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Last Updated: Friday, 26 August 2005, 05:57 GMT 06:57 UK
Lost in transit
By Julian Shea

FifeCastlefordHalifaxCardiffWest LondonSouth London

All roads lead to the Millennium Stadium on Saturday for the Powergen Challenge Cup final, the biggest day-out in rugby league's calendar.

The BBC Sport website's own Road to Cardiff has included stops at Fife, London (twice), Castleford (twice), Halifax, Leigh and Hull.

Here, we catch up with the lower league teams to see how they have fared since we encountered them.


Preliminary round: Fife Lions

"It was a good season. We were beaten only once in the Scotland Rugby League Summer Conference, in the Grand Final, where we lost 56-46 to Royal Scots Steelers. Even then we had three of our best players away on international duty and our Scotland pro player Andrew Brown stretchered off after 20 minutes.

"The season has been a sharp learning curve for the whole team, but we're looked at things in a positive light.

"Next season, it'll be onwards and upwards - we've had four players play for Scotland Amateurs and we're awaiting to see who will get selected for the European Confederations Cup squad in November.

"We look forward to regaining the championship next season and being in the Challenge Cup again. "

Fife coach Scott McGilvray


First round: West London Sharks

"We finished second in the Premier Conference South, beat Ipswich in the play-offs but then lost in the final to South London Storm 24-6.

"Our junior teams are still flourishing, our women's team won their competition in their debut season, and some of them even represented London and the South East against Lancashire and Yorkshire.

"Next season we're hoping to carry on with Mark Barnes as coach and attract new players who are maybe over in London for a year or two as well as hold on to those we've already got.

"We've got a good core of local players, but we could still do with finding a replacement for sometime Sharks player Trevor Leota!"

West London player Mick Whitehead


Second round: South London Storm

"We finished champions of the Rugby League Conference Southern Premiership, only lost one game out of 16, scored over 700 points and only conceded 118.

"We beat West London to go through to the National Conference semi-final, where we lost 34-18 to Bridgend, who are moving up to National League Two next season.

"We fielded a second senior team in the Rugby League Conference, which is one level below us, and also nine junior teams through our three feeder clubs.

"The weekend we won the Grand Final, two players who came through our junior ranks played for the Broncos Academy while two more played semi-professional for North London Skolars in National League Two.

"We also had 10 players representing the club at training camps for the junior level national representative sides. All in all, it's been a really successful season for the club."

South London chairman Paul Brown


Third round: Castleford Lock Lane

"We finished eighth in National Conference League One last season and the new campaign starts again in September.

"At times last season we were struggling for players, so we blooded some of the youngsters when it was clear that the top three had run away with the promotion places.

"Matt Crowther was our coach when we were in the Cup, but he's training to be a physio and couldn't commit time-wise, so the new coach is Mick Bamford, who also coaches Wakefield's academy players."

Castleford Lock Lane fan Gareth Athorn


Fourth round: Castleford Tigers

"After that Cup defeat by Halifax, our season went very well. We had a long winning run, which included revenge on Halifax in the league, that only ended when we played Rochdale on 10 July.

"The following week we got to Northern Rail Cup final but lost that. Since then our form has been mixed to say the least.

"Thankfully because we've won so many games we are safely near the top of National League One and it looks like we're going to finish second, which would ensure a home draw in the play-offs.

"Those two Cup setbacks seem to have shaken us, but we're confident now we're at the business end of the season. We're confident lads will recover their form."

Castleford press officer Dave Smart


Fifth round: Halifax

"We're doing a lot better at this point that we were doing at the same point last season. At least we're in play-off contention at the right end of the National League One table.

"With three regular season games to go, we're in fourth place. Two teams will be coming down from Super League, but due to expansion only one will be going up from our division.

"We've had our ups and downs, but the most important thing was that we wanted to be in the mix at the end of the season. That's the way things are looking at the moment."

Halifax coach Anthony Farrell




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