15th June 2018, 15:09 | champion_schools

West Lakes history-makers set for national stage

West Lakes history-makers set for national stage

WEST LAKES ACADEMY YEAR 8 GIRLS.

  • v Castleford Academy
  • Victoria Park, Warrington
  • Friday, July 6
  • 1:30pm kick off

Coach: Alex Price

Squad: Marni Todd, Naomi Dobbin, Katey Quayle, Imy Marsh, Evie Kirkbride, Maddi Hawthorne, Sophie Price, Christina Smith, Olivia Brinsden, Keisha Pettigrew, Fay Percival, Amber Lewitt, Annie Park, Millie Lewitt, Isla Henderson.

The Year 8 girls have already made history by being the first team from the Cumbrian school to make it to a Champion Schools Final.

Being from Egremont, just down the road from Whitehaven, it is a somewhat remote area but coach Alex Price is convinced his girls have got what it takes to go the whole way.

"We've got a very athletic, physical bunch of girls who are fully committed," he said.

"They have bought into it, they're all coachable, they all listen and are hard working.

"Last year we got knocked out by Castleford Academy in the National semi-finals, 16-8, so this year it's been our team goal to make it back.

"We've been training pretty hard and won the Cumbria Cup, conceding only one try, so when we got to the National rounds we were ready.

"We put in a good performance in the first round, and then we had a good game against Castleford which we drew 12-12. In the semi-final we beat Corpus Christi and were just starting to play our best rugby.

"We were missing four players that day but we'll have three of them coming back for the final, which will give us a bit more power up front.

Skipper Isla Henderson, who plays full back, is the driving force behind the team according to Alex.

"She's an excellent attacking player but leads the defence as well.

"The girl who really played well in the Nationals was Amber Lewitt who is an immense physical presence in defence and a real strong runner – in fact she ran over the dead ball line four times in the first game.

"She has a twin, Millie, and they're both good physical girls who lead from the front but they're so fair.

"If someone makes a good tackle they will pat them on the back and are always the first to congratulate the other team; they have a really good Rugby League attitude."

Looking ahead to the final, he said: "Castleford Academy is the best Rugby League school in the country, they are consistently in the finals and are always good to play against.

"We've met them a few times and mostly come second. I'm glad it's Castleford we're playing, I really like the school and the staff.

"They're always a well prepared side. We had a really good game against their girls at the Nationals, which could have gone either way, and after the game there was massive respect between them.

"We're really looking forward to the final.

"The school are chuffed to bits and I'm massively proud. We've been in the semis loads of times and always lost, so we've finally got there and hopefully will come back with the win."

Alex is the sole Rugby League coach on the staff but acknowledges the help and support of parents, including Neil Henderson.

"He kept us going when times got tough and kept us motivated and Mr Lewitt, has provided us with a lot of balls and training harnesses."

Alex has also been helped by student teacher Aylish Lightfoot. "I used to teach her and it's nice for her to come back as assistant coach."

  • Road to the Final
  • West Lakes 24-12 Bishopshalt
  • West Lakes 12-12 Castleford Academy
  • West Lakes 18-6 Hawkley Hall
  • Semi-final
  • West Lakes 16-12 Corpus Christie