18th July 2017, 14:12 | north_east

Finals Day Showcases North East talent

Finals Day Showcases North East talent

Cramlington Rockets and Gateshead Storm emerge victorious

Last Saturday saw the North East Junior Rugby League season reach its crescendo with Finals Day at Kingston Park Stadium, the home of Newcastle Thunder.

With three matches to be played, all the stops were pulled out to create the atmosphere of a professional match, including a big screen and music throughout the day. 

The action started with the U12s Cup Final between Cramlington Rockets and Whitley Bay Barbarians.

The tournament serving as an introduction to competitive rugby league, the match was a nail-biter for those watching, the scores tied at 12-12 with the clock ticking down before the Rockets were able to pull ahead and win the game 24-12.

Gateshead Storm under 14s - Grand Final winners

Cramlington enjoyed a day filled with success

Next up was the U14s Grand Final between Gateshead Storm and Catterick Crusaders.

A rerun of last month's Cup final, the result was also repeated with Storm coming out on top of an end-to-end match, the scoreboard settling at 24-16 by the full time whistle and thus completing a memorable league and cup double.

The final match of the day was the U16s Grand Final between Wallsend Eagles and Cramlington Rockets Black.

The Rockets were also looking to add to silverware picked up this season, having already won the North East Cup and League Leaders' Shield.

The fact those victories had also been at the expense of the Eagles made for one of a number of fascinating sub-plots throughout the match that saw numerous teammates from the Newcastle Thunder Academy go head-to-head.

Cramlington Rockets under 12s

Gateshead Storm under 14s

Despite some ferocious defence from both sides, it was the Rockets that found their way over the try line the most, the final score of 20-12 reflecting what was a tight affair.

Overall, the day was another fine advert for North East rugby league and the burgeoning talent being developed in the region.

Despite the day's two trophy haul for his club, Cramlington Rockets' Chairman Jeff Ball was most excited about the experience his players had enjoyed.

"Days like today are brilliant, it’s why we do what we do," said Ball.

"Everyone made a big effort to create an atmosphere befitting a Finals Day and the whole event has been very entertaining.

"The talent on show is impressive and to have five clubs represented today across the three matches shows the strength in depth the North East is developing." 

Reflecting on the achievements of his club specifically, Ball added: "For us, it has been fascinating to see the U12s make that step up to full 13-a-side and there is going to be some good competition between clubs across that age group in years to come.

"The U16s too have been a huge success story, especially given three quarters of the squad are U15s.

"To win one competition is hard enough so to win three domestically and the Jean Galia Cup in France really does show how special this bunch of players is.

"The future for both the Rockets and the North East is very bright and getting more impressive every year. I think I speak to everyone that we are already looking forward to 2018!"