Whittle Cup

The Whittle Cup, our annual St Helens Primary Schools cup competition, took place yesterday with Saints Community Development Foundation and Saints First Team Squad once again at the forefront.

As part of the SKYTRY programme, Primary School pupils in the town are invited to The Totally Wicked Stadium for their own SKYTRY stadium experience.

Schools are also visited by Foundation staff who deliver rugby league skills, drills and games – and the year always culminates with the ever popular and highly competitive tournament.

The games are organised by staff and volunteers from the Foundation, with Saints Academy players on hand to help with refereeing, alongside our hosts Newton Storm ARLFC to ensure the day runs smoothly.

Teams from Nutgrove, St Austin’s, St Julie’s, Allanson Street, Bleak Hill, Thatto Heath Primary, St Peter and St Paul’s, Oakdene, Grange Valley, Sutton Oak, St Theresas, Wargrave, Billinge, Lyme, Legh Vale, St John Vianney, Willow Tree, Sherdley Primary, The District, Newton le Willows and Rainhill St Anne’s all played some entertaining rugby throughout the Preliminary Group stages with some outstanding skills on show.

Eight teams progressed through to the Quarter Finals with Bleak Hill eventually beating Sherdley Primary and St Peter & St Paul’s progressing past Rainhill in the Semi Finals to earn their spots in the Final.

The day was made extra special for all of the kids as the Saints First Team Squad, including the Foundation’s SKYTRY ambassador Jonny Lomax and exciting new signing Ben Barba, made an appearance to sign autographs, pose for photographs and chat with fans of all ages.

The Final eventually got underway and was a close, tense affair – St Peter & St Paul’s coming out on top and lifting the Margaret Whittle Trophy.

It was fitting that the trophy was presented to the successful captain by Saints First Team player, and ex-pupil of St Peter & St Paul’s, Josh Eaves.

SCDF primary school coach Gareth Friar commented: “It has been a real pleasure and very rewarding to have the opportunity to work with Primary School pupils from all across St Helens throughout this academic year.

“As ever it has culminated in this fantastic festival which grows each year and the standard of the skills on display gets better and better.

“I have been lucky to see the pathway of youngsters from picking up a rugby ball for the first time in one of our after school coaching sessions, having fun at the stadium at their SKYTRY experience session, through to competing in today’s tournament.

“I hope to see some of them continue their love of Saints and the game and get down to their local community clubs.

“Maybe one day they will pull on the red vee.”

SCDF would like to thank all the school staff, volunteers and everybody else involved in making yesterday’s Festival enjoyable and memorable for all the kids involved.

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