ORRELL high school St Peter’s hung on for a last gasp 22-20 win to cap a rollercoaster five years on a high, lifting the Year 11 Champion Schools’ trophy at Widnes Vikings’ Stobart Stadium.
Their opponents, South Holderness of Hull, had twice fought back from a 10 point deficit but the narrow victory was confirmed 90 seconds from time through a late Kyle Shelford penalty goal.
Despite having already lifted the Wigan Schools Cup and the North West Regional Cup, St Peters went in as marginal underdogs but started at lightening pace; scoring two tries inside the first 10 minutes through Phil Atherton and Shelford.
South Holderness hit back instantly to tie scores for the first time but Atherton powered over again to put Peter’s back in the lead at the break.
Dec Kay re-instated a two try margin with a second-half score but South Holderness replied again, taking the score to 20-20.
With full-time looming, it looked as if the trophy was to be shared until Shelford coolly converted a penalty to achieve a victory which will live long in the memory of the St Peter’s team.
“To win the Year 11 National competition is a phenomenal achievement,’ said PE teacher and coach, Paul Santus. “We are quite a small school often competing against schools twice our size, especially since the formation of academies.
“The boys have worked towards this moment for five years; they are a very special, close-knit bunch of lads and fully deserve to leave St Peter’s as National Champions.”
The RFL Champion Schools tournament is the world’s biggest rugby league knockout competition, and open to every secondary school in England, Wales and Scotland.