Schools do battle in Carnegie Schools Tournament

PUBLISHED: 17:53 02 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:44 06 May 2010

Beaumont School attack the line in the Year 9 competition. Photo: supplied.

Beaumont School attack the line in the Year 9 competition. Photo: supplied.

THE Carnegie Champion Schools Junior Rugby League Tournament which is open to every Secondary School in England, Wales and Scotland is the world s biggest Rugby League knockout competition and one of the greatest success stories for the sport. The Rugby

THE Carnegie Champion Schools Junior Rugby League Tournament which is open to every Secondary School in England, Wales and Scotland is the world's biggest Rugby League knockout competition and one of the greatest success stories for the sport.

The Rugby Football League in partnership with English Schools Rugby League launched the Champion Schools Tournament in 2002 and since then it has continued to grow each year, and one of the success stories is in Hertfordshire where Junior Rugby League is alive and kicking, with over 20 teams from eight local schools participating in the St Albans section of this nationwide Carnegie competition.

In October/November, St Albans Centurions ran the knock out rounds when teams from Townsend, Francis Bacon and Verulam schools represented represent St Albans took on Onslow from Hatfield, Dame Alice Owens from Potters Bar, Parmitters from Watford and Sir Frederick Osbornes from Welwyn Garden City in the St Albans area round, to find the local champions.

Similar competitions are being held in other parts of Hertfordshire and the overall finals to find which schools will be representing Hertfordshire will be held at Hemel Hempstead in December. The County champions, at different age levels, will then go into a South East Regional Competition. The winners of these regional competitions then play each other to find the National Champions.

Traditionally the finals of the Year Seven competition are played as a curtain raiser before the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.

At the end of last week, the finals were played at Cotlandswick to find the St Albans District champions.

St Albans Rugby League development officer Shane Rampling said: "It appears that the youngsters in and around St Albans like their Rugby League. Last year we had three schools and five teams competing.

"This year we have eight schools and almost twenty teams. Word about our game is spreading and I am getting more and more requests to come into schools and run Rugby League classes. Hopefully this year one of our local schools will represent Hertfordshire, and who knows how much further they will get in this great competition."

Rampling described the games as follows:-

Year 7, Dame Alice Owens School 20 -v- 4 Onslow St Audreys

"Don't let the scoreline fool you, this was much closer than it suggests. Both teams thoroughly enjoyed the game, with expansive, open rugby, the only difference being that Dame Alice Owens managed to cross the try line when they were near it, and Onslow, playing towards the end of the game with only eleven players, couldn't quite manage it. Both teams did very well."

Year 8, Townsend School 20 -v- 12 Parmiters School

"In the play off rounds, Parmiters beat Townsend School, but it was a about face when they met again in the finals. Considering this was Parmiters first year playing Rugby League, they gave a very good account of themselves and it wasn't until the last ten minutes of the game that Townsend began to pull away. The Townsend team had several St Albans Centurion Juniors in their squad, and these boys were the difference"

Year 9, Dame Alice Owens 22 -v- 18 Beaumont School

"This was the best game of the competition. A hard, physical game that saw both sides get stuck in. Quick breaks and length of the field runs were commonplace, and there was nothing between both sides. The final whistle saw the game tied at 18 each, and sudden death, with the 'golden point' rule played. The game still went back and forth with neither team giving up. After almost 10 minutes of non-stop play, Dame Alice Owens managed to squeeze over in the corner to win the match.

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