National Round One Northern round-up
The National stages of the Year 10 Champion Schools competition got underway in exciting fashion at Stretford High School.
All eight matches where played on the same day in a new format which saw all the schools coming together in a celebration of Schools Rugby League.
Fittingly, the game of the day was left to the teams rounding the day off in the match between St Benedict’s (Copeland) and Great Sankey (Warrington).
In a tense first half, St Benedict’s always had the upper hand controlling the game and scoring a great try through prop Callum Kinrade who returned a goal line drop-out and ran half of the pitch to touch down under the posts.
Great Sankey found themselves defending for the majority but capitalised on St Benedict’s indiscipline which saw Sam Cruden sin binned with only minutes of the first half to go.
Great Sankey sensed an opportunity and Jack Roper crossed on the last play of the half to leave the scores tied six a-piece at the break.
Great Sankey started the second half strongly adding two quick tries through Louis Wainwright and Jordan Williams but a knock on on the restart saw Benedict’s Mark Miller power over from the scrum and close the gap to 12-18.
A tense 10 minutes saw both sides come close but a telling spell in the last 10 saw Jordan Williams grab a second and Bailey Hartley cross to give Sankey what appeared a comfortable 30-12 lead with five minutes to go.
But the tension shot up when Sankey’s Jack Roper was sin binned for a dangerous tackle with only two minutes left and St Benedict’s crossed twice in a minute, Mark Miller with his second and Sam Cruden.
St Benedict’s then had 20 seconds to force extra-time but Great Sankey held on and progress to the quarter finals with a 30-24 victory.
Earlier in the day Cameron Smith was the star for Castleford Academy scoring a hat-trick and kicking four goals in the opening match versus Wade Deacon (Halton) to succeed 34-6.
St Edmund Arrowsmith (Wigan) saw off Sirius Academy (Hull) 38-6 after a scoreless first 20 minutes with both Ethan Duffy and Dec O’Donnell grabbing hat-tricks in a devastating 25 minute spell either side of half time.
St Peter & Paul (Halton) recovered from conceding a try in the first minute to run out 40-16 winners over St John Fisher (Dewsbury) with forward Matty Walker touching down five times.
St Wilfrids (Wakefield) were too strong for a spirited Frederick Gent (Derbyshire) team touching down 11 times, St Wilfrids Callum Brain scoring a hat-trick to win 54-10.
Despite scoring two late tries St John’s (West Durham) couldn’t overcome an experienced Ulverston Victoria (Barrow) who won 76-12.
The national quarter-final draw will take place early in the New Year.
Castleford Academy 34 v 6 Wade Deacon
St Edmund Arrowsmith 38 v 6 Sirius Academy
St Peter & Paul 40 v 16 St John Fisher
St Wilfrids 54 v 10 Frederick Gent
St Johns 12 v 76 Ulverston Victoria
St Benedicts 24 v 30 Great Sankey
Hinchley Wood 24 v 16 Chosen Hill
Pencoed 60 v 22 Gilberd