Millom Rugby League Club are entering their 145th year of existence, the oldest club in rugby league so maybe their visitors for the First Round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup can tap into this experience.
Strathmore Silverbacks were formed just three years ago in 2015 and they will take on the National Conference side. It will certainly be a great day out for the side based in Forfar in Scotland and who won the 2017 Caledonian Brewing Co. National League Grand Final after beating Edinburgh Eagles 32-30.
The club have come a long way in such a short time and will want to give a good account of themselves in their first, hopefully not their last, Challenge Cup experience. They were formed by former Gateshead Thunder hooker Dave Vernon and ably assisted by Strathmore Rugby Union Club.
Their debut season saw them win the Edinburgh Nines and finish runners up to Aberdeen Warriors in the league, even beating the champions 39-32 in the last game of the season. The following season again saw them runners up to the Warriors in both the league and Grand Final play off but 2017 was their year.
So what do the Silverbacks, named after the Silverback Gorilla which adorns their club crest, hope to gain from this game?
Club spokesperson Stuart Gray told League Weekly:
It’s a great opportunity for us to develop as rugby league team and for the club to gain some publicity. Hopefully it provides a platform for us to grow and develop.
He added: “The players are really looking forward to testing themselves against an experienced side in Millom a club steeped in rugby league history. We’ve been very lucky the rugby union club have bought into what we are trying to achieve and that players are willing to give it a go.
“On the pitch it has been a great way for players to develop and improve and the help from Scotland Rugby League through the Development Officer has created a real buzz.”
The Scottish side will certainly make sure Millom are in a game as they have some great stars of the future. They are captained by Glenn Feighan and have in their ranks Ali Oliver, Niall Hall and Murray Mitchell who are in the Scotland Under 23 Commonwealth Championships squad for February.
National Conference side Millom, who will next season play their rugby in Division Three of the competition, will not be taking this game lightly. They will know what will need to be done again very unknown opposition.
Mark Chestney| @mchezza59