Challenge Cup: Sheffield Eagles face banana skin against Hunslet Club Parkside

The tables have turned for Sheffield Eagles as they find themselves in the unusual position of heading into a game as overwhelming favourites.

Thursday, 24th February 2022, 5:24 pm

The Eagles will begin their 2022 Challenge Cup campaign on Sunday when they take on Leeds-based amateur outfit Hunslet Club Parkside, who play two leagues below them in the National Conference League Premier Division.

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Hunslet have already won three matches to reach this stage of the competition and are the lowest-ranked team still standing heading into round four.

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Featherstone Lions' Josh Maden and George Nuttall bring down Jamie Fields inches from the line in the Betfred Challenge Cup first round tie against Hunslet Club Parkside. Picture: Jonathan Buck

But they are no strangers to an upset and beat League 1 side London Skolars 28-6 to progress in the last round.

“There’s some very good talent in the amateur game,” said Hunslet coach Sam Thorpe.

"The majority of our squad could go and play in a Championship team.”

Sheffield know all about causing an upset in this competition.

They famously beat Wigan Warriors in the 1998 final, with a certain Mark Aston picking up the Lance Todd Trophy in recognition of his man of the match performance.

The game is still widely considered to be one of, if not the biggest upset in Challenge Cup final history.

"With Sheffield, I think it’ll be a lot more professional than what Skolars was,” Thorpe predicted.

"I do think that fitness and that bit of extra professionalism will probably show later on in the game.

"But I do think we can hold our own for a while and maybe push them a little bit. I’ll be happy as long as we make a good account of ourselves.”

Aston’s side will be looking to bounce back from the disappointment of a shock 12-10 defeat against Dewsbury last time out in a game they were expected to win.

Last weekend’s clash against Batley was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, meaning Sheffield should be well-rested.

Hunslet captain Jamie Fields was complimentary towards them ahead of the clash.

He said: “We’ve drawn some professional teams a few times in the Challenge Cup and it’s something we look forward to massively as a club, individually and collectively because we want to test ourselves against good opposition.

"To be quite honest, I don’t think there’s much more in the Championship we could test ourselves against. Sheffield are a top side.”