Rugby League

RAF Only Service Side Through To Challenge Cup Second Round

They defeated North Herts Crusaders in the first round.

The RAF are the only service side through to the second round of the rugby league Challenge Cup after beating North Herts Crusaders in Hitchen.

On Saturday, the Navy were dumped out at home to West Hull, while the Army suffered an upset at the hands to Yorkshire minnows Bentley.

For the Airman, it was comfortable as they raced to a 22-6 victory at a windy King George V Playing Fields.

They took the lead in the first two minutes. Jiute Tupua darted through a flimsy Crusaders defence to drop in the first converted try of the match.

RAF North Herts Rugby League Credit BFBS
The Airmen will be looking to better last year's result when they enter the second round.

Minutes later, the RAF were nearly further ahead. Tupua put Harry Marks through with a good pass, but as the ball went down for a suspected try, the referee deemed the pass to have gone forward disallowing the play.

However, the Air Force would not be denied for long.

James Hutchinson’s attacking run was cut down by a good tackle but Elliot Kerry was there to pick up the pieces. He blasted through for another try, taking the score to 10-0 at half-time.

The second half continued to be more misery for North Herts. Phil Laycock was afforded the space of Hitchin to gallop through for a converted try.

Marks may have been denied by the official in the first half, but he did manage to get his name on the scoresheet in the second half. He coasted in for a converted try, which had the RAF cruising at 22-0.

The RAF were denied the perfect ending of a clean sheet however, with Oli Turner recording a consolation try and the following conversion giving a final score of 22-6.

Sgt James Hutchinson Credit BFBS.jpg
Sergeant James Hutchinson was pleased to have made it through to the second half.

For RAF player Sergeant James Hutchinson, it felt good to be the only military side to progress: "We are taking it really seriously.

"We are really proud to be able to represent the Air Force in the Challenge Cup.

"We’ve never got to the third round and that’s our goal every year.

"It’s the first step on the ladder now and we will hopefully get a good draw in the second round."

You can find out who they draw in the Challenge Cup second round on forces.net from 6pm.