3vSport Midlands Rugby League Origin Day
The 3vSport Midlands Rugby League Origin Day produced another marquee event in the Midlands region, with the best junior playing talent on display representing the East and West Midlands. With a number of professional clubs in attendance, all of whom expressed interest in a number of players, the 2011 event confirmed the Midlands as a region of untapped Rugby League talent.
“We were highly delighted with the event as a whole” said David Butler, Regional Manager for the RFL. “The central focus is of course on the games being played, but the atmosphere and attendance were both excellent, with over 500 people in attendance throughout the day, it shows that Rugby League has a healthy following in this area of the country.
“The event of course would not be possible without the commitment of the players, but also the volunteer coaches and helpers on the day who made the event run so well. We are very pleased to have staged such an excellent event and we hope that it will build year on year as the game continues to grow.”
As part of the event, an Under 13s girls competition took place in aid of Cancer Research. Dubbed “Rugby League For Life” the girls arrived and completed their warm ups in fancy dress, which included chicken costumes, clowns and lots of pink colours on display by both players and coaches alike. The combined Wolverhampton and Telford Schools team took the honours for the day, but Derbyshire Schools were worthy opponents, with all players enjoying the day.
The Under 13s boys showcased the Midlands Rugby League’s Small Sided Games programme, before commencing the 13-aside game. With a light shower keeping a cool on the proceedings, a lost ball from the East Midlands gifted the West some great field position, and the Yellows built a strong platform of attack. After turning over, the Yellows demonstrated their strong defence, forcing the Easts into touch. From the scrum, Ethan Priest found his way across the line to open the scoring for Wests.
The restart saw Easts surging through, only to have a score ruled out. With the Wests in possession they threw the ball about wildly, gifting possession to the Blues, with Gabe Ward capitalizing on the opportunity to add his name to the team sheet.
A barnstorming run from both the Wests front rowers bought the Yellows a further advantage, allowing Sebastian Dean-Smith to cross, before Easts put together a great kick through which Jack Spurr grounded to keep the scores level.
Dean-Smith notched up his brace shortly afterwards, again on the back of strong forward running – but the Easts clawed themselves back again on the back of a weaving run by Sam Attfield-Pinnock.
As the game entered the latter stages, it was all to play for, with both sides producing some entertaining Rugby League to the delight of the crowd. Ethan Priest nosed the Wests ahead again, but the Easts fought back to level things after another master stroke kick which allowed Attfield-Pinnock to add his second. A frantic final minutes saw the ball go from both ends of the field, but neither side broke the deadlock at the final whistle.
East: Ward (7), Spurr (11), Attfield-Pinnock (13, 20)
West: Priest (4, 14), Dean-Smith (9, 12)
The Under 14s encounter served up another entertaining game, but despite the one sided score-line players shone for both sides in the contest. It was a nightmare beginning for Easts who fumbled the ball from the kick-off, however they made up for it, defending their line for the ensuing set of six to keep the Wests at bay. A flat pass saw the Easts break the line after the turnover and a kick on the last allowed Billy Stark to gather the ball to score.
The determined Wests came back, with the half-backs playing well off the back off some good forward drives. The exchanges were dealt with well by both sides, with pressure being built by both sides, using clever plays and blind side options to try and break through.
Jake Pilgrim created an over-lap for Easts out wide for their second try, but the Wests came back almost straight away with through Andy Permaph, scoring out wide to finish a quality move from the scrum by the Yellows.
Duell Trueman was next to score, taking Harry Stevenson’s offload to keep the Easts ahead. Wests kicked off short, but failed to capitalise, and the Easts stormed up field, turning over on the goal-line, pinning the Wests in their own half. Ben Doxey charged down the Wests kick, jinking through the line.
Wests were not done, and as half time drew near, Andy Permaph added a second score, giving Wests hope for the second half.
Easts opened the scoring in the second half with another over-lap created allowing Callum Hallows to cross. High intensity Rugby followed, with a number of breaks defended well. A sustained period of flowing Rugby saw neither side with an advantage until Joe Richards gave Wests hope of staging a comeback, ploughing over in the corner.
Wests props began doing some damage up the middle with incisive runs into the Easts defence, but from a penalty Callum Hallows found his way over the line again to round of the scoring.
East: Stark (4), Pilgrim (11), Trueman (16,18), Doxey (21), Hallows (29, 45)
West: Permaph (15, 24), Richards (39)
West Midlands had the upper hand in the Under 15s game, but as with the previous match, both sides served up an entertaining game.
It took nine minutes before the deadlock was broken, after both sides had chanced their arms in the opening stages. Ben Gray weaving through the defence to scorch in for a try. Three minutes later Joe Furlong evened up the scores off the back off a scrum move.
Josh Gorman was in receipt of Smart’s pass who found space after receiving a fine cut out pass from McGinn to inch the West’s in front. Bailey kept the Easts in the picture after pouncing on a lost ball to make the line and a minute later opened up a gap for Zak White to prosper from, moving the Easts into the lead at half time.
With Easts defending their goal line early in the second half, a spilled ball allowed Nathan Smart to add his name to the team sheet, starting the Yellows comeback. Shortly afterwards Ross McGinn crashed through the Blues line and with the floodgates now open, Reece Chapman added two scores to break the Easts hearts.
The game finished with a flourish, with Josh Gorman rounding off the scoring after taking a superb kick to the corner.
East: Gray (9), Bailey (21), White (22)
West: Furlong (12), Gorman (17, 44), Smart (27), McGinn (30), Chapman (31, 38)
The Academy game also went the way of the West Midlands, however with both teams meeting again in September in a bid to stake their claim for a Midlands shirt, Easts will be looking for revenge.
Adam Barnett opened the scoring for Wests, sailing through the Blues line. With the Easts unable to maintain possession, Harry Marks added a further score for the Yellows. Next in was John Hale, wriggling out of the tackles at the line.
Easts seemingly clicked into gear fifteen minutes into the game, putting together some better plays, but the West defence was solid as a rock to keep them at bay.
Danny Gover fired back at the Blues to put them four scores in front and with a whitewash looking on the cards, the Easts stepped up their game forcing Wests to drop out twice. With the pressure built, Lewis Bowman got the Easts off the mark and with the half almost over, Seb Clark collected Joe Frobisher’s quick pass to give the Easts hope for the second half.
Wests started the second half as they did the first, with quick-fire tries from John Hale and Lewis Beatty. Hale claimed his hat-trick shortly afterwards.
Easts were still not done and pressure the Wests line. They built a solid platform after Wests tried to turn on the style too much, with the ball going a little too far forward for the officials’ liking. However, Jake Pratley scorched in for a great solo effort before Danny Gover added a further score to put the game beyond doubt.
A feisty end to the game saw a player from each side dispatched to the sin bin, before Ben Young secured a consolation score for the Easts at the stroke of time.
East: Bowman (25), Clark (28), Young (59)
West: Barnett (4), Marks (7), Hale (10, 34, 41), Gover (19, 55), Beatty (39), Pratley (50)
Match Reports & Stats by Simon Wilson