This weekend sees the third tier clubs get their competitive season underway as the League 1 Cup starts with eight games featuring 16 clubs including 15 League 1 clubs excluding Toronto Wolfpack & NCL premier side Rochdale Mayfield.
In the first round, the 16 sides are split into Pool A & B. They are 10 sides in Pool A which is the northern region and 6 sides in the southern region.
Pool A fixtures consist of:-
Whitehaven v Workington Town
York City Knights v North Wales Crusaders
Hunslet RLFC v Newcastle Thunder
Keighley Cougars v Doncaster
Rochdale Mayfield v Barrow Raiders
Pool B fixtures consist of:-
Oxford v Coventry Bears
South Wales Ironmen v London Skolars
Hemel Stags v University of Gloucestershire All Golds
The most anticipated fixture may well be the West Cumbrian derby between Whitehaven v Workington. The two rivals last met in a cup competition in the 2013 Challenge cup as Workington won 16-12 in a tightly contested derby game. Workington also hold the current bragging rights as winning when the two contested the pre-season Ike Southward memorial trophy. Town won 32-16 at Derwent Park just two weeks ago. Both sides were relegated from the Championship last season and will be looking to bounce back at the first attempt to the second tier. Both sides will also be aiming to reach the final of this competition which will kick off the Summer bash on May Bank Holiday weekend.
All the sides entering this competition will be thinking its their chance of silverware without having to compete against Toronto. The Wolfpack decided against entering this competition and with the Canadians expected to steamroll their way to promotion all League 1 sides will be hoping they can get their hands of the first trophy available.
The second round draw of the competition will take place at Bootham Crescent, the home of York City Knights after their fixture against North Wales Crusaders. The draw can be heard on BBC Radio York.