London’s Eton Manor was the venue at the weekend for an outstanding celebration of junior Rugby League in the south-east.
Seven clubs had teams involved in Saturday’s London Junior League Finals Day, with Brentwood Eels and North Herts Crusaders maintain their 100% records at under 18 and under 14 levels respectively.
North Herts defeated Bromley Bengals 30-18 in the under 14s final, while in the under 18s final Brentwood overcame Hemel Stags 34-18. There were stand-out performances in both finals from Elliot Oughton (North Herts Crusaders), Freddie Pressney (Bromley Bengals), Joe Edwards (Brentwood Eels) and Joe Stocks (Hemel Stags).
The Eels and Crusaders were just two of 15 clubs competing in the London junior leagues this year, which attracted record player registrations in excess of 1,100. Also tasting success on finals day were London Skolars, Invicta Panthers and Bromley Bengals.
Stephen Guan, RFL London and South Regional Manager, said: “This was a fitting climax to a unique season, played at a fantastic venue and watched by a tremendously enthusiastic crowd. Our congratulations of course go to the winners, and to all the clubs who took part on Saturday and throughout the season.
— London RL Primary and Junior League (@londonpjl) July 25, 2021
“All the clubs, players, parents and volunteers have gone above and beyond in taking part this year, taking into consideration the pandemic and all the protocols that they have had to put in place and follow. Credit as well to league chair Philippa Robson and the management group who have worked tirelessly this season to ensure activity went ahead. To have had the growth we’ve seen this year is a credit all involved.
“The introduction of the cup and plate structure this year has maximised opportunities for young people to play Rugby League in the region, as has the new girls’ activity taking place within some of the clubs.
“Without match officials there would be no finals day, so I’d like to thank the Southern Match Official Society for doing such an excellent job. In Ollie Mercer-Smith and Henry Winnard we had two newly qualified referees who were rewarded with finals appointments, and the society is keen to continue its development programme with a focus around young match officials.”
The 15 clubs taking part this year were: Bedford Tigers; Brentwood Eels; Brixton Bulls; Bromley Bengals; Eastern Rhinos; Elmbridge Eagles; Hemel Stags; Invicta Panthers; London Skolars; Medway Dragons; North Herts Crusaders; Oxford Cavaliers; Richmond Warriors; Rutlish Raiders; St Albans Centurions.
Follow London Rugby League Primary and Junior league on Twitter at @londonpjl