Warrington U12's Finish 4th at Lancashire Cup Finals Day
After qualifying for the final's day an optimistic Wire squad travelled to Tarleton for the Lancashire Finals Day to compete with the 11 best teams in the county.
On a glorious day the squad gathered at Tarleton, to find ourselves in a group of teams we know fairly well, Blackburn and Vale of Lune.
The first match was against Vale of Lune, who we lost 2-0 to at the Preston Festival a couple of week's before, so it was an opportunity to put the record straight. Ben scored the only try of a closely fought 1st half, but the Wire lads relaxed and allowed the rugby to flow in the 2nd half, running out 4-1 winners with James, Joe and Stephen crossing for tries.
Blackburn were next, and they were clearly fired up, applying plenty of pressure to the Wire line, with some heroic defending keeping them at bay - with Josh and Cam particularly outstanding. James intercepted a pass and raced almost the length of the field to score against the run of play, and change to momentum of the match. The rest of the 1st half was all Wire, with James adding a second and Max making it 3-0 at the break. Blackburn pulled one back in the 2nd half, but it was 3-1 win and the path to the Cup was open for the Wire.
In the quarter final Preston were the opponents, a team we seem to meet at most tournaments. The opening exchanges were very evenly matched, but it was the Hoppers who broke the deadlock in the 7th minute, so a Wire response was needed, and it came almost immediately with some great handling sending James racing in for the levelling try just before the half time whistle.
The 2nd half was more of the same, but it was Ben who scored the go-ahead try after charging down a kick and following up to touch it down to make it 2-1, which was how it finished. This win showed real character, and was one of the best performances of the season.
The semi-final was against Liverpool Collegiate, a team whose forward pack towers over our lads, but confidence was high as the teams lined up for the kick off. After a long wait for a ref, the match got underway and it was Wire who started faster, which was rewarded with Ben scoring in the second minute. The lead was short lived with Collegiate levelling the scores less than 2 minutes later. No further scores in the half, so the both teams had their eyes on the final. Collegiate scored just after a minute, and were able to hold off some spirited attacking from Wire, with both James and Joe coming agonisingly close late in the game, but it wasn't to be.
Defeat meant Warrington facing Leigh in the 3rd place play off, although the intensity and eagerness levels had clearly dropped, with the heat and hard rugby starting to take its toll. No neutral ref could be found, so the Leigh coach took charge of the match. Wire never really got into the match, with some of the players being taken aback by the "robust" tackling technique of the Leigh team who were clearly skilled in rugby league. Leigh were deserving winners, although the flattering scoreline of 5-1 may well have been different if the match had ben reffed to the same standards the other matches had been played at.
In the Cup Final, Manchester ran out winners over Collegiate - congratulations to them.
This was by far the the highest standard tournament the Warrington lads have played in, with no easy games as you would expect when the top 12 teams in the county gather together, but the lads acquitted themselves superbly playing some of the best rugby of the season.
For a team with a smaller pack than virtually everyone we play it's a testament to the grit and determination of the forwards to compete so hard, providing the backs with enough ball for them to do dazzle the opposition and crowds alike with their slick handling and elusive running.
A fantastic ending to the season, and as was said to the lads after the last match, we as coaches could not be more proud of them this season.
Enjoy the summer.