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The annual Widnes Vikings Rugby League Emerging Schools Festival kicked off in June, providing our Key Stage 3 students with a fantastic opportunity to test and stretch their skills.

Rugby League may not be part of Blue Coat’s sporting curriculum but a partnership with Widnes Vikings development team has enabled our students to experience this popular sport. Working with the team our students from Year 7 and Year 8 developed not only their knowledge of the sport and the tactics required, but their confidence and resilience.

For our Year 8 team, victory at the Widnes Vikings Rugby League Emerging Schools Festival led to a coveted place in a national rugby league tournament for emerging schools. Here’s how our Year 8 team got on…

This year, a team of thirteen Year 8 students, including myself, competed in the Widnes Vikings Rugby League Emerging School Festival in Widnes. The team performed extremely well throughout and we defeated our opponents in a closely fought match. This meant that for the second year running, we left Halton Stadium as emerging schools’ champions! We would be heading into the national rugby league tournament.

A week later, our team arrived at Victoria Park in Warrington for the National Rugby League Festival for emerging schools. The atmosphere was great and we warmed up with great anticipation, and a few nerves, as we prepared for our first match. Our first opponents were the strongest team in the competition, but we were not deterred. Despite a few close calls, the matched ended with a draw and we were able to hold our heads high as we prepared for our second match.

We stepped out onto the pitch for a second time knowing our next series of games were not going to be easy and a victory was needed. We played hard and tactically, coming out with a somewhat comfortable victory, and a couple of bruises. This result meant we had to win our last pool game to go into the finals. This game ended up being our tightest yet with a good number of tries scored. It ended up going down to the wire with our team two points ahead due to a bonus point try. Our defense held its line stopping a big hitter running through. Having won our pool we could now rest until the finals.

When they finally came around, the whole team knew this was our toughest challenge yet. We had to face two of the best teams in the tournament. The first final game was extremely close until the last couple of minutes when our opponents scored several tries and we struggled to break their defense. Our second game was the toughest of them all facing a side with strong technique, power, speed and skill. Sadly we were beaten in the final match but managed to come out with a well respected and deserved third place overall.

Daniel, Year 8 

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