Dane Court Grammar School’s sporting girls fought their way to the national youth semi-finals this month but just lost out on securing a place in the finals.
The school’s year 9 and year 10 teams were competing in the Rugby League Champion Schools competition.
Initially doing well in the county tournament they often qualified for the South East regionals and, last year, one team gained entrance to the National Finals tournament finishing fifth – outside the semi-final qualifications. However, this season years 8, 9 and 10 all won county titles and then reached the National tournament following success at the Regionals in Roehampton.
This meant a trip to either Leeds (year 9) or Warrington (year 8 and 10), both hotbeds of Rugby league competition in the country. Both the older year groups gained entry to the semi-finals playing against vastly more experienced and bigger schools. They did this with skilful, determined and courageous play to surprise their opponents.
At the semi-finals, again in Warrington, the stakes were higher and the teams tougher. Although Dane Court were ultimately defeated every girl gave their all for the team and caused their opponents more than a little anxiety.
In the end experience of regular competition told as Dane Court succumbed to quality play by Castleford Academy year 9 and St Peters school Manchester year 10. The year 9 game in particular was on a knife edge until the final two minutes when Castleford, unbeaten for two years in the competition, scored the winning try. Their coach a former professional Premiership player, gave lavish praise to the Dane Court girls for their unrelenting efforts.
In both semi-finals a Dane Court student was awarded player of the match, albeit in a losing cause, those being Keira Hulks for year 9 and Holly Enright for year 10.
All the staff and helpers who aided the preparation and travelled with the students can, and do, feel proud of all the girls who lived up to Dane Court’s never-get-up, everything is possible attitude.