Blues clinch inaugural Rockets Origin Shield

Victorious Blues captain Tom Wilcox, left, with Maroons captain Ollie Gowing and the Rockets Origin Shield.
Victorious Blues captain Tom Wilcox, left, with Maroons captain Ollie Gowing and the Rockets Origin Shield.

Victory over the Maroons meant the Blues won Cramlington Rockets’ inaugural Origin Shield, taking the three-match series 2-1.

An unseasonably warm day saw the North Tyneside Blues lift the shield against the Northumberland Maroons.

Played over three matches in the close season, the Maroons and Blues were selected from Northumberland-based club Cramlington Rockets’ U15s and U16s based on where they live.

Based on the famed Australian State of Origin series, it was the chance for the players to earn some bragging rights from their team-mates and start what will hopefully become an annual event.

The first game in September saw the Maroons comfortably win 36-24 and leave the Blues with it all to do in October’s game two.

A tight affair was decided by the boot and the Blues pulled the series back with a 34-32 win, silencing the confident Maroons and meaning the winner would take all in game three.

With wet weather delaying the fixture initially, the final game was held last week and it was the Blues who won 38-30 to secure the Shield, with the Blues’ Tom Wilcox putting in another impressive display to be named man of the series.

“It’s been a fantastic start to what will hopefully become a regular fixture in the calendar,” said Rockets coach and series creator Danny Gilroy.

“Both age groups are very close and very talented and have relished the chance to play against their mates.

“State of Origin is one of the biggest rugby league events in the world and it has been great to be able to replicate it in our own small way.”

Club chairman Jeff Ball added: “We are extremely grateful to Danny for organising it all.

“His passion for the concept has been carried across both teams and their supporters and everyone has really enjoyed it.

“The specially commissioned strips were well received when they revealed, both in design and the fact they bore the Teenage Cancer Trust logo, a charity close to the club’s heart.

We are already looking forward to next year and I’m sure everyone involved will make it even bigger and better.”