Skirlaugh v Gloucestershire All Golds Match Preview

The University of Gloucestershire All Golds embark on their professional debut in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup this weekend against Hull-based side Skirlaugh.

The third round tie, involves a 200 mile round trip for the All Golds to the heart of rugby leagues homeland. Opposition Skirlaugh are in the National Conference Premier League, the division below Championship One.

However All Golds head coach Brad Hepi said the side wouldn’t be getting carried away before the fixture. He said: “The game this weekend is a huge potential banana skin for us. We are reasonably confident, but we’ve got be wary of the strength of Skirlaugh.

“The league they play in may be below us, but all of the teams that play in that division are quality sides.”
Hepi, who will be returning to where he spent much of his playing days added: “They’ve got a long history of knocking out professional sides in the opening rounds, and they’ve got a promising young squad full of good forwards.

“My jobs to make sure we rise to the challenge and ensure we don’t become a name on that list.”

Skirlaugh defeated the Royal Navy convincingly 36-4 in the previous round of the cup. Their league rivals Myton Warriors also narrowly defeated the Leeds Met side, which provided the All Golds strongest opposition on the way to their championship winning season earlier this year.

With Super League sides such as Wigan Warriors and Leeds Rhinos entering in the 4th round, victory would provide an opportunity for the All Golds to potentially pit their wits against some of the sport’s greatest players.

Brad said: “It’s a high point of any clubs season to compete in this fantastic tournament. The chance to face a Super League club in the next round would be incredible, and hopefully this will provide the motivation the squad need to get a result.”

A welcome addition to the All Golds side is the return of Jamie Crowther who has been out since March with a broken hand. Maxime Claustres remains side-lined with a fractured eye socket however, and is still a few weeks away from full fitness. Jamie Greene is the only other long term absentee with a shoulder injury and could be out for the entire season.

The University of Gloucestershire All Golds side will be selected from the following:
Conrad Jones, Connor Jones, Dale Cooper, James Gahan, James Walter, Joe McClean, Joel James, Jordan Rice, Josh Williams, Marcus Brooker, Marcus Brown, Matthew Bradley, Michael Venn, Michael Norman, Michael Stewart, Ollie Yeats, Patrick Evans, Richard Jones, Rory Sharratt, Sam Blaney, Tawanda Cuipadza, Timothy Bergin, Tyla Hepi, Yannic Parker, Callum Mulkeen, Phil Cowburn, Brad Hepi

The Tetley’s Challenge Cup third round draw in full is:
Featherstone Rovers v Thatto Heath Crusaders, Blackbrook v York City Knights, West Hull v North Wales Crusaders, Dewsbury Rams v Myton Warriors, Sheffield Eagles v Leigh East, South Wales Scorpions v Doncaster, Workington Town v AS Carcassonne, Halifax v Oxford, Batley Bulldogs v Gateshead Thunder, Skirlaugh v University of Gloucestershire All Golds, Ince Rose Bridge v Hemel Stags, Swinton Lions v Toulouse Olympique, Siddal v Keighley Cougars, Rochdale Hornets v Hunslet Old Boys, Leigh Centurions v East Leeds, Whitehaven v London Skolars, Hunslet Hawks v Oldham, Barrow Raiders v Leigh Miners Rangers.