Rugby league breaks new ground with primary schools’ tournament

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Alnwick last week held its first rugby league tournament, the furthest north a competitive RL event has been staged.

A total of 154 children from all the local primary schools took part in the tournament, which was held at held at Lindisfarne Middle School.

It was supported by Sporting Leaders, Year 8 students trained by Cramlington Rockets, who helped officiate and organise the event with unbridled enthusiasm.

Rockets Community, the community arm of the national Club of the Year- nominated club, has worked tirelessly for the last two years to introduce rugby league to the area.

It was organised largely due to the efforts of head community coach, Danny Gilroy.

Affectionately known as Bear, he provides regular school coaching in all the local primary schools and in 2016 launched a successful school holiday camp, attended by 50 children the first time it was held.

With some impressive skills on show throughout, in a tense final to the tournament, Swansfield Park First School and Hipsburn First School could not be separated, meaning the final result was a well-earned draw.

With a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes to get to this point, Gilroy was thrilled at how the event went,

“I’m over the moon with how the competition has gone,” he said.

“To go from rugby league being non-existent to now being able to hold a competition like this shows how far the game has come.

“I would like to thank all the schools and the whole Alnwick community.

“Everyone has really embraced our new sport and we feel so welcome every time we come up here.

“We have big plans for Alnwick and we look forward to their continued support on this amazing journey.”

Cramlington Rockets are the North East’s largest rugby league club with 11 teams and more than 230 players, and boasts an award-winning community department.

For more information about schools coaching, email Steve Beaty at