The best high school rugby teams in the city did battle over the last two weeks to secure silverware in the Leeds & Hunslet Schools Cup Finals at John Charles Centre for Sport.
The finals saw the best two sides from Years 7 to 11 go head to head, with East Leeds school Brigshaw High represented in three age groups and powerhouses Corpus Christi and Crawshaw Academy both looking to achieve a double success.
With two finals evenings taking place over the past fortnight, the events showcased the region’s top rugby league talents from schools across the city and gave spectators the opportunity to experience the increasingly high standard of schools rugby league being played across Leeds.
It was the Year 8 and 10 finals which kicked off the finals programme on Wednesday 29th January, with four different schools represented on the night.
First up was the Year 8 final which saw Farnley Academy come away with a 32-24 victory despite a spirited second-half comeback from Lawnswood School, who trailed by as many as 22 points at one stage. Farnley’s Noah Broadbent was the star of the show, scoring five tries and adding three conversions in an eye-catching Man of the Match performance to help his side secure the Goldthorpe Trophy.
The Farnley youngster also took home the Ken Eyre award, presented by Phil Holmes from the Leeds Rhinos Players Association, who provided the Man of the Match awards alongside former Leeds and Hunslet RLFC player, Neil Lean.
The action continued with the second final of the evening in the Year 10 age group featuring Corpus Christi Catholic High School against Garforth Academy, who must be commended for the outstanding effort they showed throughout the match.
After a tight opening half, Corpus Christi proved far too strong for their East Leeds counterparts, running away with a 42-0 victory to win the Wilson Cup. Standout performer Lucas Green was duly awarded the David Heron Man of the Match Award for his sparkling contribution.
A week later, it was the turn of the Year 7, 9 and 11 teams, with Brigshaw fielding sides in each of the three finals against Corpus Christi and Crawshaw Academy twice.
The Year 7 final proved to be a fantastic contest to open the evening’s entertainment, with a closely fought 28-12 win for Crawshaw Academy against Brigshaw, a game swung by a hat-trick from Man of the Match Jamie Duckworth, who took home the Rob Burrow award.
In the Year 9 contest, Corpus Christi recovered from a slow start to run clear of Brigshaw to secure their second trophy in as many weeks. Two tries and an assist for Mark Nelson made him an obvious choice for the David Ward Man of the Match award.
The cap was put on another fantastic year of Leeds & Hunslet Schools Cup Finals with Brigshaw one again facing Crawshaw in a repeat of the earlier Year 7 final, providing a chance for Brigshaw to even up the score and finally get their hands on some silverware.
They duly responded to the task with a stunning performance, winning 58-0 in a one-sided affair which also saw Brigshaw student Jayden Fisher pick up the John Holmes award for his standout performance.
In attendance at the event to hand out medals to the team were Leeds Rhinos stars Callum McLelland, Rhyse Martin, Liam Sutcliffe, Muizz Mustapha and former Brigshaw student Jack Walker, who played in the competition during his school years.
Steve Boothroyd, Secretary for Leeds & Hunslet Schools’ Rugby League, commented on the importance of the competition in providing a development platform for young players in the city.
“For all the youngsters involved, it is vital that they get the opportunity to build on the skills they have learnt through the school delivery develop these skills in a match situation against the best players from across the city at this level.
“The Leeds and Hunslet Schools’ cup competitions are an ideal platform for this, as we have seen over the two finals evenings, and once again the event proved to be a great success which was enjoyed by all.”
Final Results –
Year 7 – Crawshaw Academy 28-12 Brigshaw
Year 8 – Farnley Academy 32-24 Lawnswood
Year 9 – Corpus Christi 26-16 Brigshaw
Year 10 – Corpus Christi 42-0 Garforth Academy
Year 11 – Brigshaw 58 – 0 Crawshaw Academy