Saddleworth Rangers make an impact on historic Jamaica tour

A TOUR by Saddleworth Rangers Rugby League Club’s under-15s side has been hailed as historic.

After a huge fundraising effort, players from Greenfield’s Shaw Hall Bank Road jetted out to Jamaica after being inspired by the Caribbean island’s participation in the 2022 World Cup.

Staying in the famous Montego Bay, Rangers became the first side of that age group to visit the nation.

They played in two events, as a guest side in the Jamaica High Schools U16s National Nines competition and a full match against the Jamaica Hurricanes U16s.

Saddleworth Rangers in action in Jamaica

And Saddleworth Rangers reached the final of the Nines, losing 20-16 to Calabar High and defeated the national select 20-14 at the Mona Bowl in Kingston.

Finley Mellor, Isaac Kipling, Zak Johnson and Oscar Brindley scored the tries in a trip that will never be forgotten.

The idea came from Junior Brandford, a former Jamaica international and member of Rangers club.

And Saddleworth Rangers’ under-15s coach Johnny Johnson believes he saw a bright future, on both sides.

He said: “It’s been fantastic tour with some brilliant rugby played.

“I have no doubt that there are going to be some amazing players coming out of Jamaica in the future.

“The tournament was four tough games, which every player from each team put their heart into.

“The full match was the highlight with the crowd cheering both teams on, the atmosphere was electric.

“The players exchanged shirts and memorabilia and chatted together for a while afterwards which was a pleasure to witness.

“We thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality and hope this is just the start of our rugby friendship and others will follow in future tours.”

Rangers’ visit will make junior rugby league in Jamaica stronger and inspire players, according to Romeo Monteith, director of rugby at Rugby League Jamaica.

He said: “It was fantastic having Saddleworth’s juniors on tour to Jamaica.

“It means so much for the development of our juniors, we have 50 lads trying out to make the Hurricanes.

“Saddleworth brought a wealth of knowledge that will greatly impact our junior standards, it’s a great measuring stick.

“Also, the parents joining the tour made it even more of an occasion.”

 

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