Pilkington Recs, whose Challenge Cup exploits over past years have led to some notable successes, will be hoping to enhance their reputation further on Sunday - and first team coach John Rees believes they can overcome Coventry Bears at Butts Park in round four of the prestigious competition.
Rees told the RL website: “We are quietly confident we can get a better result than Distington did against the Bears in the last round (they lost 42-12) and we will be going all out to topple our Midland rivals.”
Recs progressed to the fourth round two years ago before suffering a 78-0 drubbing against the professionals of Halifax at Langtree Park (since renamed the Totally Wicked Stadium) but that setback will not be preying on the minds of the current players.
Rees said: “We just looked at that as a day out against vastly superior full-time opposition but the trip to Coventry is a real opportunity to progress further in the competition and we are all excited about the clash.”
The Bears, who are a semi-professional club in Betfred League 1, will start red-hot favourites against their NCL opponents but the Pilk’s boss reckons there is little difference in ability between the two clubs and victory is not beyond his side.
An added incentive is the fact that Hull KR, Catalans Dragons, Widnes Vikings and Warrington Wolves will all be in the hat for the fifth round draw - and it would be a feather in Pilk’s cap if they down the Bears and then be lucky enough to face the likes of the Wire.
Wishful thinking maybe, but still a possibility this stage.
Recs are one of only three community clubs remaining in a competition which is also extremely important for the grassroots of the sport.
Rees said: “You only have to go back to 2016 when we faced Halifax to see the interest which was created from external people and this was definitely a big boost to us.
“We also played London Skolars at home in the same season and managed to attract a crowd of more than 800 which is massive financially for any community side.”
He added: “Without the Challenge Cup,we wouldn’t get a chance to play against the bigger outfits while the BBC coverage is pushing the profile of the community game even more and personally I feel that is great.”