ANDREW Henderson is expecting York Knights to face a stern test from Dewsbury Rams when they meet in the Betfred Challenge Cup on Sunday (2pm).

The Sportsman will broadcast the sides’ Third Round clash at the FLAIR Stadium, in which the victors will book themselves a home tie against either Sheffield Eagles or Newcastle Thunder in Round Four later this month.

Dewsbury maintained a flawless home record as they earned promotion back to the Betfred Championship at the first time of asking last season, but have found life tough-going so far in 2024.


Whilst the Knights stand in good stead to progress into the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Quarter Finals, Dale Ferguson’s side are rooted to the bottom of Group Two following their respective 35-6 and 40-4 defeats to Keighley Cougars and Bradford Bulls.

But the form guide often goes out of the window in knockout rugby league, and Henderson is well aware of the threat that his side will face in West Yorkshire.

He warned: “It will be a very stern test.

“They’re at home and I know that they haven’t had the greatest start in the 1895 Cup competition but it’s a different competition now. This is straight knockout rugby league.

“I’ve always said it before that form goes out of the window in the Challenge Cup, we saw that with ourselves last year. 

“I think they’ll be disappointed in their two games and performances, but I know that they will be looking at that and wanting to right the wrongs. 

“They’ll see this as an opportunity do that, this is a different competition that is gone and we’re now moving into this one. 

“That’s the same for us, we’ve had two contrasting fixtures in our group games of the 1895 Cup and this is another opportunity for us, for those players involved in last week’s game to right some wrongs, and the guys that haven’t been involved yet to get an opportunity and show what they are about.”

York Press: York found it tough going against Wakefield last weekend, but their 114-10 triumph over Newcastle Thunder has put them in good stead to progress in the 1895 Cup.York found it tough going against Wakefield last weekend, but their 114-10 triumph over Newcastle Thunder has put them in good stead to progress in the 1895 Cup. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

Dewsbury’s pitch is known for its narrow, size and Henderson believes that will likely play its part in proceedings, as will the Rams’ winning mentality off the back of last season’s promotion-winning campaign.

“Dewsbury know how to play on their pitch,” he explained. “It’s something that we’re not used to, playing on a tight pitch and a shorter pitch. 

“We don’t know what the conditions are like there and we don’t know what the state of their pitch is like at the moment. 

“But they’re a stubborn team, and a team that won’t go away. 

“They’ve had their experience where they know what winning looks like because they won their League One campaign last year. A lot of their squad has been retained into this season, so they know how to win. 

“It’s going to pose a different sort of challenge for us, being away from home, different pitch conditions and it’s a different competition now. 

“It’s knockout rugby league, so there’s a little bit more at stake, you don’t necessarily have next week to come back and sort it out. If you win, you go through, if you lose, then you’re out. 

“It’s going to be an interesting one for us and I’m looking forward to it.”