The Royal Navy have reached the Fourth Round of the Betfred Challenge Cup for the first time in their history – and will now travel to Batley Bulldogs, the first winners of the game’s oldest knockout competition in 1897 who are currently one of the form teams in the Betfred Championship.
The Navy, who had beaten the British Army in the Second Round, overcame York Acorn of the National Conference League 22-8 at their Portsmouth base in a hard-fought encounter.
The three Armed Forces have been competing separately in the Challenge Cup since 2000, six years after the ban on Rugby League was lifted, and only the Army have previously reached the Fourth Round, two years ago.
The Navy will be joined in the Fourth Round by Hunslet Club Parkside of the NCL. They had a comfortable 28-6 win against London Skolars of Betfred League One, and will now host the 1998 Challenge Cup winners Sheffield Eagles.
— Betfred Challenge Cup (@TheChallengeCup) February 12, 2022
Two other NCL survivors in the competition, Lock Lane of Castleford and Rochdale Mayfield, competed strongly against semi-professional opposition in distinctly wintry conditions.
Lock Lane, who had shocked Oldham in the Second Round, went down 12-28 at home to Rochdale Hornets, who were inspired by their 40-year-old hooker Sean Penkywicz and will now host Barrow Raiders in Round Four.
Mayfield were beaten 20-0 by Doncaster, who thereby earned a home tie against Whitehaven.
Siddal, another NCL team with a history of springing Challenge Cup upsets, will aim to join the Navy and Parkside in the Fourth Round when they travel to Hunslet in the first of Sunday’s remaining Third Round ties, which will be streamed live by BBC Sport from 1pm.
The winners of that tie will travel to the winners of the last Third Round fixture, an all-League One meeting of Swinton Lions and North Wales Crusaders which kicks off at Heywood Road at 3pm.