Cup challenge for Saddleworth Rangers against premier champions

SADDLEWORTH Rangers will be cast as David trying to slay Goliath when play the mighty Thatto Heath Crusaders in the first round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup later this month.

Rugby League legends Gareth Ellis, left, and Paul Wellens making the Challenge Cup draw

Coach Craig Farrimond admitted it doesn’t come any tougher for Rangers from the National Conference League, second division as they tackle last season’s premier division champions at Shaw Hall Bank Road on Saturday, January 27.

Farrimond believes his side is capable of pulling off a major upset as he explained: “I fancy ourselves at home against anyone.

“Let’s hope, knowing our ground at this time of the year, it is a mud bath that would make it a leveller.”

And he won’t have to do a lot of homework as Crusaders’ coach Richard Owen is a good friend while Farrimond coached five of the players when they were on Lancashire duty last season.

Farrimond is pleased how pre-season training is progressing saying he has a 40-strong squad for the first and second teams.

It resumed after the festive break in the first week of the new year with sessions on Thursday and Saturday and an extra one on Sunday for the “fat lads”.

Rangers’ players will be training three times each week with the first competitive fixture the Standard Cup tie against Folly Lane on Saturday, January 20.

Final details for the venue and kick off time had not been finalised by the time the Independent went to press.

Rangers’ league campaign kicks off at home to East Leeds on Saturday, March 3.

Farrimond has described stand-off Ben Whitehead’s decision to take one year out from playing as a “big loss” to the team.

Hooker Sam Ogden and utility player Sam Ireland, who played for the U18 and second teams last season, have been training with the first team.

Brothers Andy and Rick Joy, both props, each had operations at the end of the season.

Andy is back in training, but Rick won’t be back until the summer.


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