SAY what you want about the Super League Grand Final and set off as many fireworks you want into the sky above the Theatre of Dreams, but for me the Challenge Cup is still the trophy with all the magic.

It is not just the showpiece finale at Wembley, it is the round by round build up, the shaking of the bag for the draw and the sudden death nature of each subsequent tie.

Saints, like all Super League sides, have one more round to sit out before the draw is made on April 8.

But Langtree Park will get no such week off with Blackbrook hosting Championship outfit York in the third round a week on Sunday.

Brook are not the only St Helens side in action with Thatto Heath making the daunting trip to renowned cup battlers and three time winners Featherstone Rovers.

We should remind ourselves that Post Office Road is one of the most intimidating venues on the circuit – a place that carries so much Challenge Cup history after twice being the graveyard of Saints’ star-studded team of the late 50s.

Last year Rovers claimed local bragging rights over Super League neighbours Castleford before giving Wigan a run for their money on that tight little pitch.

So for Heath it may not be what some would call a glamour tie, but given Rovers’ cup pedigree it is as good as a Super League clash.

It is a remarkable achievement for the town to get two amateur teams through to this stage, especially when you consider that towns like Warrington, Widnes, Bradford and Castleford have no representation at this stage of the competition.

It is an interesting draw, with the influx of the new Championship clubs Oxford, Gloucester and Hemel Hempstead giving the competition some geographical spread.

I don’t doubt there were a few at Boardmans Lane and Crusader Park with fingers crossed that they would have been paired with one of the fledgling southern teams, a tie that would have given them an even better chance of joining the draw with the Super League big boys.

Brook’s task is a repeat of the Challenge Cup tie staged at Knowsley Road in 1967, a game the Minstermen won 23-12.

It is a tough one, but not one that Mark Lee’s men will approach without hope of progressing and keeping the dream alive of meeting Saints, Wigan or Leeds in the next round.

With Saints playing Hull KR that same day, it would be absolutely fantastic if all those rugby league fans not making that long trip down the M62 got behind Brook for the day.

If you think of all the players who have come through the system at Boardmans Lane to become fully fledged Saints, this is a glorious opportunity for the St Helens sporting community to give them some pay back, both financially and in terms of providing an 18th man.

Mike Critchley