A gala day at Kingston Park stadium last Saturday saw two of Cramlington Rockets’ junior sides lift their respective North East Cups.
The Northumberland-based rugby league club had made club and North East history by having four teams featuring in Saturday’s four finals, with the U12s, U13s, U14s and U15s all appearing.
The U12s have only recently graduated to competitive matches as part of their rugby league education and are a new age group this season for the Rockets and many other North East clubs.
Taking on Gateshead Storm, there were some impressive skills on display in what was a tense match. It was only in the final five minutes that the Rockets took the lead for the first time with what proved to be the decisive try.
Despite pressure from Storm on the Rockets’ line up until the final moments, the score finished at 14-10, much to the delight of the sizeable crowd.
It was a victory made all the more impressive by the fact almost half the squad were U11s playing up a year and the Rockets had actually lost to the same side 26-0 only a week previously.
The U14s’ match proved to be less nerve-jangling but equally entertaining with the Rockets putting in their most complete performance of the season.
The 44-0 scoreline demonstrated the dominance the Cramlington team enjoyed from the off, with prop Seth Kippax-Jones celebrating his recent call up to the North East Academy with four tries and the man-of-the-match award, amongst the many highlights.
Having already secured the League Leaders’ Shield and the League Grand Final Winners trophy, lifting the Cup completed a memorable for the U14s, making them the North East’s most successful junior team this season.
The club’s U13s were less fortunate against Durham Tigers, losing 32-26 to a last minute try that gave them their second loss in a final to Durham this season despite topping the league table.
The U15s also took on the same side they played in July’s League Grand Final but could not repeat the result as Jarrow Vikings rightly won 36-12 to lift their first silverware of the year.
“We are absolutely thrilled for the U12s and U14s and congratulate Durham and Jarrow on their victories” said Rockets’ Chairman, Jeff Ball.
“The right team won in every match but overall it has been an excellent day for North East Rugby League, regardless of results. I feel terrible for the U13s and U15s. It is never nice to lose on a big occasion but they will learn from it, I’m sure.
Playing at Kington Park, the home of Newcastle Thunder has been one of the highlights of the year for many of our players. The coaches quite enjoy it too!
We have worked hard this year and seen a lot of progress throughout the club so a day like today is a nice reward for everyone involved.”