Blackpool remains goal for cup final ambitions

Blackpool FC’s Bloomfield Road will again play host to the Northern Rail Cup final on Sunday July 29.

Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams are among the 20 teams determined to secure their place in the showpiece event.

Leigh Centurions beat Halifax 20-16 in a thrilling encounter last season while of course Batley lifted the trophy the year before.

The competition has grown since its introduction in 2002 and Northern Rail have now agreed to extend their sponsorship until the end of the 2013 season.

As in previous years, the Northern Rail Cup group stages will be played in two pools with clubs playing two home games and two away games.

The top four teams in each pool will then progress into an open, unseeded draw for the quarter-finals.

The Northern Rail Cup final will be screened live on Premier Sports and the winners will follow last year’s winners Leigh and Co-operative Championship champions Featherstone Rovers in securing the right to apply for a Super League licence for the 2015-2017 period.

Pool A: Batley Bulldogs, Dewsbury Rams, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax, Keighley Cougars, London Skolars, Oldham Roughyeds, Rochdale Hornets, South Wales Scorpions, Toulouse Olympique.

Pool B: Barrow Raiders, Doncaster, Gateshead Thunder, Hunslet Hawks, Leigh Centurions, Sheffield Eagles, Swinton Lions, Whitehaven, Workington Town, York City Knights.