YORK Knights have been drawn in a three-team group with Newcastle Thunder and Wakefield Trinity in next year's AB Sundecks 1895 Cup.

Andrew Henderson's side will kick off their Cup campaign with a trip to Newcastle on Sunday, January 28, with Nikau Williams, Connor Bailey and Alex Donaghy in contention to make their competitive Knights debuts against their former side.

Danny Kirmond and Oli Pratt will then make their returns to the LNER Community Stadium when the Knights welcome recently-relegated Wakefield on Sunday, February 4.


2024 sees a new format for the 1895 Cup, in which the English Betfred Championship and League One sides have been split into seven groups of three based on geographical area - with the exception of Cornwall, who have withdrawn from the competition.

The top team in each group - plus the best performing second-placed team - will then progress to the Quarter Finals.

Wembley Stadium will continue to host the 1895 Cup Final, which will be held in conjunction with the Men's and Women's Betfred Challenge Cup Finals on June 8.

York's progression to the Betfred Challenge Cup Quarter Finals saw them qualify for the Semi-Final stage of last season's competition as one of the best four performing Championship sides, before defeat to beaten finalists Batley Bulldogs at the end of July.

Prior to that, the Knights made it all the way to Wembley in 2021, but fell to a 41-34 defeat to Featherstone Rovers in the competition's Final.

York Press: Nikau Williams could make his competitive Knights debut at Newcastle, the side for whom he left for York this autumn.Nikau Williams could make his competitive Knights debut at Newcastle, the side for whom he left for York this autumn. (Image: Newcastle Thunder)

Laura Beaumont, managing director at AB Sundecks, is delighted to see the competition kick off the rugby league calendar in 2024.

“We are really looking forward to kicking off the 2024 season with the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup – with the competition expanding it means that even more clubs can get a chance of playing at Wembley Stadium and I know from personal experience what a fabulous occasion it is," she enthused.

“The tournament will be entering its fifth year this season and with competition in both the Championship and League One so tight at the end of 2023 I think we are going to be in for a really exciting road to Wembley."

Rhodri Jones, commercial managing director at the RFL, added: “We are delighted that AB Sundecks are continuing to support Rugby League and the 1895 Cup, and we look forward to working with them as the competition launches in January with the new look group format.

"Last year’s final between Halifax and Batley was a nail-biting encounter, and we can’t wait to see who makes it all the way in 2024.”