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Underdog role for Heworth ARLC in Challenge Cup
Heworth ARLC realise the odds are stacked against them reaching the third round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup – the stage at which Championships clubs enter – but hope remains they can pull off a knockout miracle.
The Villagers, who are without a National Conference division two win for two years and finished bottom of the pile this season, go to Underbank Rangers on Sunday (2pm) for a first qualifying round tie, the first step on the road to Wembley.
Underbank, coached by former York City Knights player Richard Knight, topped the new National Conference third division – formerly the national division of the National Conference – but lost the grand final to Championship One-bound Hemel Stags on September 30.
They also have a team in the second division of the winter season Pennine League, but that side play tomorrow so Heworth expect to come up against Knight’s men.
Villagers spokesman Ken Sykes said: “They’ve been pretty successful in the league they’re in.
“We don’t know if they’ve got a completely different team in the Pennine League or if a lot of players play summer rugby and then winter rugby.
“If some of their lads play on Sunday after playing on Saturday, they might help us, but I think it’ll be very tough.”
Heworth debated whether to enter the restructured cup competition – the opening two rounds of which come now, at the end of the National Conference season, with the following rounds next term – but Sykes said: “The players wanted to play.
“I don’t think we’ve got realistic hopes of progressing too far but, as always, we’ll give it our best shot.”
As reported in The Press on yesterday, York Acorn host Egremont Rangers in a National Conference League division one title decider at Thanet Road (2pm).