Challenge Cup recap: Orrell St James and Wigan St Patricks bow out in the first round

Both Orrell St James and Wigan St Patricks bowed out of the Challenge Cup over the weekend - but not without doing themselves and the town proud.
Army Rugby League came from behind to beat Orrell St James (Credit: Brian King)Army Rugby League came from behind to beat Orrell St James (Credit: Brian King)
Army Rugby League came from behind to beat Orrell St James (Credit: Brian King)

Orrell attracted a bumper crowd of around 1,500 for the visit of Army Rugby League, with fans still queuing to get in moments before kick-off.

“We had to open a couple of extra gates to get people in, it was brilliant," said head coach Sean McHugh.

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"Going in the bar after, everyone was local, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I knew nearly all of them. It was a strange and fantastic atmosphere.

Orrell St James (credit Brian King)Orrell St James (credit Brian King)
Orrell St James (credit Brian King)

“With it being the first really big occasion at our home ground with the new facilities, it was fantastic.

"The actual game became irrelevant, as stupid as it sounds, but it was more about having the chance for the community to get behind us and showcase the club to them.

“Financially it was a really good day and will help us to develop, because all the money will go back into the club.

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"We’ve got a few little jobs that need doing, and what we made will enable us to get those done.

“I’d like to thank Ince Rose Bridge for supplying the scoreboard.

"They phoned us up midweek asking if we wanted it. There wasn’t any charge, it was just something one community club did for another to try and make it a better experience.”

Orrell even led 10-0 until the latter stages, before their opponents produced a late comeback to win 18-10.

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“The lads gave 100 per cent," said McHugh. "We got a few serious injuries near the end that disrupted us.

"Their tries were down to concentration, which was probably because of a bit of fatigue and players having to go in different positions.

“Every one of them left something on the pitch, so there’s nothing we could’ve changed.

"A lot of those lads had been working during the week to get the club ready, so it wasn’t just about playing.

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"I’m proud of how they conducted themselves leading up to it.”

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Elsewhere on Saturday, Andy Gregory’s first game in-charge of St Pats ended in a 36-22 defeat at Rochdale Mayfield.

Despite scoring some superb tries in a thrilling game, a slow start gave Mayfield an 18-0 lead, which gave the visitors too much of a mountain to climb.

Gregory wants to see his side learn from the game and improve.

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He said: “I didn’t enjoy it because we lost, and I want to get that mentality into our players.

"I hate losing, I always have done. I want my team to be winners. We’re not going to go anywhere when we give teams 18-point starts.

“We bombed a chance to go level, and I think if we had taken that, we would’ve gone on and won the game.

"I know we’re not going to win the Challenge Cup, but I want us to play to win, not just to make the numbers up.

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“We’ll take all the positives on board and try our best to address the negatives, which once we have out our game, will make us a better team.

"Rugby league is a physical game where you’re going to get injuries, so I need a strong second team squad.

“There are no favourites in the club, they will all be treated the same, I just want 100 per cent commitment because that’s what they’ll get from the coaches.

"And if they don’t want to do it then they can gladly go.

“We do need strengthening because my aim is to get them promoted back to where they were last year.”

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