On Wednesday 18th May, the Accrington Academy Year 9 rugby team attended a tournament at Haslingden High School. It was a rugby league tournament with schools from Alder Grange, Haslingden and All Saints present. In the first game we played against Alder Grange, it was a very physical game with a lot of big tackles being made. It was clear that the 1st try would be crucial and we opened the scoring with a try from Brandon Leech and another quickly followed from Bailey Thompson Western before Alder Grange hit back making it 2 tries to 1 in favour of us. However, we responded immediately with some fast thinking from the forwards resulting in Brandon Leech and Connor Townsley crossing the try line again in quick succession to give Accrington Academy a 4 – 1 lead in tries. Mr Weir made a few changes in preparation for the next game and this allowed Alder Grange to pull one back making it 4 – 2. However, Curtis Lee crossed the line after a quick offload and a powerful run allowed him to ground the ball on the try line. Alder Grange scored a consolation in the last minute. This resulted in Accrington Academy starting the tournament strongly with a 5 tries to 3 victory.
In the second game we came up against a very strong Haslingden Team who had a lot of big lads in their team. However, we worked as a team when tackling them and this meant that we hindered their progress and the yards they carried the ball. Again we opened the scoring with a Brandon Leech try, this was full of determination and power as three Haslingden players tried to tackle him. Haslingden immediately hit back with a try through ‘Big Tom’ to make it one try all. However, some excellent attacking line work and interchanging of passes allowed Bailey Chamberlain to use quick feet and elude the tackles before scoring an excellent team try to give us the advantage again. However Haslingden pegged us back scoring another try, 2 – 2. Again, we responded; Brandon Leech again taking advantage of some sloppy handling errors from Haslingden before scooping the ball and storming away from the despairing dives of the Haslingden players to score his second try of the game and give Accrington a 3 – 2 lead. However that was not the end of Leech, he soon showed his skill by using a side step and shuffle to cross for his 3rd try of the game and put us 4 – 2 up. Haslingden did hit back in the dying minutes but we prevailed winners 4 – 3 in tries. Two games and two wins, only one more to go.
In our 3rd and final game we played All Saints, as we wanted to finish the tournament strongly and with a win and remain undefeated, and we picked up from where we left off in our last game. Jenson Hobson crossed early on to give us the first try, Connor Townsley soon followed as did Corey Scott. All Saints were struggling to deal with our pace, power and creativity. We were 3 – 0 up in tries and it felt like we only started. We were excellent in our defensive line, making big tackles and winning the ball back when it presented itself. Brandon Leech was a key man in this and once receiving an offload he stormed away to score the 4th try. All Saints knew the game was up but Hobson wasn’t finished using a drop of the shoulder to free up his run to the try line to score his 2nd of the game and give Accrington a 5 – 0 victory.
The result meant that we won the game and the tournament with a 100% record winning all 3 games. A great team effort with everyone making crucial tackles and contributing in specific phases of play which allowed us to perform at this level and be victorious.