BRADFORD Bulls will join the 1895 Cup at the second round stage this year, and will be hoping to avoid a long midweek trip.
The Rugby Football League (RFL) have confirmed that the second round games, which is where all the Betfred Championship sides bar London Broncos and Toulouse Olympique will join, and the quarter-finals will take place in midweek.
The cup has undergone another change too in its second season, with three community clubs from the National Conference League Premier Division joining 17 from the Championship and League One for a second opportunity in 2020 to reach Wembley.
NCL champions West Hull will join York Acorn and Underbank Rangers, who are all still in the Challenge Cup, in the first round draw, which will be held in Cumbria on March 18.
They will be joined by five clubs from League One, Barrow Raiders, Doncaster, Keighley Cougars, Newcastle Thunder and Rochdale Hornets, with all in the knowledge that four wins would secure a trip to Wembley on Saturday, July 18.
Like last year, the 12 Betfred Championship clubs who have entered the competition have been given a bye to the second round, where they will be joined by the four first round winners.
The second round draw will also be held on March 18.
The first round ties are scheduled for the weekend of April 18-19, with the eight second round ties to be played in midweek, in the week starting April 27.
The quarter-finals will be played in the week starting May 11, with both semi-finals on Sunday, June 7.
The final will again be at Wembley Stadium on Challenge Cup Final Day (July 18). The difference this year is that the game will played ahead of the Challenge Cup final, with a midday kick-off.
Mark Foster, the Chief Commercial Officer of the RFL, said: “We’ve been delighted by the positive reaction to the announcement of the new kick-off time for the final of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup at Wembley Stadium on July 18.
“The competition was…