Cardiff Demons have faced selection problems for their Powergen Rugby League Challenge Cup match against Walney Central at Taff's Well this Sunday at 1.30pm - they have too many fit players!
The Demons are aiming to become the first Welsh side to win a Challenge Cup match in five years and will go into this crucial tie with a virtually full-strength side with only Idris Evans and Glen Phillips out of the side with long-term leg injuries.
Coach Wayne Williams comments, "There were a few disappointed players at training on Wednesday night. The Challenge Cup is rugby's oldest knockout tournament so it's natural that everyone would want to have a chance to make history. I have fond memories of the Cup run five years ago. We created a few shocks then by getting to the Third Round and we hope to do just as well if not better this year."
There are just three changes to the starting line up from the team who won last year's Total RL.com Conference Shield. Lewis Francis replaces Pete Moore, who has since signed for Sheffield Eagles, while new signings Matt Jackson and Andrew Bond both make their debuts after impressing for UWIC recently. Pete Gooding, one of just four players in Sunday's side who starred in that 1999-2000 Challenge Cup run has just completed a year on loan to Swansea Valley Miners and is named as one of the substitutes.
Opponents Walney Central play in the northern-based National Conference League Division One during the winter months. Currently fifth in a 13-team Division, they are pushing hard for promotion to the Premier Division after being relegated from there two years ago. Men to watch include tough hooker, Andy Clough, who has been a revelation since joining the Cents in the summer and former Hull and Workington full-back Jamie Smith who now plays at centre.
The Demons will donate all gate receipt profits to the Tsunami Earthquake Appeal. A raffle will also be held for the cause while fans are also invited to have their photos taken with the Welsh and National Conference Shield trophies that the club won last season. Photos cost just ?3 each and all money is again donated to the Tsunami Appeal.
Sunday 16 January 2005 Powergen Rugby League Challenge Cup - Preliminary Round - Cardiff Demons v Walney Central - kick-off 1.30pm (at Taff's Well RFC)
CARDIFF DEMONS: Matt Jackson, Andrew Bradshaw, Rhodri Thomas, Neil Thomas, Andrew Bond, Gareth Jones, Lewis Francis, Dave Roberson, Mark Bow, Graham Hughes, Mark Dando, Anthony Loxton, John Byers. Subs: Pat Howell, Pete Gooding, Dewi Scourfield, Wayne Williams.
WALNEY CENTRAL: Paul Eacott, Michael Ray, James Finch, Graham Newby, Liam Finch, Andy Herbert, Danny McBain, Andy Clough, Ryan Wood, Jamie Smith, Anthony Horton, Gareth Kerr, Shaun Hearn. Subs: Damian Hornby, Paul Bell, Mark McKinley, Dave Warne.