By Kirsty Saynor
Keighley Cougars scrum-half Paul Handforth believes the Tetley’s Challenge Cup is the biggest competition in Rugby League and is convinced the Championship club can keep their dream alive when they face Widnes Vikings in a quarter-final at The Select Security Stadium tomorrow (8.00pm).
Handforth feels Keighley’s strong run of form will stand them in good stead to take on Super League opposition Widnes, despite the Cougars travelling to Merseyside as underdogs.
“For me the Challenge Cup is the big one,” said Handforth. “The final at Wembley, with the history of it, is just fantastic. There is a lot made of the Grand Final and that being the one that everyone wants to win but really I think the Challenge Cup is the one every player would like to win. It is for me, anyway.
“It is a great achievement for us to get through to the quarter-finals of the competition – we have worked hard. A lot of people will say that we have had the luck of the draw but that’s knock-out rugby and we have still had to beat whichever team has been put in front of us.
“We have won five out of our last six games in the league and that of course gives us some confidence but we have to be realistic. I know that we will go out there and give 100 percent, and I suppose you never know what could happen.”
Handforth has previous Super League experience, having played for both Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Castleford Tigers, and so is all too aware of the threat posed by the Vikings.
However, he believes it is all about the performance on the day and that Keighley have as good a chance as any if they go into the game with the right mindset.
“Widnes have had a really good season so far, it’s going to be hard to go there. They have their own unique pitch and arguably one of the game’s best stand-offs in Kevin Brown,” he said.
“They have a big pack and it is going to be a really tough challenge for us, but we will give it our all and give ourselves a chance – it is knock-out rugby after all.”
Tickets for the Widnes Vikings v Keighley Cougars Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-final tie at The Select Security Stadium, Widnes (8.00pm), can be purchased from as little as £10 for adults, £5 for concessions, with juniors admitted free.
Tickets for the 2014 Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 23 cost from as little as £22 and can be purchased by calling the 24-hour Rugby League Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk.