Sherwood Wolf Hunt’s battling underdogs bow out of Challenge Cup

Underdogs Sherwood Wolf Hunt bowed out of Rugby League's most prestigious cup competition on Sunday after a battling 38-6 defeat at the hands of Bradford side West Bowling.

By John Lomas
Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 11:37 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 12:58 pm
Lee Chapman leads out Sherwood Wolfhunt in the presence of the Coral Challenge Cup - Picture by: Richard Parkes
Lee Chapman leads out Sherwood Wolfhunt in the presence of the Coral Challenge Cup - Picture by: Richard Parkes

Wolf Hunt shocked the Rugby League community by pulling off an astonishing debut Challenge Cup first round win against Wests Warriors.

And if they were tagged as underdogs in that game, then they were going into round two as the ultimate underdog, the lowest ranked team in the competition by a long way.

Sherwood's heroics in that round one tie firmly put them in the spotlight, and with interest growing in the game the Rugby Football League chose this tie to be streamed live on television, and would be watched by Rugby League fans all over the world.

The result though didn't go Sherwood's way as a very clinical West Bowling showed why they were promoted in 2019 into the top tier of the amateur game in the United Kingdom.

Head Coach Glenn Holt said: We were really pleased with the effort and commitment from the players today and throughout this Challenge Cup run.

“West Bowling are a great side and they played some good rugby in testing conditions.

“The experience of playing in the Challenge Cup is something my players will never forget and playing in a game of that standard has given them an appetite to play at a higher level, which is great from a coach's perspective.”

A healthy crowd of 621 turned up to watch, the likes of which hasn't been seen in North Nottinghamshire since Mansfield Marksman entered the professional ranks in the 80s and Chairman Adam Bates hopes to build on this, saying: “As a club we threw everything at this, and we put on a fantastic show.

“We're delighted with the support shown from our local community, from spectators, local businesses and from Debdale Park who have all been fantastic.

“There is definitely an appetite for more Rugby League in the area now and we will be working hard over the coming months to build the club and provide more opportunities to get involved with Rugby League than ever before.”

Sherwood started the game the brighter of the two and spent a good amount of time with ball in hand, pressing on the Bowling line.

Half back John-Ross Ward was the first to get the scoreboard ticking over with a penalty kick after six minutes, but that would see the end of Sherwood's share of possession in the first half.

Bowling looked after the ball well and were clinical in attack, running in for five tries in the remaining 30 minutes of the half.

Slick handling and a well organised half back pairing made it a tough ask for Sherwood to get in the game.

Positive signs did come from the Wolf Hunt, though, in defence they worked hard and met an experienced West Bowling side with some fierce defending but on attack unforced errors and the persistent rain made it difficult for them to play any expansive rugby league.

The one time they did look to attack the West Bowling line, a neat pass from Alan Symcox found half back partner John-Ross Ward who hit a well timed gap to go over untouched.

A half-time scoreline of 28-6 might have dampened the Wolf Hunt spirits, but the occasion was one to be embraced and they came out fighting in the second half.

Front rower Francis Appleton, returning from a year year absence after breaking his neck for Sherwood caught the eye with some huge tackles and solid drives into an enthusiastic West Bowling pack.

The second half was much improved from Sherwood's perspective, keeping the visitors to just one try, and although the scoreline didn't go Sherwood's way, their was certainly no lack of effort from the Wolf Hunt.

They worked tirelessly throughout, but West Bowling used all their rugby league nous to run away with a convincing win.

Sherwood will enjoy a break now, and are looking forward to a fresh challenge in 2020 as they enter the Yorkshire Men's League for the first time, starting back in April.

The club are always on the look out for committed volunteers and would urge you to contact them at [email protected] for further information.