SADDLEWORTH School’s year 11 rugby league team won 22-0 at Bridgewater School, Warrington, to reach the semi-finals of the North West Counties Schools’ competition and in turn qualify for the national stages of the Carnegie Champion Schools’ Cup.
An attritional encounter saw Fenton Rogers and player-of-the-match Ben Killan each score two tries, with Jack Kenway kicking three out of four conversions, despite blustery conditions.
SADDLEWORTH School’s year nine team defeated St Peter and St Paul’s, from Widnes, in a fantastic display of free-flowing rugby league in the quarter-finals of the North West Counties Schools’ Cup at Churchill Playing Fields.
The half-back pairing of Fin Rogers and Jack Sinfield were in scintillating form scoring seven tries between them.
Powerhouse Nolan Tupaea barged over the whitewash to register the host’s eighth try of the afternoon.
Sinfield was successful with six out of eight of his conversions, his two failures with the boot both rebounding off the uprights.
St Peter and Paul registered a solitary try and goal which were just reward for their tireless efforts but they were unable to match their opponents for speed, guile and interplay.
Saddleworth handed debuts to Max Jones and Jack Foster in the second half with both players showing plenty of promise which will come in handy in the semi-final to be held in the New Year.
Player of the match was Freddie Wilson for a superb display in the hooking role.
SADDLEWORTH School’s year seven rugby league team and Standish School must do battle again after their quarter-final tie at Standish Community School ended 12-12.
It was an eventful afternoon even before the team arrived in Wigan after a player was taken ill on the mini bus while they were also delayed by heavy traffic as the game kicked off half an hour late in fading light and in rain-soaked conditions.
The hosts took the lead with a try in the opening five minutes before serial points scorer Vinny Arthurs got over the whitewash and added his own conversion to put the Saddleworth 6-4 ahead at half time.
The unbeaten Standish side used the downhill slope to their advantage in the second half and edged ahead 8-6 with a neatly worked try in the corner to which they were unable to add the extra points.
With the game hanging in the balance, Joe Jackson made a neat dart and pass from dummy half to send Arthurs crashing over under the posts to complete his brace. He slotted the simplest of conversions taking his personal haul of points to a dozen with only five minutes left.
As the rain lashed down and the gloom descended, Saddleworth coughed up possession in a key area of the pitch and it gleefully seized on as they scored their third try of the encounter and bring the scores level at 12-12.
The conversion, which would have sent Saddleworth out of this year’s competition, brushed the upright but went wide with the referee simultaneously signalling an end to regulation play.
A period of golden point ensued in which a botched attempt at a drop goal from Saddleworth was the nearest that either school came to finding a winner.
With darkness now making it almost impossible to decipher one team from the other, it was decided that a draw would be the only fair and proper.
The two teams will now have to battle it out once more in the New Year to determine which team will make it through to the semi-finals.
A series of delays on the motorway on the way back to Saddleworth resulted in a wet and uncomfortable two-hour journey before the task of trying to clean a once white rugby kit began in earnest!