Over the August bank holiday weekend, we took 50 pupils from the Year 7 and 9 Girls and Year 9 Boys Rugby teams to the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley for their 'Parade of Champions'. All the teams who reach the National Finals are invited to Wembley to parade around the pitch, before watching the Challenge Cup Final.
These 3 teams were successful in reaching the Champion Schools National Cup Finals in July. The Year 9 Girls were successful against West Lakes (Cumbria) winning 52-26. A five star, five-try performance from super centre F Cowell and a goal-kicking masterclass from T Bryer contributed massively.
Cowell's first try and two from A Wood, all converted by Bryer, ensured Castleford went into the break all square, and in the second half they showed their champion quality. Cowell led the way in the 2nd half scoring four more outstanding solo tries, with A Millward and K Carton also crossing to give Castleford Academy a memorable victory.
The Year 9 Boys made it 3 National Titles in 3 years, completing another domestic treble and go into the record books with the longest ever unbeaten streak! We had T Czmeiduch to thank for all their points, the powerful forward scoring two second half tries and converting both of them to deny Beamont.
Beamont led at 6-0 at the end of an attritional first half characterised by determined defence. The second half followed a familiar pattern as both sides simply refused to give an inch in defence. Eventually Czmeiduch made his own luck, collecting a fortunate rebound from his own speculative kick to cross wide on the left, before converting to bring his side level at 6-6. Beamont immediately tried to bounce back only to be denied by full back T Spence-Horton's outstanding cover tackle. It was a tackle that changed the momentum of the game, allowing Castleford Academy to regroup and relaunch an attack that finished with Czmeiduch's second try following a barnstorming break. Czmeiduch again converted to put Castleford Academy 12-6 to the good and, although Beamont had promising moments late on, Castleford's defence held firm.
The Year 9 Girls performed terrifically well against St John Fisher (Kirklees), but unfortunately came up short in a high quality and entertaining game. The game was actually played at Wakefield Wildcats, as the curtain raiser to the Wakefield v Wigan women's Super League game.
The first half involved an exchange of tries from both teams in a frantic affair. Fishers went in slightly ahead at half time, but the 2nd half followed suit, with both teams looking dangerous in attack. K Pycroft scored a hattrick for Castleford, while O Phelan and L Sutton grabbed a try each for Castleford in the 20-26 defeat.
The Year 11 Girls were the other team from the school to reach a National Final, which was played before they left in April. The girls rounded off an excellent 5 years at the school, running out 22-0 winners against Astley (Cumbria). H Dodd won the plaudits, gaining the player of the match for 2nd year in a row. She scored 3 tries, with A Derwanz adding a forth. K Bennett converted 3 from 4 to complete the scoring. Dodd and Bennett later faced off against each other in the Women's Challenge Cup Final for Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos respectively.