Rugby League

RAF Lose In Challenge Cup Second Round

They were the final military side left in the tournament, but have been defeated in Cumbria.

The RAF have been knocked out of the Challenge Cup in the second round after a 14-6 loss to Distington.

The Airmen have never made the third round and that run will go on for another year after their defeat in Cumbria.

The loss means there are no military teams left in the competition after defeats for the Army and Navy in the first round.

Distington reached the third round in the competition last year but are currently among the lowest ranked amateur teams in the second round.

They made the perfect start to the game.

With just eight minutes played, Phil Lester drove over the line to a big cheer from the home fans for an unconverted try.

The RAF came back strong though.

Jack Prentice scored the winning try and is a bright young hope for the Distington team.

A great steal from Clarke McAllister had the Distington defence struggling and it was Adam Flyntham who scored a score-levelling try.

Simon Wray showed composure to convert the resulting kick, despite the heavy Cumbrian winds that were swirling around the ground.

With the score at 6-4, the Forces side were in the driving seat but not for long.

A handling error gave possession back to Distington and Ryan Hodson fed Bryan Richie to score an important converted try.

In the second half, the RAF had to battle a tough Distington defence, as well as the loss of McAllister after a sin bin.

In the end, it was the home side who scored the vital try, albeit in a controversial fashion.

Scott George’s pass looked to go forward, but despite the RAF’s claim and the decision for a foul by the linesman, the referee let play go on.

The phase of play ended with teenager Jack Prentice sneaking over the line to give Distington an uncatchable 14-6 lead.

RAF Captain Sergeant James Hutchinson Credit BFBS.jpg
RAF captain Sergeant James Hutchinson saw the difficulties of playing

After the match, Distington’s captain Scott George discussed the difficulty of coming up against the RAF.

He said: “There was a few 50-50s that could have gone either way. They are great side and bossed very well.

“When the draw was made, we were expecting a big physical side and we got it.”

Meanwhile, RAF skipper James Hutchinson was disappointed with the loss.

He said: “It was a really tough game. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out on top but it was a good spectacle.

“We had worked hard into the wind and they threw everything at us. We had come through a bit of adversity but they scored at the end of the half.

“They came out and really came at us in the second half.”