WALLSEND Eagles’ under-12s won the Rugby League Junior League Cup at the weekend by beating Durham Tigers in the final at Peterlee.
Durham went in to the game as favourites after winning a recent league meeting between the two sides.
Wallsend kicked off and won possession to force their way deep into the Tigers half.
Ciaran Wrightson was held up a metre short of the line before Reece Lambert was fed the ball and he managed to scramble over the line to give first blood to the Eagles.
The conversion was added by Matty Smith.
The Eagles continued the good form shown the previous Wednesday in the semi-final win over against Cramlington Rockets.
A Durham attack faltered with a knock on and Wrightson was alert and picked it up then fed Lambert who raced clear to set up Smith for a well worked try.
The boys were playing with confidence and after more pressure Lambert made another great run to set up Wrightson for the game’s third try. The conversion made it 16-0.
After an injury to an Eagles player, Durham regrouped and Wallsend’s defence was breeched for the first time.
As half-time approached the determination of both sets of players to win spilled over in an incident that left the referee brandishing two red cards – Wrightson was sent off for the Eagles.
The Tigers kicked off the second half and their tactical kicking, low and wide, which had been causing problems all game, paid of as a knock on deep in the Eagles half led to a try which was converted.
Wallsend’s determination paid off when added another converted try.
Minutes later the continued pressure led to a try from Tom Wood in the corner after some good play.
The Tigers fought back with sustained possession and on the fifth tackle they crashed over from a metre, and the conversion was successful to make the score 26-16.
The noisy Eagles fans increased the volume to encourage the lads to fight back.
And they did not let it get them down as they fought back.
The referee indicated five minutes of play left and the supporters nerves where soothed after being held close to line Lambert wriggled free to burst over the line to score.
Smith held his nerve and converted to make it 32-20.
All the Eagles had to do was keep possession for a set of five tackles but again the Tigers’ kicking led to a knock on deep in the Eagles half, and despite their best efforts the Tigers scored.
But as the Tigers’ player went to take the conversion the referee signalled this was to be the last play of the day meaning the boys had won 32-24.
The players were presented to the mayor of Peterlee who gave out the medals and handed the winning trophy to the Eagles captain and man of the match award-winner Ben Mahdoul.