Rugby League

Army Suffer Shock Challenge Cup First Round Defeat

The military side fell to an 18-16 defeat against Bentley.

The Army were on the wrong side of a cup upset as they were beaten in the Challenge Cup First Round.

The military side made the trip to Yorkshire to play amateur side Bentley, but a strong second-half performance from the home side was too much for the Army to handle.

Despite leading at half-time, they couldn’t hold on to the lead as they exited the competition at the first round for the first time since 2017.

Bentley were playing in the Challenge Cup for the first time in their history, but were made to wait a little longer when kick-off was delayed due to the officials not being ready.

When the game got going, it was the Army who settled into their stride. Pete Holmes burst through a tight space to get the first try of the match, which was converted by Kieran Roche.

The celebrations at full-time showed exactly what it meant to the amateur club.

Their lead didn’t last too long though. Bentley hit back with a try of their own when Scott Smith pounced upon some space and Jack Craswell converted the kick to level the scores at 6-6.

Just before half-time, a lapse of ill-discipline handed the Army a lead at the interval. Roche looked confident with his penalty and delivered with a well-taken kick, but that’s as good as it good for the men in red.

Jake Starbuck, who only recently finished service in the RAF, took advantage of a stuttering Army defence to ground another converted try. That meant Bentley now led 12-8.

Despite another successful Roche penalty, Bentley started to play with confidence. They attacked as a team and got back in numbers which resulted in a lot of frustration from the military side.

The decisive try of the game came with ten minutes to go. Alex Bates slammed the ball down and Craswell’s conversion meant the Army had a mountain to climb.

Despite the result, Staff Sergeant Kerman was keen to take the positives from the performance.

Despite a late flurry taking the score to 18-16, Bentley held on sparking a wild scene at full-time with the home fans celebrating on the pitch with flares decorated in the club’s colours.

After the match, Staff Sergeant Jordan Kerman discussed how the Army will have to bounce back from the loss.

He said: "I think this will give us some positives to work on.

"We dominated last year in the Inter Services and we have come here to be brought down a peg or two.

"That is good going forward. We don’t want to get on a pedestal and think we are there to stay.

"We will get back into camp now, start doing the conditioning and see where we go from there."

Elsewhere on Saturday, the Navy were dumped out at home to West Hull, while the RAF progressed to the second round with victory over North Herts Crusaders.