St Peter’s Y7s look to chance of a lifetime

St Peters players Joe Baldwin and Ed Gregg with Sean OLoughlin
St Peters players Joe Baldwin and Ed Gregg with Sean OLoughlin

Four school rugby league teams will be playing in finals this weekend.

Orrell’s St Peter’s provides three teams, and St John Fisher the other, at the Champion Schools national finals.

The Y7 decider is traditionally the curtain-raiser to the Wembley decider.

And in a rematch of last year’s game, St Peter’s will take on Castleford Academy on the hallowed turf.

The other three deciders (the Y11 final is staged earlier in the year), as well as four girls finals, take place on Friday 
at Richmond Athletic Association.

Nigel Wood, chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said: “We are delighted that Champion Schools remains the biggest and most successful competition of its kind in the world.”

In a Wigan derby, St Peter’s Y8 – the group of lads who lost at Wembley last year – face St John Fisher.

And St Peter’s have another team involved, with their Y10 boys facing Castleford Academy.

Neil Ashton, a deputy head at St Peter’s, was pleased to have so many of their teams progress to the final stage.

“I always say, the tools we get to work with are pretty special,” he said.

“Their local amateur clubs are superb, we just put the cherry on the cake.

“And success has bred success, people are coming to the school and wanting to be involved with the rugby league teams.

“My staff and I put the time in, but we’re lucky with the players we get.

“A lot goes into it, in terms of organisation and fund-raising – the parents and local businesses have really supported us, and a big thanks to them.

“My phone hasn’t stopped, even on holiday, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.”

All the finalists will parade the Wembley pitch at 2.15pm, once the Y7 final – a curtain-raiser to Wigan’s clash with Hull FC – has finished.

“We were fortunate to be there last year and it was amazing,” added Ashton.

“It’s a chance of a lifetime for these lads.

“I think the Y7 semi-final is the biggest game in school sport, because if you win it, you play at Wembley and no other school sport plays there.

“There aren’t many professional athletes who 
get to play at Wembley, so for these lads, it’s a special achievement.”