Everyone was really excited during rugby training last week, practising keenly in the build up to the festival! It was great to see a packed bus on Saturday morning, full of enthusiastic players and happy family members, who were ready for a full day’s rugby at Kingston Park.
After a late request from the organisers, our two sides were separated into two different groups; the ‘Vantec League’ and the ‘Port of Tyne League’. On arrival, it was very inspiring to be walking inside the stadium, knowing that the competitions would be played on the main pitch. The children were soon provided with free t-shirts, which were encouragingly in St. Bede’s yellow.
The Vantec League side were captained by Jude Connor, and they played some fantastic rugby from the very first game. The players always supported the ball carrier, made simple passes and scored plenty of tries. Everyone was equally keen to defend as a whole team. As a result, the children managed to go through their entire league campaign unbeaten, chalking up 5 wins and draw! The children claimed two wins over Hilton Academy (Blakelaw), a win and a draw against Grange First School (Gosforth) and two wins against the Vantec Barbarians. There were some close victories, such as 4-3 against Hilton, while we also came from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 with Grange First School, to clinch the title! It was a wonderful achievement to remain unbeaten. Well played Jude Connor, Ben More, Nick Campbell, Joseph Wood, Jake Clarke, Daniel Ellwood, Erin Maines, Amelia Riley and Lucy Wright!
Meanwhile, our other side were in action in the Year 4/5 Port of Tyne League. The children played with a lot of courage and never took a backward step, in what turned out to be a very challenging group. Captain Sophie Rowland led the way, by taking the game to the opposition with her skilful evasive running. The team produced some great performances, including beating a Year 6 team. They eventually finished a highly creditable runners up in the group, only finishing behind another Y6 team.
The players really rolled up their sleeves and tagged determinedly, while they pressed forward at every opportunity. Their committed play and willingness to uphold the core values of the game, earned them the prestigious ‘Spirit of Rugby Award’. In sport, you win some and you lose some, but the most important thing is to uphold the sporting values of ‘fair play’, so this was a very special award to win! Well played Sophie Rowland, Elizabeth Kilminster, Ella Wood, Alastair Moffitt, William McDougall, Jaime Freebairn-Wood, Jack Duggan, Jake Waters and Joshua Camm.
After the tournament the awards presentation took place in the East Stand. Both of our teams were presented with their award from Mike Blair, the former Scottish International and British and Irish Lions player. The St. Bede’s teams had displayed courage, resilience and skill to win both the ‘Vantec League’ and the ‘Spirit of Rugby Award’. They deservedly got great applause from their parents and crowds watching the award ceremony.
The children later went on to take part in a pre-match parade around the whole ground. They got to run around the around the perimeter of the playing field, as seven and a half thousand fans cheered for them! At half-time, our talented players got to play each other in an exciting friendly match. We ended up playing 9-a-side to get everyone involved. They fittingly played out an exciting 6-6 draw!
We then got to watch an entertaining second half, where the Falcons came from behind to secure a win, which was cheered on by the St. Bede’s families. The action packed day, resulted in a quiet return bus journey to South Shields. Thank you very much to all of the parents for supporting this event on a Saturday. Finally, congratulations to the brilliant players on your performances, conduct and success on the day!