Saddleworth Rangers up for the cup

SADDLEWORTH Rangers are plotting an upset in the Coral Challenge Cup when they visit Siddal for a first-round tie on Saturday, January 11, kick off 2pm.

Ken Kerr, Rangers’ new Aussie coach, is paying little heed to Halifax-based Siddal playing two divisions higher in the National Conference League.

“I don’t believe there is much difference between the different divisions, it is all about what happens on the day,” he explained.

Kerr admitted he would have preferred to have played friendlies first rather than the cup-tie being their first competitive fixture of the season.

“It would have been nice to have played friendlies but that is the way we are treated in the amateur game,” Kerr continued.

Kerr added that Rangers are prepared with the team resuming pre-season training in late November, though he admitted it will be a step into the unknown for him.

He said: “I have got to know the lads but have never seen them play.

“We can a full contact session on Saturday, January 4 and the lads lapped it up in what was a good session.”

Kerr added he has friends at Siddal so has been able to get an insight into their opponents.

“They are taking the game seriously as can be seen by the fact they are producing a programme for the game,” he said.

Kerr added it will be a young Rangers’ team with several 16 and 17-year-old players possibly featuring.

The Challenge Cup is a competition Kerr reveres. As a player he helped second division side Workington reach the quarter finals when they lost by one point to Oldham who scored a last-minute try to snatch victory.

After the Challenge Cup, Rangers have three group games to play in the Standard Cup which will operate as a round robin for the first time as opposed to a straight knockout.

Rangers’ first game will be at home to Oldham St Annes followed by games against Waterhead Warriors and Rochdale Mayfield.

Kerr added it will be friendly competition as he knows Warriors’ joint coaches Keith Brennan, who he once coached, and Jon Perks who he played alongside. He has also previously coached Oldham St Annes’ coach Rick Badby.

By the time the Standard Cup games are completed, Kerr hopes his side will be well prepared for the start of the National Conference League, second division campaign on Saturday, March 7 when they are at home to Wigan St Judes.

Kerr’s squad will be strengthened by then by the arrival of two Aussie players, aged 22 and 24, who have played first grade rugby.

He said: “I know them personally and they are good kids.

“They want to come over and have a look at England as I did 30 years ago, and I am still here.”

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