AMATEURS Oulton Raiders won’t be afraid to take the game to Sheffield Eagles when the clubs meet in the Carnegie Challenge Cup.
Back row forward Billy Kershaw, who played for both clubs says the Raiders will be up for the game. “Raiders will have a good go but you have to be realistic the Eagles are professionals and should be too strong,” he said. “Oulton have some good players and they’re no push over.”
Oulton play in the top amateur competition, the National Conference Premier after winning promotion last season.
Eagles’ coach Mark Aston has strong links with the Raiders. He played there as a junior and his father Brian and elder brother Kevin are both former players.
Oulton’s joint coach Mark Longley was coached as a player by Brian Aston and played against the Eagles when they met in the third round in 2003 with the Eagles winning 22-8.
Mark Aston says he won’t be taking chances with team selection with a win opening the prospect of a tie against a Super League club in the next round.
“There are memories and it will be great to catch up with people there but again we need to show the difference between amateurs and professionals and not get complacent,” he said. “We will show respect by the quality of the squad we can put out. I’ll put out the strongest squad.”
The game is being played at Wakefield Wildcats stadium on Saturday, kick-off 3pm with tickets £10 for adults and £5 children and concessions.
The Raiders squad includes a number of players who had spells at professional clubs including prop Josh Lancaster who was briefly in the Eagles junior teams.
Kershaw played 46 games for Eagles between 2000-02.