Talented young rugby players from Trinity roared into action as they joined their sister schools to take their Lions squad on tour.
The crème de la crème of players from the Emmanuel Schools Foundation headed to Cumbria for a three-match tour against some of the best players in the Lake District.
A squad of 24 Year 11 players were selected from Trinity Academy in Thorne; Emmanuel College, Gateshead; Bede Academy, Blyth; and The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham.
The boys played competitive sides from Egremont RUFC, Keswick School and Penrith RUFC, coming away with three great results.
Against Egremont, in difficult weather conditions, the 17-29 defeat failed to reflect the close nature of the match.
A 24-12 win against Keswick School provided some highly entertaining rugby, as did the Lions’ 21-12 win against Penrith, with all three teams equipping themselves well.
ESF tour manager David Greenshields said: “We have received some fantastic hospitality and, while the competition on the pitch was fierce, our boys have forged some close friendships with their opponents through a common love of rugby.”
Tour coach Alun Barlow said: “The lads played exceptionally well and came away with a fine set of results. I was amazed how quickly they came together as a squad given they do not get the opportunity to play together very much. I think they will take their improved skills back to their own schools now and inspire rugby across the trust.”
Trinity Academy provided the squad with four top players: Eric Lopes, Tom Easen, Tom Willey and Luke Westacott.
Lions coach David Potts said: “All our boys did Trinity proud with their performances both on and off the pitch. This is much more than a rugby tour with the boys taking part in dragon boat racing, ten-pin bowling and ghyll scrambling, as well as playing three great games and some invaluable training every day.
“Tom Easen was named the Trinity Lion of the tour. A footballer by nature, Tom’s rugby improved markedly in a short space of time, due to his willingness to learn and commitment to put into practice the tactics and skills he was coached in.”
Tom said: “It has been absolutely amazing and I feel my rugby has really improved by joining the tour. We do get used to playing the same sides and this challenged us by pushing us outside our comfort zones.
“The Lions boys bonded on the tour and we made some great friends from the other teams. I am sure I will remember this experience for many years to come.”