Distington hope to take their first step on the road to Wembley this weekend when they welcome Southern Conference side Bedford Tigers in the Challenge Cup.

Bedford Tigers visit Grass Road on Saturday in the competition’s first round (2pm kick-off) and the hosts will be looking to progress and move a step closer to potentially being drawn against one of the sport’s big teams when the League 1, Championship and Super League sides enter the hat in the later rounds.

Club chairman Mark Askew said: “This is our fifth consecutive year competing in the Challenge Cup and it’s always an exciting time for the players, staff and spectators.

“It brings a real buzz around the village.

“If we do well and get into the second round it’s looking like we’re going to be up against opposition from the National Conference League which is a good test.

“Eventually, like we’ve done in the past, if you perform you have the possibility of reaching the third round and getting a semi-professional team like we did the last two years.”

Regardless of the standard of the opposition, Askew said the team would be going out to win every game with progression to the next stage always the target.

“As anybody would agree, coaches and players, in no way do we ever underestimate any team and we’re always anticipating that it’s going to be a tough battle out there,” he said.

“Weather conditions aren’t great at this time of year and it can often be a bit of a leveller.

“We’ve got to take every game as it comes and go out fighting, wanting to make it to the next round.

“We’re excited for the year ahead but first and foremost we have business to take care of in the cup.”

The villagers will have 24 players to pick from for the tie but there’s a significant absentee in the front-row ranks.

BARLA international prop Bryan Ritchie has decided to have a year out.

Former coach Carl Hewer, who has taken a step back and is now assisting new man in charge Dean Wright, said: “He [Ritchie] says that he has fallen a bit out of love with the game and just wants to take a break. He’s a very good player so he hope he gets his appetite back.

“We’ve also lost a couple of lads who say they are going to concentrate on CrossFit but on the other hand there are two lads returning to the club.”

Fellow Cumbrian side Barrow Island host Rhondda Outlaws this weekend.

Workington Town enter the competition in the third round.