• Wed. May 22nd, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

LIONS roared with pride as they took on some of the North’s best young players after training together for just a matter of hours.

The Emmanuel Schools Foundation went on tour for the first time since the pandemic playing teams in the North East and North West as well as enjoying team-building activities in the Lake District.

U15 players were selected from four of ESF’s schools including The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham, along with Emmanuel College, Gateshead, Bede Academy, Blyth, and Trinity Academy, from Thorne, near Doncaster, to form a Lions squad.

The first fixture was against the renowned Dame Allan’s School at their home in Newcastle who remain unbeaten this year in eight games with a total points tally of 430.

A hard-fought match saw multiple tries at either end leading to a final victory to Dame Allan’s of 40-31.

Lions head coach Paul Ingham said: “Dame Allan’s are a formidable squad well deserving of their reputation, so I was absolutely thrilled to see our boys give them a good game.

“The Lions refused to give up right until the final whistle in what was a truly spirited performance. We were given such a warm welcome by Dame Allan’s and our squad was absolutely buzzing after a thrilling match.

“The Lions boys have been superb ambassadors for the Emmanuel Schools Foundation receiving comments not only on their rugby ability but also on their manners and attitudes.”

The 22-strong Lions squad travelled to Keswick in the Lake District after the match and the following day enjoyed a host of activities including canoeing, bowling and training sessions.

The following day they played Nelson Tomlinson School, Wigton, a strong side who are currently the Cumbrian County Cup holders at U15.

A valiant performance saw the Lions keep the favourites to a three try deficit with the 15-0 final score a reflection of the Lions’ resilience.

King’s Academy student James Slater captained the squad. The 14-year-old scrum half, who is just coming back from injury, said the tour was a fantastic experience.

“The Lions tour allows us to meet new people we would not have otherwise met; it’s been a fantastic experience. As well as the rugby it has been great for team building and camaraderie. As captain it has been great leading the squad who I think played exceptionally well.”

Coached by Chris Lynch, the other King’s boys were George Armstrong, James Slater, Will Tait, Luca Parker and Tadgh Parker.

For Emmanuel College winger Ben Mason the tour was an opportunity to improve his rugby and make new friends.

The 14-year-old said: “I think the tour is a great idea as it brings the schools in the trust together. The rugby was a really high standard and I think I learnt a lot which will improve my game.”

Bede Academy number 4 Alex Middleton said he had enjoyed getting to know his teammates and making new friends. The 14-year-old, who would love to play for Newcastle Falcons one day, said: “They were tough games against strong opponents but I think we learned a lot by pushing ourselves harder.”

By admin