The long road to Wembley gets under way on Saturday with the first round of the Challenge cup.

Rating Lane is the venue for an interesting game as Barrow Island face Welsh champions Rhondda Outlaws.

With no other games in the area, a large crowd is expected with Island officials hoping to make progress in the competition and cash in on the day.

Island coach Joe Elliott said: “The place is buzzing and all members of our squad are looking to book a place in the final 17.

“It will be a difficult decision in who to play and who to leave out, but that can only be good, you need competition for places.

“We are privileged to be taking part in the Challenge Cup - we were invited and accepted the offer with open arms.”

Island are training hard for the tie with the boys from the Valleys, who are taking the game seriously, as they are travelling up on Friday and returning on Sunday. It will be a first for the Island in playing a team from Wales.

Island stalwart John Jefferson said: “It is a big day for the club, the lads are going through three training sessions this week; two on the all weather pitches and the DW gym.

“We are catering for a good gate and are erecting marques with food and drink available.With no lights the kick off will be 1:30pm, in case of extra time.”

The RFL has invited amateur teams into the Challenge Cup for several decades, with most of our local teams taking part.

Walney Central were the first club to make progress into round two back in 1960, when only two amateurs teams were involved. Ironically, they met fellow amateurs Lock Lane of Castleford, winning 10-5 at Craven Park before bowing out at Oldham 55-4.

The Island took on Thatto Heath in the preliminary round in 1989, losing 11-18 at Craven Park, while in 1994 they lost 58-2 at Hunslet in round three and a year later 50-20 at Ryedale York.