Year 9 Rugby Team - Best in the Country

On a magnificent weekend in August, St Edmund Arrowsmith (Ashton in Makerfield) completed a superb treble for the season, defeating Widnes rivals, St Peter & Paul, by 24-22 in the RFL English Schools National Final (Year 9 boys).

The National Schools finals were played on Friday 23rd August at Richmond Athletic ground, London - home of Richmond RUFC and London Scottish RUFC. The following day all of the competing schools paraded at Wembley Stadium before the Tetleys RL Challenge Cup Final between Wigan Warriors and Hull FC.

St Edmund Arrowsmith had already won the Wigan and Leigh Champion Schools final in 2013, and were joint NW Counties Champions after a drawn final with St Peter's (Orrell), so the National Final completed a clean sweep and an undefeated season for the Year 9 team.

The match was very closely contested and although they were on top for most of the game, it took a last minute converted try to overcome the strong St Peter & Paul team. Eddies scored two early tries through Lucas Picton and Declan O'Donnell, and Ben Fisher scored a converted try making it 14-6 at half time. Mitchell Davies scored a second half try, and Eddies looked to be well in control at 18-6. St Peter & Paul then scored three times in quick succession to lead  by 22-18 with only a few minutes remaining. But St Edmund Arrowsmith summoned up one final effort to win the game with a try by Josh Szalk, calmly converted by Dec O'Donnell to win the match 24-22.

This was a third National Schools RL title for St Edmund Arrowsmith after previous wins in 1995 (Year 11) and 2000 (Year 9). The school were also defeated finalists in 2002 and 2011. The whole squad can be very proud of their achievements and the entire weekend will live long in the memories of players, parents, families, supporters and staff.

The team were invited by  Wigan Warriors RLFC to parade with their trophies at half-time in their recent game against Leeds Rhinos at the DW Stadium. The team were given a standing ovation by supporters of both clubs.

Congratulations to all players and staff. The whole school are very proud of you!

Further reports and photos can be found on our school Rugby League website: (or just Google, "St Edmund Arrowsmith")

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