Rossendale under 7s rounded off a highly enjoyable weekend with a fantastic tournament runners up position to cap a recent strong run of improvement .
The signs were promising - the youngest Rossendale team had started to click into gear in training over the past 2 weeks, and they prepared for Windermere with encouraging signs of development and more focus. The squad included the more match experienced Michael Bailey, with his strong running and pace, along with Freya Rawcliffe to add strength to the defence, and Sam Ludlam for his tenacious tagging.
This was an opportunity for the lads - and girl - to kick on from the Vale of Lune and put the learnings from that experience into practice.
The opposition was varied - Sharks , Lions and Eagles, and to make them even more scary, they all carried the prefix of Liverpool.
We were up from it right from the word " go" in match 1 to open proceedings. Liverpool Lions providing the opposition, and it was a tightly fought contest between 2 strong running teams. Both teams traded tries with Michael Bailey showing his pace to get over 4 times, ably supported by Marcus Yates, Cameron Grady and Henry Nuttall with one apiece, Bailey Marshall rounding off a typically pugnacious display with a try of his own as we ran out narrowly on top at 8-7.
Michael went into match 2 with high confidence and repeated his 4 try feat, Cameron chipped in too and this time the Liverpool Sharks were sunk 5-1 - lunchtime and 2 games in the bag already. Martin could be the new Mourinho........the Special One !!
Lunch seems to have a negative effect on our 7s.......maybe they enjoyed it too much because, just like at Vale of Lune we failed to repeat the early high standards of form, shape and determination. Liverpool reappeared this time as Eagles, and they soared to a 12-2 win over a sorry Rossendale unit, Cameron and Bailey scored but it was the proverbial kick - The Special One began to lose his voice ! However, the team was not prepared to sit back and let the rot set in, they galvanised themselves to raise the bar and bounce back against the Lions for match 4 and rounded off the day with a magnificent 7-2 victory, Michael Bailey and Bailey Marshall completed the scoring between them. Michael completed a sensational day with 12 scores !! Three out of four wins, well placed for day 2 and everyone having played their part.
Day 2, all to play for in the remaining 2 games and we were out of the blocks strongly. Sharks again, and this time a narrow victory 7-5 meant that it would all come down to the final match as the mini league decider. Bailey Marshall is just having a fantastic debut season and again he ran in 3 , Michael 2 more, Cameron and Henry completing the scoring. The teamwork was fabulous - Sam was having fun collecting tags, but his pass to Bailey in full flight on the wing was a sublime moment and a strong reflection of the overall recent improvement in the team.
And so to the final - Eagles we're clearly the pick of the Liverpool teams, we stumbled against them on day 1, this time it was closer but sadly we went down 3-7, Sam got his reward for outstanding effort with a rare try and Mikey came in with yet another 2. We had finished second, Martin's voice had gone, 4 wins from 6 rewarded with a trophy should boost confidence for next season for us to go one better.
Players player of the tournament was Michael, Coaches player was Bailey, remember the name, it will appear here many more times in the ensuing years !!!
The team - Sam Ludlam, Freya Rawcliffe, Marcus Yates, Oliver Yates, Michael Bailey, Cameron Grady, Bailey Marshall, Henry Nuttall, Lucas Torbica
Massive well done to everyone involved, special congratulations to Martin for coaching the team through the second half of the season to the great improvements we have seen.