H)

2016 campaign

Round 3 – 36-40 v North Wales (H)

Batley v Whitehaven 3pm 

Batley have been one of the early surprises in the Championship as they topped the division in the opening weeks, they sit second at the moment with 4 wins and 1 draw from the opening 6 fixtures. They drew last time out against Bradford with the controversial penalty goal clinching the point for the Bulldogs.

2015 record

Round 4 – 6-78 V Normanton (A)

Round 5 – 46-14 V Swinton (H)

Round 6 – 26-22 V Widnes (A)

Whitehaven had a nightmare start to the season while finding places to train up in West Cumbria and losing their first three fixtures. But the last fortnight has seen a turn around in fortunes as they defeated Swinton and Sheffield to grab their first two victories of the season and will be looking for a cup run having being lack one in the last few years.

2015 record

Round 4 – 12 – 36 V Featherstone (H)

Sheffield v Swinton 3.30pm

Sheffield have a 50% winning rate in their opening six games having lost last time out to Whitehaven by only 2 points in a 24-26 home defeat. This game will be Mark Aston’s 500th game as coach of the Eagles.

2015 record 

Round 4 – 44 – 20 v Oldham (H)

Round 5 – 12 – 34 v Hull (H)

Swinton are yet to taste victory in 2016 after clinching promotion in the league 1 play-off victory against Keighley. Their latest defeat came at home against Featherstone 10-30.

2015 record 

Round 3 – 4 – 86 v London Skolars (A)

Round 4 – 30-12 V Rochdale (H)

Round 5 – 46-14 V Batley (A)

Leigh V Workington 6pm 

Leigh have had a turbulent 2016 with the loss of their coach Paul Rowley, they seem to be losing Ryan Brierley as he give the club four week notice to leave. They seem to be back on track with 4 victories and 1 draw in their opening 6 fixtures. They won away to Halifax last time out.

2015 record 

Round 4 – 64-12 v London Broncos (H)

Round 5 – 22-18  Salford (H)

Round 6 – 30 – 36 v Wakefield (A)

Quarter-Final – 34-24 v Warrington (A)

Workington grabbed their first victory last time out as they won 23-12 against Oldham at home, they had fell to five defeats in their opening five fixtures.

2015 record – 

Round 4 – 74 – 6 v Bradford (A)

London V Featherstone Rovers 8pm 

London currently sit top of the Championship with five victories in six matches as they look to return to the Super League, They were victorious last time out also at home as they defeated Dewsbury in a tight 22-18 victory.

2015 record 

Round 4 – 64 – 12 (A) V Leigh

Featherstone fans that can’t get to Ealing will still be able to watch their fixture as the club agreed to stream the game for fans in the Cappers Bar at the Bigfellas stadium which will be after the Featherstone Rovers game at the ground. Fev have four victories in their first five games and won last time out against Swinton.

2015 record 

Round 4 – 12 – 36 v Whitehaven (A)

Round 5 – 12 – 38 v North Wales Crusaders (A)

Round 6 – 37 – 34 V Catalans (A)

Sunday 20th March

Oldham v Kells 3pm 

Oldham are off the mark in their first season back in the Championship after a surprise victory over Dewsbury in Round 3 but are still waiting for another victory after 4 defeats in their other fixtures and lost up in West Cumbria against Workington.

2015 record 

Round 3 – 46 – 6 v Coventry (H)

Round 4 – 44 – 20 v Sheffield (A)

Kells are in the fourth round after defeating semi-professional opposition Hemel Stags in the last round. Kells got underway with their NCL season last weekend with a 10-20 defeat against fellow fourth round side Siddal. Peter Smith’s men will be looking for a second successive upset this weekend.

2016 campaign

Round 1 – 30 – 0  v Nottingham Outlaws (H)

Round 2 – 42 – 6 v Underbank Rangers (H)

Round 3 – 12 – 6 v Hemel Stags (H)

Rochdale v Siddal 3pm 

Rochdale progressed to this round with a derby victory over local amateur side Rochdale Mayfield in an ill tempered affair. The Hornets are 4 from 4 in all competitions this season and won 58-16 away against Coventry.

2015 record 

Round 3 – 12-29 V Kells (A)

Round 4 – 30-12 V Swinton (A)

Siddal have progressed to the fourth round after dominating Newcastle Thunder in the last round, they beat the North East side 30-4 in Round 3. They will be looking for another upset against a very strong Rochdale outfit. Siddal were victorious in their first league game of the campaign against Kells with a 20-10 victory in West Cumbria.

2016 campaign 

Round 1 – 4 – 30 v The Army (A)

Round 2 – 18 – 16 v Northumbria Uni (H)

Round 3 – 30 -4 v Newcastle Thunder (H)

York V Keighley 3pm 

We start the weekend off with an a league 1 tie and we finish it off with one as Keighley take on York City Knights. York have played one league fixture and were victorious 28-12 over London Skolars.

2016 campaign 

Round 3 – 66 – 0 v York Acorn (H)

Keighley have won 1 and lost 1 in the league but have won their two cup games this season progressing into Round 4 of the cup with a victory over Coventry and defeated Wath Brow in the Ipro Sport Cup.

2016 campaign 

Round 3 – 54 – 28 v Coventry (H)