BOTH St Helens amateur sides competing in the Challenge Cup yesterday suffered exits at the opening stage of the competition.

Recs suffered a 28-18 defeat against NCL Premier Division champions West Hull – their first defeat at Ruskin since September 2018.

While there will be no repeat of last year’s giantkilling run by Thatto Heath as the Crusaders ended a difficult week by being beaten 22-16 at Thornhill Trojans.

Pilks took the lead at Ruskin with a fourth minute try from Andy Morris – but the champions have that tag that for a reason and West Hull hit back with four tries to take an 24-6 lead into the break.

A further score in the second half gave the visitors a 22-point lead.

Recs did rally towards the end with Morris grabbing his second with 13 to play.

He was swiftly followed over the whitewash after a line-breaking run from Luke Riley, with Knapper goaling both to cut the deficit to 10 points.

The visitors held on.

Neighbours Ashton Bears, coached by former Saint Phil Veivers, go into the hat for Tuesday’s round two draw after a 58-10 win at Edinburgh.