Cup Final Winners
Year 7 White Rose Tournament
Following the victory in the Yorkshire Cup Final the week before, the Year 7 squad travelled to Guiseley School in anticipation of a tough series of matches in what was the culmination of the regional Emerging Schools tournaments. On a small pitch, the Rodillian Academy team faced a tough team from Brighouse School whose defence offered stiff resistance to the expansive game the Academy preferred to play. However, after a series of phases, the ball was moved through several sets of hands, releasing Naughton to power through over the line.
From the kick off, Will Sheen demonstrated what an elusive and dangerous runner he is as he weaved his way past several defenders before setting up Harry Peach to cross the line. However, the side from The Rodillian Academy, perhaps still in a daze from the previous week’s historic victory, struggled to dominate the contact area and the opposition made it very difficult for the Rodillian Academy side to generate continuity and build the phases. The Rodillian Academy came away 15 – 5 winners.
Rodillian Academy then faced a strong team from Guiseley School who offered determined and physical opposition, particularly at the breakdown. The counter rucking and aggression of the opposition through the contact area seemed to surprise many of the Rodillian Squad members and although the ball was still being moved well through the hands, the Academy side struggled to keep hold of the ball at the contact area. Although going into the half time break up on the score board, the second half was a disappointment with the opposition outscoring the Rodillian Academy side and teaching the squad members a number of lessons at the contact area which the team must learn from.
The final result of 20 – 5 does not reflect the extremely physical nature of the match. The final match of the tournament saw the Rodillian Academy side face a team from Ripon Grammar school who have a long and prestigious pedigree of success within the Emerging Schools tournaments. The Rodillian Academy side started the brighter and never looked liked relinquishing their early lead which came from a super solo try from Will Sheen. The 15 – 0 final score line was a superb end to what had proven to be a long and tiring series of fixtures. The Year 7 squad had won this tournament with impressive performances within three tournaments throughout the season. With one fixture remaining against an unknown team from Craven School, the Year 7 squad hope to cap off what has been a superb season within this new code of rugby.
Year 8 White Rose Tournament
The U13 Rodillian Squad finally arrived at a wet and cold pitch at Prince Henry’s, Otley to play in the Final of the Emerging Schools White Rose Festival.
The Festival signals the culmination of a series of fixtures against local emerging Rugby Union Schools as the RFU looks to introduce Rugby Union into the heartlands of what have traditionally been Rugby League Strongholds.
Rodillian started the festival brightly, defeating a strong side from Rossett School with stand out performances from Callum Canning, Mason Stolycia and Sam North. With little rest, the squad then faced a pumped up team from Ilkley Grammar School who crossed the Rodillian line early on in the game. However, with strong carries from Rhys Owen and Morgan Dennison, and excellent leadership from captain Sam Patterson, Rodillian began to build the phases and soon crossed the line with a superb break from the outstanding Rodillian stand-off, Mason O’Malley.
The Rodillian side eventually proved too strong for the side from Ilkley, coming out eventual winners. The Rodillian team then faced a team from Prince Henry’s who were keen to beat the Rodillian team following our victory over them a few weeks previously. However, in the knowledge that the winner of this game would progress to the Final, the Rodillian team produced some outstanding rugby. With powerful drives by the forwards and excellent distribution from Newell, Howarth and O’Malley, Ben Roberts was able to make impressive in-roads into the heart of the Prince Henry’s defence. North once again led the tackle count and Ablett and Fieldhouse also worked hard around the park. The victory over Prince Henry’s meant the Rodillian side would now face their nemesis this season – A strong Ripon Grammar School side who had previously defeated the Rodillian side on two previous occasions.
However, Rodillian started the stronger, dominating the contact area and playing the conditions well with impressive kicks to the corners which pinned the Ripon side back in their own half. Neither side could really assert their dominance on the game. But, as the referee awarded Ripon a penalty for an infringement at the contact area in front of the posts in the dying minutes, the Rodillian side feared the worst. However, the missed kick gave the Rodillian Academy a life line and the final few minutes witnessed some impressive defensive and attacking play from both sides. It could be argued that a draw was a fair result for both sides who had given their all. However, the boys from Rodillian were disappointed not to come away out-right winners.
Congratulations must go to all of the players who have contributed and played for the school team this season and a big thank you to all of the parents who came along to support us on what was a pretty bleak day.
Yorkshire Cup Final
The squad arrived at The Rodillian Academy in preparation for the Final in high spirits. An air of excitement filled the room ahead of the team meeting and the motivational comments and match details discussed by the players within the meeting signalled the squad’s intent to win the Final against Prince Henry’s Grammar School, and win it in style – which they did.
The Rodillian Academy started well, with superb carries from Peach, Naughton and wingers Phillips and Sheen.
For the first time this season, the Rodillian forwards dominated the contact area and the quick ball produced allowed the outstanding backline to fire. The first ten minutes witnessed four classic Rodillian tries; accurate and dynamic rucking followed by a superb transfer of the ball across the backline to score on the wing. Naughton scored a superb solo try, exploding through the middle to score from first phase following a dominate scrum within the Prince Henry’s 22m area.
Prince Henry’s had a spell where they piled pressure on the Rodillian line, but superb defence from Wain, Kibidi and Peach ensured Prince Henry’s had to work incredibly hard within every facet of the game. Key messages were relayed to the team at half time, with a focus on reducing the penalty count and ensuring we continued to work hard to support the ball carrier as we aimed to produce fast ball at ruck time. With Shackleton counter attacking in his usual flamboyant style, well supported by Hagan, Lunn and Naughton, the Rodillian attacking machine began to fire again and the score line steadily ticked over.
The try of the match came following a long range clearance from the Prince Henry’s stand off. Shackleton gathered, and rather than clearing the ball into touch as the kick chase closed in around him, he stepped through the defensive line as if possessed by the legendary Jason Robinson and accelerated into space. Off-loading out of a tackle the ball was transferred through several sets of hands, making its way from the left touch line to the midfield before Peach, Hagan and Naughton transferred the ball to the excellent Philips to sprint up the right touch line. As Philips was tackled he managed to off-load the ball to Shackleton who was there to finish the attacking move he had started on his line thirty seconds earlier.
The coaches, parents and the large number of staff who had travelled to support the squad were incredibly proud of the team’s performance and the professional manner in which the team conducted themselves. Mention was made during the presentations to the potential this team has in reaching numerous finals in the future based upon the quality of players and the work rate and discipline of this team. Captain, Ellis Smithson led the team superbly well and his after match speech was outstanding; thanking QEGs for hosting the tournament and the supporters for their enthusiastic encouragement throughout the game.
Special mention must also go to the Prince Henry’s squad who never gave up and who forced The Rodillian team to produce their best performance of the season. Every single member of the squad played incredibly well and there were numerous nominations for Man of The Match. However, Harry Peach carried, tackled and supported the ball throughout the game, scoring a plethora of tries from the Number 8 position which he had never played before.
Final score 54 – 5