Year 8 Rugby tournament
9 October 2023

The team were fantastic, full of enthusiasm on the journey there and this did not change throughout the entire evening. A few team members were missing, however, David Tiny stepped in to ensure we had an extra player to allow others a break when necessary.

As we arrived, we were told that they would be playing against 5 other schools and would not have a break in between each game.

First we played against Sherburn High School, a very tough match, especially as we were trying to find our rhythm. Evan, our captain for the game, stepped up and scored an amazing try, beating 5 defenders before crossing the line. Unfortunately, due to a little bit of miscommunication, Sherburn were able to respond with a try of their own with a minute to go. With some fantastic tackles from James, we were able to keep the score line at 1-1 to tie our first game.

Next we played against the hosts, Garforth Academy. Garforth are a well drilled team with a lot of their players playing together outside of school. Garforth scored early into the game leaving some of our players looking disheartened and defeated. James, Harry and Emmanuel stepped up with some fantastic carries, taking us within touching distance of the opposition try line on a number of occasions. Fantastic defensive efforts from the whole team kept Garforth from scoring again until the dying moments of the game to make it 2-0.

Wetherby were next… with passion flowing through our team, they stepped onto the pitch as if possessed. Tries from James, Harry, Emmanuel and Tiago meant we finished the game 5-1.

Next we came up against Temple Moor, in their first ever tournament. This was a highly physical game with some fantastic defence from both teams. Luckily Harry and James were able to unlock their defence and led the way to a 4-2 win.

Finally, our local rivals, Trinity Academy. This was an unbelievably close game that could have gone either way. They scored first with a fantastic run breaking through our defence leaving the team speechless. Harry stepped up and showed his skill and strength, running through their team to even the scores. Some fantastic defence from James caused Trinity Academy to spill the ball, straight into James’ hands, running through to take us into the lead. In the last 5 minutes Trinity came back at us scoring 2 tries in quick succession. Thankfully, in the final moments of the game our team were able to come together and create a fantastic play, scoring to tie the game 3-3.

Overall, we were very unfortunate not to finish the final game with a win which would have seen us going through to the finals night in Kirkstall, however, we managed to place 3rd out of the 6 teams after displaying some fantastic rugby skills. Their journey does not end there, there will be more opportunities for the team to come together and show their talents as the year progresses.

This is possibly some of the best rugby I have seen this team play since giving it a try last year.

They were a pleasure as always to coach and I have high hopes for what they can achieve together if they continue to commit to training each week.

The squad that came with me this evening…

James Kaba. Tiago Malu, Emmanue, Pelo, Evan Whitford, Conner Dillon, Chinonso Okunbor, Harry Cawthorne, Aleksander Bogdanowicz, Simao Marques, Riley Clark, Sekou Kourouma, & David Tiny.

S. Cooper