Record crowd expected for Sherwood Wolf Hunt’s biggest ever game as they target a Challenge Cup upset

Sherwood Wolf Hunt Rugby League Club are excitedly preparing for the biggest game in the club's history on Sunday – and feel confident they can pull off another shock.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 12:22 pm
Wolf Hunt win their first round game at the death.

The Debdale Lane-based club expect a record crowd to cheer them on as underdogs in their prestigious Coral Challenge Cup second round clash with Bradford side West Bowling (1.30pm).

Wolf Hunt shocked everyone on their Challenge Cup debut last month by beating a Wests Warriors side who play a tier above them and now plan to do it again in front of a big home crowd as well as an audience of thousands via a live screening of the game on Rugby League's principal online platform, Our League.

Excited chairman Adam Bates said: “Without a doubt, this is the biggest game we've played as a club.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“We've been in the Midlands Division for six years and I think it's fair to say, without sounding too arrogant, we have dominated that competition. We have done everything we can do in that.

“We then got through to the Harry Jepson Trophy final, which is a national final, and were beaten in that by Wests Warriors.

“We learned from that, came back and beat West Warriors in the Challenge Cup.

“Just the sheer prestige of the Challenge Cup makes it the biggest occasion this club has ever had.

“There has been huge interest and we could have upwards of 600 or maybe 700 people there. It will be something we've never seen before.”

He added: “We are running pre-match dining again and that sold out within a couple of days of finding out we were at home.

“The fact that it falls on a Sunday helps us enormously as there's not much else going on in terms of local sport on Sundays.

“We will also get a big online audience. Our League is the Rugby League's online screening platform and they have huge audience numbers.

“Anyone who is interested in Rugby League will be sat watching that on Sunday afternoon.

“So it's a great chance to promote our club and show people that don't know much about the Midlands what we're about and that we didn't just get lucky in round one.

“We can play a bit of rugby and we have great facilities. This will help put our club on the map.”

The reigning Midlands Rugby League champion were given little chance against Wests Warriors, from London, but in front of a crowd of 421 at Debdale Lane, Wolf Hunt hit back from 20-16 down at half-time to win 26-24 thanks to a dramatic last-minute winner.

West Bowling should provide an even sterner test, but Bates said everyone was confident they could pull off another shock.

“As they play in West Yorkshire, there's three or four leagues in that division,” he said.

“They're in the National Conference League Division Two so, by rights, they should be a significantly better standard than West Warriors. We will see what they chuck at us on Sunday.

“But in our camp we are confident. We have certain players that we have never seen at 100 per cent because they have never had to play at that level.

“There will also be players on Sunday, as there were two weeks ago, who will surprise us and give us that extra 10 per cent we've never seen before.

“The players understand the occasion and are just as excited as everyone else. I really don't see why we can't get the win on Sunday.”

Fans are advised to get down there early. The club is near the station so fans are advised to try to get a bus or train or park their car at the station, though there is some on-street parking by the ground.

The clubhouse will be open from 11am and Bates added: “Get down early, get yourself a drink and a match programme and take in the atmosphere.”

All gate fees will be donated to the new fund set up to support Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow, who has just been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.