Navy gunning for repeat feat in national cup

Darren Bamford scores one of his three tries for Royal Navy against Leigh Miners last year    Picture: Mick Young
Darren Bamford scores one of his three tries for Royal Navy against Leigh Miners last year Picture: Mick Young
Dylan Raubenheimer. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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The magic of rugby league’s prestigious Challenge Cup returns to Portsmouth tomorrow.

The Royal Navy open their campaign against top amateurs visitors Skirlaugh, from Hull, at Burnaby Road (2pm).

The navy’s rugby league team – known as the Brothers – are looking to repeat last season’s heroics that saw them beat Leigh Miners, before exiting the competition against Championship hosts Hunslet Hawks.

To get to within one game of possibly meeting Super League opponents was a fantastic achievement for the navy.

Skirlaugh play in the top tier of the amateur game, the National Conference Premier League, and will present the Brothers with a stiff test.

Brothers coach Danny Johnson is boosted by the return of several first-team regulars to his training camp, notably centre Darren Bamford.

Bamford scored a hat-trick of tries in last season’s sensational win over Leigh Miners.