A SEATON Delaval school’s girls’ rugby league team performed in the heartland of the sport last week as they represented the north east in the quarter-final round of the Carnegie Champion Schools National competition.
Astley High School Year 10s travelled to the hotbed of rugby league for the tournament at Hindley near Wigan.
Their first opponents were St Benedict’s, from Cumbria.
Astley were immediately on the defensive after nerves got the better of them as they lost possession and conceded a converted try.
Astley worked hard and gained ground and suddenly out of nowhere they scored a try to level the tie.
But in the dying seconds the Cumbrian side scored the winner as they took the game 10-6.
Next up was Orleans Park, from London. This time it was Astley who took the lead following a good, quick, flowing rugby move.
As the end of the game drew to a close Orleans scored a good try with a fine run down the wing. The conversion was the last kick of the game but was missed so the game ended in a draw.
A delayed start to Astley’s third game against Holy Cross, from the north west, appeared to to affect them and they lost 8-0.
Last up for Astley was Castleford High, from Yorkshire.
This team have a reputation which is well-deserved having been winners in their age group for the past three years.
Astley gave their all and produced some fast flowing football, and scored first to lead 6-0.
The battle was close fought but while Astley had a player down injured Castleford scored to equalise.
Both teams worked hard and played well but eventually the experience of Castleford showed and they scored a final try and conversion to win the game 12-6.
Despite not reaching the semi-finals, Astley played well and received positive comments about both their play and conduct from other team managers and officials at the event.
Their resolve is strengthened to return next year for the Year 11 event.
John Gray the RFL regional development officer for the north east said: “Astley should feel proud of their efforts over the whole competition.
“To get to the national rounds they have had to play and win tough games at a regional level, and the way they have conducted themselves over the past few months has been a credit to their school, coaches and themselves”.