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London South East

12 Jan 2022

London & South East Schools Competition round-up

London & South East Schools Competition round-up

A bitterly cold and wet December afternoon set the scene for a dazzling display of Rugby League in the London & South East Schools Finals last month, but the Year 8, 9 & 10 sides on show were there as a result of their performances a few weeks prior, in both the local competitions and regional festivals.

The Year 7 finalists square off tomorrow, whilst the Year 11 Finals had to be postponed.

Following successful local competitions that were run entirely by a group of dedicated Champion School Coordinators and volunteers, eight teams qualified for the regional stages.

Last year's London & South East Schools festivals were held at Parkhouse Rugby Ground in Bromley, home of the South London Silverbacks, who were happy to host free of charge - one other example of many that outline the commitment towards Rugby League in these areas by the Community Clubs, local schools and all of the individuals associated.

Teams followed a new format for the 2021-22 competition, in order to minimise the impact of Covid-19 and ensure competition took place for regional seedings to be determined.

Rather than the usual League format that will return in 2022-23, this season's participating schools were either separated into pools that lead to play-offs or Round Robin mini-leagues, where both formats would promise an action-packed afternoon that would leave us with two teams progressing to the regional finals.

Even after two years of almost no activity due to the pandemic, the standard of Rugby League being played was exceptional.

Credit to all players of course, but such a standard wouldn't have been reached without the helping hand of the Southern Match Officials Society who provided officials across all festivals alongside the London Broncos Foundation, Silverbacks and Elmbridge Eagles who were all keen to offer staff for further support - once again highlighting the dedication and camaraderie amongst all those involved in London & South East Rugby League.

The festivals would also be the temporary home to the Challenge Cup Trophy, which gave players & staff the opportunity to see one of the most historic prizes in sport up close and personal.

The Year 7 Festival was a Round Robin event, where six schools clashed: John Fisher, Turing House, Westcliff, St Mary Magdalene, Hinchley Wood, and Howard of Effingham all locked horns in five hard-fought encounters each.

  • 14:10 | Turing House 0-3 Howard of Effingham | John Fisher 0-1 Westcliff | Hinchley Wood 1-0 St Mary Magdalene
  • 14:30 | St Mary Magdalene 0-3 Howard of Effingham | Westcliff 4-0 Turing House | Hinchley Wood 1-5 John Fisher
  • 14:50 | Turing House 1-0 St Mary Magdalene | Westcliff 4-1 Hinchley Wood | Howard of Effingham 1-4 John Fisher
  • 15:10 | Hinchley Wood 1-1 Turing House | John Fisher 4-0 St Mary Magdalene | Howard of Effingham 2-3 Westcliff
  • 15:30 | Turing House 1-2 John Fisher | Hinchley Wood 1-4 Howard of Effingham | Westcliff 5-3 St Mary Magdalene

A superb showing all round from the Year 7 boys. Both Westcliff & John Fisher have secured their spots in the National Rounds, but will be aiming for regional success when they meet in the finals on January 13th.

Two pools of three teams that lead to a 3rd vs 3rd play-off and semi-finals was the format for the Year 8 festival - John Fisher, Westcliff, and JFK faced off in Pool A, whilst Turing House, St James Boys, and Elthorne Park were in Pool B.

POOL A

  • John Fisher 0-0 Westcliff | JFK 0-24 Westcliff | JFK 0-16 John Fisher

POOL B

  • Turing House 4-16 St James | Elthorne Park 4-16 St James | Turing House 20-0 Elthorne Park

3rd vs 3rd

  • Elthorne Park 4-12 JFK

Semi-Finals

  • Westcliff 32-4 Turing House | St James 8-16 John Fisher

A blinding afternoon of Rugby League at Parkhouse saw Westcliff and John Fisher secure seeds in the National Rounds, following the regional finals at Brunel University. The final saw Westcliff come out 32-4 victors, with halfback Max Holliman stealing the show. John Fisher’s front row David Kwarteng shone in defeat with an impressive display as well.

This was the first of three regional finals on the same day (Year 8, 9, 10) at Brunel University Sports Park, the home of Brunel Rugby League, where once again the level of support within the Rugby League community in these areas was evident - brilliant, welcoming hosts that contributed massively to a really successful day.

The Year 9 boys regional festival saw the return of the Round Robin format, where St James Boys, Westcliff, Longdean, and Langley squared off.

  • St James Boys 24-4 Longdean | Westcliff 16-0 Longdean | Westcliff 16-12 St James Boys
  • Westcliff 20-8 Langley | St James Boys 0-28 Langley | Longdean 0-28 Langley

Westcliff and Langley booked their tickets to Brunel for the regional finals, where Langley ran out eventual 22-14 winners in a fantastic game of Rugby League. Langley fullback Theo Parry-Dean put on a dazzling performance in his team’s win, whilst Westcliff front row Ivan Oseghale’s great display was worthy of any final. Both players and their teams can now look forward to the National Rounds after their regional success.

Two pools of three with a 3rd vs 3rd play-off and semi-finals would be in place to determine the finalists for Year 10 boys. Pool A’s Langley, Longdean, and Howard of Effingham were to battle it out for a place in the semi-finals, whilst Westcliff, St James, and Elthorne Park were in Pool B.

POOL A

  • Langley 20-4 Longdean | Howard of Effingham 20-0 Longdean | Howard of Effingham 12-8 Langley

POOL B

  • Westcliff 28-0 Elthorne Park | St James 20-0 Elthorne Park | Westcliff 12-8 St James

3rd vs 3rd

  • Longdean 24-0 Elthorne Park

Semi-Finals

  • Howard of Effingham 8-0 St James | Westcliff 8-16 Langley

Both Howard of Effingham and Langley confirmed their places in the National Rounds, but their regional final would be first on the agenda. A mesmerising performance from Howard of Effingham front row Noah Joyce helped his side to a 46-8 victory, whilst Langley loose forward Samuel Dowding was a real handful throughout.

The Year 11 competition unfortunately couldn’t go ahead as planned this season, but their historic success means that Grey Court are set to take the one National Rounds seed available for London & South East Year 11 boys, before squaring off with fellow regional finalists Richmond upon Thames School at a later date.

Ahead of the regional finals returning to Brunel for the Year 7 boys on Thursday 13th January, it can be confirmed that the normal league structure spread across the season will return for the 2022-23

competition, whilst the Girls local competitions will resume across January & February, with the regional festivals scheduled for March.

It must be emphasised that the success of the 2021-22 Boys competition along with the upcoming Girls competition simply wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication from all those who contributed – the community clubs, school staff, match officials, coordinators & volunteers formed a tight-knit collective effort that has done wonders for the sport in not only the London & South East regions, but way beyond.

The outstanding contributions from within the community gave the players the platform to show what they can do, and they all seized the moment. High level Rugby League on display, coupled with passionate support for the game, made it a highly successful competition in the midst of a pandemic.

A huge congratulations to everyone!