THEY have welcomed professional sides like Hunslet and Wakefield Trinity to Devonshire Road for cup ties in the past, and now Millom will add to that legacy with the visit of Red Star Belgrade.

Last Friday’s Challenge Cup draw saw the world’s oldest amateur rugby league team paired with the Serbian side for the first round at the end of next month, with Red Star being the newest entrants to the competition.

Former player and now committee member Gary Kelly has been involved in many big matches for the Woolybacks, and is savouring the chance to see the current generation lock horns with a team which bears the name of one of the most famous organisations in world sport.

“It’s another piece of Millom’s rugby league history,” said Kelly. “We’ve got a great history; we claim to be the oldest amateur rugby league club in the world and we’ve played in the Challenge Cup.

“We’ve played Hull at The Boulevard and had Wakefield down here (in the John Player Trophy). We’ve got a good history and this is going to add to it.

“This would be right up there. I don’t know how to describe it, but hopefully it will be a really great day for Millom Rugby League.”

The two clubs are already working closely together, with Millom secretary Dave Warren having wasted little time in getting in touch with Red Star to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.

The Serbian side are due to be in the UK for four days and the tie has now been confirmed for Sunday, January 27 with a 1.30pm kick-off.

It forms part of a big weekend for the sport in South Cumbria, with Barrow Raiders facing Super League champions Wigan Warriors in their final pre-season match ahead of the 2019 Betfred Championship on Saturday, January 26.

And Kelly believes it presents a rare opportunity for both Millom and rugby league in the area as a whole.

“It’s a big stronghold, is the Barrow & District area, and South Cumbria is a rugby league-orientated area,” said Kelly. “It’s only promoting the game even more.

“These opportunities coming along to play teams like that only once in a lifetime and you could possibly have 500 to 1,000 people there watching.

“Amateur rugby league lads don’t get that opportunity week in, week out.”