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We are the champions

Press Release Rugby Development Programme Academy of Sporting Excellence Sport Sporting Success Mens Rugby

Photo Credit: Wakefield College student Elise Brown.

Wakefield College’s Rugby League team can now rightly claim to be the best team in the country after triumphing in last night’s College’s Rugby final. The team, who were crowned Yorkshire champions last month, ran out worthy winners after a hard fought 20-14 win over holders Hopwood Hall College, Rochdale.

With only three fully fit substitutes available, the Wakefield team were very much seen as the underdogs going into the game at Stanningley RLFC, Leeds. The game started well for Wakefield with an early try in the left corner off the back of some expansive play highlighting their advantage out wide. However, this was soon cancelled out a few minutes later when Hopwood Hall scored under the posts to lead 4-6. The next hour of play followed a similar pattern: Hopwood's direct, physical style challenged Wakefield’s bravery in defence and in return Wakefield’s skill and athleticism took advantage of any lapses in Hopwood’s concentration.

Hopwood Hall had taken charge in the game and were starting to pin Wakefield in their own half, until Wakefield’s Captain came off the bench to inspire his team mates. Taken ill before the game, Ryan Thurston, seemed to have worked in vain to overcome a serious knee injury suffered in the quarter final. However, he was able to summon the strength to get on the pitch and create a break away on Wakefield’s right edge, before giving a wonder pass to create a try which evened the game at 10 all.

As the second half progressed, it was Hopwood Hall that looked the battered side not Wakefield, as three of their players left the field injured not to return.

As the game entered the final five minutes the scores were tied at 14 all and both sides were looking as if the tension was getting to them. It was going to take either a moment of inspiration or a momentous error to decide the outcome of the game. Thankfully, the months of intensive preparation meant that the Wakefield players knew they had that moment of inspiration within them and the deciding try came from the eventual man of the match Ryan Parker. Having not trained for the last two weeks with a serious ankle injury, Ryan, with the help of some extensive strapping, not only managed to get himself on the field to play, but played most of the game leading from the front.

With five minutes to go he found himself two metres out, in front of the posts, surrounded by defenders charging towards him. Whilst others would have been tackled easily “Rhino” was able to wrestle himself free to score, and with the conversion Wakefield were leading by six points for the first time since the remaining final moments of the match.

As you would expect, Hopwood Hall threw everything they had in the last five minutes. Wakefield stood fast and took everything that was thrown at them, kept their composure and saw out the remaining minutes.

Commenting on the win, Athlete Development Centre coordinator Mark Helme said, “To be crowned the best college rugby team in the whole country is a fantastic accolade. The coaching staff and I are delighted with the way the team has performed over the entire season and today’s hard-fought success was the icing on the cake.”

Ends

CONTACT: For more information email info@wakefield.ac.uk, or telephone 01924 789789.
DATE: 12 May, 2011

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