A Rugby League team from Northumberland have impressively defeated a leading French side in Perpignan.
Spending a week on tour in Catalan, Cramlington Rockets’ U15s have mixed business with pleasure, combining warm weather training with a trip to watch the Betfred Super League clash between Catalan Dragons and Hull FC and other fun activities.
The focus of the week was their match against Ille-sur-Tet on Wednesday. The French side presented a significant challenge having recently completed the double, most recently lifting the National Trophy after beating Carcassone.
The prize on offer was the Jean Galia Cup, named after the French international born in the town that is credited with introducing rugby league to France in the 1930s.
However, with several good training sessions under their belts, the Rockets were in confident mood and keen to extend their unbeaten run from the North East league.
Despite a late kick off, it was still a warm evening and both benches were fully utilised.
With a vocal following, the Rockets found themselves in an arm wrestle for much of the first half, the home side dishing out an abrasive welcome to their guests.
The Rockets persevered, though and with Alex Donaghy chipping in with an impressive four tries, the Rockets managed to edge ahead and stay there, winning the match 32-22 and claiming the Jean Galia Cup to wild scenes.
The victory marks the first international success for the Rockets since 2001 when, as Killingworth Rockets, they defeated Glasgow to lift the Calcutta Cup in a cross-border competition.
Speaking as his side enjoyed a recovery session in the Mediterranean Sea the following morning, Coach Jordan Robinson was thrilled at the whole experience:
“The lads were outstanding last night,” he said. “It was so impressive how they played for each other and really stepped up.
“It should stand us in good stead to finish the league season on a high.”