1895 Cup

6 May 2022

AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Semi-Final Preview

AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Semi-Final Preview

It’s semi-final time as we return to AB Sundecks 1895 Cup action this week, with four teams setting their sights on a trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at the end of May.

Both semi-finals will be shown live on Our League this Sunday, where holders Featherstone travel to Barrow in the first game of the day. The home side’s recent league form has been disappointing, losing four out of their last five, but the Raiders will look to take confidence from their impressive cup displays this season – their run to the Betfred Challenge Cup sixth round that included dominant displays against Workington and Rochdale was eventually brought to an end after a thrilling encounter with Betfred Super League outfit Huddersfield Giants, where they gave the six-time champions a stern test.

A 16-38 result at the Millennium Stadium back in 2019 remains Barrow’s last win against Featherstone and their 58-6 hammering defeat there last month will be fresh in the mind, but with London calling and the unpredictability of cup rugby, the Cumbrian side will most definitely fancy themselves.

A memorable 41-34 victory at Wembley last year saw Featherstone crowned as the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup champions for the first time. As their hunt for promotion to the first-tier goes on, the Rovers faithful will also be hoping their side can continue their charge for silverware. A sun-kissed Wembley saw one of the most entertaining games of the season in last year’s final, and the fond memories of that day will no doubt have the Featherstone fans up for the cup once again this weekend.

Rovers are on fire. Their Betfred Championship form is near perfect, and cup showings have been impressive – a sixth-round Betfred Challenge Cup draw set up a trip to Perpignan, where they gave last year’s Betfred Super League table-toppers Catalans Dragons a real scare. They were winning at half-time but eventually fell short against one of the competition favourites.

With another trip to the capital looming, this weekend could be special for Featherstone, but also for Luke Briscoe – the winger is one try away from making it a career century. Can he reach the milestone and send Rovers to Tottenham?

In the second semi-final of the day, Leigh Centurions host Sheffield Eagles. It’s familiar territory for the Eagles, who were the first ever champions of the competition in 2019 after their 36-18 win at Wembley. Their 40-6 victory over Whitehaven in this year’s play-off round saw them progress to the semis, and it’ll be their second trip to Leigh in quick succession after their recent Betfred Championship defeat at the home of the Leythers.

Sheffield Eagles were on the up before last week’s defeat to Leigh, and had won six out of the eight games prior. They’ll be looking to the try-scoring prowess of Anthony Thackeray and Ben Jones-Bishop who are amongst the top scorers in this year’s Betfred Championship, and whilst a spot in the play-offs is within reach, this weekend is all about silverware – eighty minutes from a trip to Tottenham to reclaim their title is the only motivation they’ll ever need for this one.

Leigh though, will be aiming to make their first AB Sundecks 1895 Cup final after a semi-final defeat to Widnes back in 2019. Like fellow semi-finalists Featherstone, their league form has made it so promotion to the top-flight is well and truly on, but the focus switches this weekend with a chance at silverware on the line.

The Leythers’ form this season coupled with their record in previous meetings with the Steel City outfit should give them a real boost – Leigh have won the last fifteen meetings between the two sides, with their last defeat coming back in 2013.

They also have this year’s Betfred Championship top try scorer at their disposal – former NRL centre Nene Macdonald wasted no time in settling in at his new club, scoring ten tries in his league campaign up to now. With Tottenham on the horizon, we’re all set for two semi-finals that are not to be missed. Catch both games live on Our League, by signing up here.

AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Semi-Finals:

  • Barrow Raiders vs Featherstone Rovers – Sunday 8th May, 14:00 - live on Our League
  • Leigh Centurions vs Sheffield Eagles – Sunday 8th May, 16:00 - live on Our League