Emerging in the North West
Nine teams from across the North West travelled to Philips High School in Bury to take part in the NW Y10 Emerging Schools festival.
In the group stages, Sir Thomas Boteler of Warrington were the early pace setters in Group A, with free flowing Rugby League and tough defence seeing them past the resilient Westhoughton and Walkden. Our Ladys of Oldham proved the sternest test in the final game, as the tackles got tougher, with big hitter Casey from Our Ladys leading the way. Boteler had just enough to see the game out and set up a semi final with Wright Robinson.
Group B saw hosts Philips High progress as group winners, after professional victories against all 4 teams in their group. The race for the other semi final spot was very close with Siddal Moor of Rochdale just edged out on points difference by Wright Robinson, despite beating them 3-2 in the early rounds.
The semi finals continued at a frantic pace. Boteler went into an early 2-0 against Wright Robinson, before a serious injury to Ryan stopped play. The Wright Robinson players, in a very sporting gesture, agreed to hand the game to the impressive Boteler, shaking hands and wishing them and the injured Ryan all the best for the final.
In the other semi, Walkden and Philips were exchanging fierce blows, with both sets of forwards leading the way. With the game poised at 2-2, it was Walkden who scored in the closing minutes, only for Philips to go straight down the other end and score. The game entered Golden Point and as the nerves kicked in, Philips knocked on the kick off, but managed to defend 3 back to back sets, only to turn the ball over cheaply again and have to defend another 3 sets. It was on the final tackle of this set that Benn of Walkden crashed over from close range, much to the disappointment of the large home crowd that had gathered.
The final looks set to be a humdinger as Walkden High, beaten by Boteler 3-1 in the group stages, look to overturn the Warrington School and earn there place in the Carnegie Champion Schools competition in 2011.
The final will now be played at Bloomfield Rd, Blackpool, as a curtain raiser to the Northern Rail Cup final on the 17th July.