Yorkshire Schools Rugby League Cup Finals
Year 7 Castleford 18 – 34 Brooksbank
On Wednesday 5 March Featherstone Rovers hosted the Year 7. 8 and 9 Yorkshire School RL Cup finals, the first of four evenings of finals being played at the Big Fellas Stadium over the coming weeks.
The Year 7 final started proceedings with Brooksbank School of Elland in Calderdale facing the seemingly ever-present Castleford Academy.
The game was played at a frenetic pace, with both sides showing exactly why they reached the final with skill, speed and power on display in equal measures.
It was the Calderdale outfit who struck first with a length of the field effort from Fred Woodhouse, the loose-forward proving to be a handful from the first whistle.
Castleford hit back however with tries of their own to winger Oliver Price and front-rower Lewis Vickers; both tries converted by stand-off Bailey O’Connor.
With minutes to go in the first half, Brooksbank were able to capitalise on good play again from Woodhouse who set up the diminutive, yet lightning fast full-back, Will Callighan.
Brooksbank weren’t finished there however and Callighan returned the favour by setting up Woodhouse who strode over in the corner; the extra points were missed, taking the scores to 12 all at the break.
The second half was all about one team and one player however.
The strength and speed of Woodhouse was just too much for a tiring Castleford side; Woodhouse running in three more tries in spectacular fashion and setting up another for Callighan who played an excellent supporting role.
One try was converted by scrum half Jacob Gannon who did a fine job of organising the Calderdale outfit’s attacking line.
Castleford had one consolation try in the second half, courtesy of fullback Harrison Spense-Horton, converted by O’Connor.
Final Score 34-18.
Year 8 St Wilfrids 42 – 20 St Marys
The second game of the evening was a contest of a heavenly manner, as St WIlfrids of Wakefield took on St Marys College from Hull.
From the start, the two teams demonstrated this was going to be a close affair, the teams trading tries, with some outstanding line-breaks and equally impressive cover defence.
It was St Wilfrids who opened the scoring with Stand-off and Captain Henry Mitchell crossing in the corner, but slipping when attempting to convert his own score. St Mary’s hit straight back with Prop Riley Anderson barrelling his way over from close range, the conversion also missed.
St Wilfrid’s fullback Alfie Brown was the next on the scorers sheet with a nice finish in the corner, this time Mitchell was good with the extras.
Again the Hull team hit back; big centre Godwin Okolocha striding 60 meters to score out wide and Keane Lewis Potter hit a magnificent conversion from the touchline.
The scores were locked at 10-10 until it was St Wilfrids who maintained the pattern of scoring with Mitchell once again demonstrating his skills with a fine try and conversion.
This score seemed to effect the Hull outfit who made two simple errors and again Mitchell was on hand to touch down for the West Yorkshire side.
St Mary’s managed to get back on track however as Okolocha grabbed a late score under the posts which was converted to end a pulsating first half, 22-16 to St Wilfirds.
St Mary’s started the second in the same fashion, this time centre John Kalembwi showed great strength to score despite the attention of four defenders.
However this was to be the last time the Hull side would touch down, as Player of the Match Mitchell stepped up to the fore again with two more tries and an assist to halfback partner Ritchie Westwood.
Mitchel converted these and added two further penalties to take the score to a commanding fulltime score of 42-20.
Year 9 Sirius Academy 14 – 4 South Holderness
The final game of the evening was a stark contrast to the previous match, with defences on top throughout the length of the contest.
The game was a true West v East Hull derby with the physicality and intensity to match any FC vs KR match up.
The power and aggression in the tackles had the crowd and officials wincing in unison on several occasions.
Sirius Academy managed to find a chink in the South Holderness defence midway through the first half after good build up play, tireless front row Kai Thorpe barging over after hitting a short ball with a great line.
The conversion was missed and despite a couple of further opportunities for both sides, the score remained 4-0 at half-time.
The second period was much the same as the first – dominant defence nullifying the attack from both teams.
Eventually after a brief period of good field position it was a gain Sirius who managed to cross for a score, centre Josh Lomax twisting in the tackle to plant the ball down for a good finish. Harry Whittles converting.
This try seemed to spur the South Holderness outfit on and some strong carries from the South’s pack created space for centre Adam Rooks to power his way over, to the delight of his teammates.
Their jubilation and hopes of a comeback were shattered minutes later however as prop Thorpe grabbed his second four pointer of the match in similar fashion to his first, after a great ball from Player of the match, loose forward George Tyson-Wilson.