Our thanks to Andrew Ferguson for his 2014 piece recounting the story of Edward Larkin, who among ot...
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A superb days entertainment with a large vocal crowd turning up for all four games with the caviar saved until last the game the U/18 Final.
UNDER 12 FINAL
PORTICO VINE 16 INCE ROSE BRIDGE 10
A great start to the proceedings saw the St Helens based side win this game in the closing minutes thanks to a try in the corner by there hooker and man of the match Jack Jones. At that stage the game was poised at 12-10 in there favour with Ince Rose Bridge of Wigan trying to score the decisive points.
Portico took the lead when second row forward Connor Dwyer crashed over for an unconverted try but Ince levelled the game up when prop Jonathon Turner crashed over in the corner.
Portico retook the lead when second row forward Sam Long supported the backs to go over from twenty metres and when prop Bradley Ashurst went over for there third unconverted try just before half time they appeared to have control of the game at 12-4.
But Ince responded and scored arguably the best try of the game when the ball went down the line and stand off Nathan Docherty went down the wing before cutting inside to score a 35 metre effort and he duly got his breath back to add the extras to make it 12-10.
Both sides put in big efforts to win the game with Ince close numerous times but Jones had the final say.
UNDER 14 FINAL
BLACKBROOK ROYALS 22 WEST BANK BEARS 6
There are rugby league matches when the score doesn?t reflect the game itself and this one was an example of this although Blackbrook Royals deserved the success with four superb individual tries. But a valiant West bank Bears got on the scoreboard which there efforts deserved.
After withstanding Bears pressure on there own line centre and man of the match Paul Davis opened the proceedings when from the play the ball he showed his considerable speed to scoot through the gap and 70 metres to score a converted try with stand off Daniel Crane adding the extras.
They doubled the score after superb defensive work by them when one of the tallest scrum half?s in this age group Christopher Ford went through a gap from the play the ball to go 60 metres for a try again converted by Craven. Just before half time Ford kicked a penalty to make it 14-0 to the St Helens side over the Widnes based club.
The second half was similar to the first with the Bears pressing but Blackbrook came up with the goods when Ford scored his second this time going 50 meters from the play the ball and he also added the extras. He had the chance of a hat trick when he was away again but the Bears covering defence this time got back to thwart him.
But following more pressure the Bears finally got onto the score sheet with a converted try when stand off Ben Karalius went under the posts following a penalty to make it 18-6. On the next set they continued the momentum but superb sliding Blackbrook defence forced them into touch inches from the corner.
Davis though finished off the game though for Blackbrook when he was on the end of a move and went 50 meters to score in the corner.
UNDER 16 FINAL
BLACKBROOK ROYALS 6 WIGAN ST JUDES 8
A superb advert for the game at this level in a game of two halves in this close encounter were Judes came back from 6-0 down to win 8-6 in a game that was in doubt until the final whistle.
In a superb 34 man performance this was a game between two stand offs Gary Wheeler of Blackbrook and Chris Gorrard of Judes who controlled the ball between the forwards and backs of there respective sides.
Blackbrook playing into the wind took the game to there opponents and the pressure finally told when winger Chris Vowles went in at the corner to make it 4-0. The Royals forwards tore into the Judes defence but they somehow held firm and the only other points of the half came from centre Jamie Foster to make it 6-0. Judes cause wasn?t helped in the first half when they lost the ball early in the tackle count from penalties in good position in the Blacbrook half.
The second half saw a change of fortune with Gorrard trying to cajole his side to greater heights and Blackbrook indiscipline led to Judes opening score. Following two quick penalties Judes moved up field and centre Chris Seal went over the whitewash for an unconverted try to make it 6-4.
This game was all about if and buts and Blackbrook may argue the turning point of the game came when Wheeler went for a 44 meter drop goal. They thought they had scored but the referee after consulting his linesman disallowed it. Oh for an official video referee.
Judes continued chasing the game as both sides lifted the ante and they were rewarded when substitute Barry Rothwell went in at the corner to make it 8-6.
Blacbrook came storming back and only superb covering defence stopped Wheeler meters from the line in the dying minutes. Judes held on and Gorrard rewards saw him named the man of the match.
UNDER 18 FINAL
GOLBORNE PARKSIDE 22 THATTO HEATH CRUSADERS 21
This was a magnificent finale to the days proceedings with the result in doubt to the final play of the game in a match were the lead changed four times. Golborne twice came from behind from 12-0 down to lead 14-12 and 21-14 behind to clinch the win 22-21.
It looked all plain sailing in the opening twenty minutes as Thatto Heath Crusaders from the first division of the North West Counties League lauded it over Premiership rivals Golborne Parkside. Scrum half Daniel Chantler kicked a thirty six meter penalty and converted an Alex Corke try in the corner to make it 8-0. Chantler was pulling all the strings with his passing and kicking game and it was no surprise when he went over for an unconverted try to make it 12-0.
He went off shortly after his try and this seemed to disrupt the side and Parkside came into the game and how. Second row forward and man of the match Andrew Bennett started the revival as he drove over but loose forward Nathan Bell missed the conversion. But Bell redeemed himself when he went over for there second try and added the extras. Following that centre John Parr scored the first of his brace and Parkside led 14-12.
Crusaders loose forward Andrew Stott and second row forward began to control the game though Roughley let himself down when he was sin binned. This didn?t deter the St Helens based side as winger Iain Newton scored in the corner to give them a 16-14 half time lead.
The Crusaders had the better of the early second half and fortuitously scored there fourth try through hooker Michael Smith. Inches from the Parkside line at the play the ball Smith attempted a grubber into the in goal, the ball bounced off a Parkside leg back into his arms and he burrowed over but substitute David Lowe missed the kick.
They continued to take the game to Parkside and Roughley who was superb kicked what was thought to be a decisive drop goal on the last tackle to make it 21-14.
Crusaders stand off Michael Smith had a try disallowed which proved to be a defining moment in the game as it would have given them an eleven point advantage and Parkside took advantage of the let off when Parr went in for a converted try to make it 21-20.
The tension became unbearable and ugly at times with both sides guilty of some high tackles and as a result Parkside were awarded a penalty 55 meters from the posts in the closing minutes.
Parkside with the wind at there backs elected to kick for goal and Bell struck the ball cleanly.
He was 10 meters short but Crusaders fullback Shaun Quinn knocked on and kicked the ball away. The referee penalised him and Bell kicked the goal for a one point lead.
With seconds ticking away Crusaders put a kick into the corner of the in goal and they thought they had scored the try, Parkside disputing it. The referee disallowed the try and called time on the game and Parkside ran out winners.
Video/DVD commentary of all the finals is available from Alpha Photography 01706 642446/07973 735570.