The Audenshaw U14 Rugby Team will attempt to make history on Monday by becoming the first side in the history of the school to win the Lancashire Schools Cup. The boys secured their place in the showpiece event by defeating Hutton Grammar away from home on Wednesday afternoon by 38 points to nil. This was the latest in a brilliant series of results that has included eliminating traditional big guns, Manchester Grammar and Merchant Taylor's from the competition in a campaign that has seen them win ten, draw one and lose just three of their opening fourteen matches in 2018/19.
Many of the stars of this side have already attracted the attention of professional clubs with Nathan Clare, Ahmed Shamir, Declan O'Loughlin, Ben Partington and Cameron Scanlon all now within the development systems of Sale Sharks, each showing the kind of promise that may lead to amazing futures in the game. Over the past decade, 45 of our boys have progressed into to the pro ranks with Gene Ormsby, Jack Johnson, Patrick Anglin and Ellis Robson all now full time players in Rugby's Super League with the Warrington Wolves and so many more such as Ashley Platt-Hughes and Sam Stelmaszek in the semi professional levels of the sport. The Audenshaw teams have been a regular feature of County Finals Day having won six Lancashire Plates across the age groups since 2007 and have also reached four Cup Finals in the same time period.
The U14's of 2013/14 were our last representatives in the county's top two but sadly fell at the final hurdle with a 13-0 loss to Merchant Taylor's denying them the glory in a game held at Aldwinians RUFC. The stars of that team included centre, James Smillie, front row, James Sharples who went on to become 1st XV skipper in 2017/18 and the aforementioned Anglin who was the lynch pin of this outfit. Most famously, the U14's of 2007/08 came within seconds of being crowned champions in a highly controversial 19-18 loss to Manchester Grammar at Rochdale RUFC when a flurry of unexplained refereeing decisions led to a particularly painful outcome for this incredible group who won 24 of their 26 fixtures that year. Tahir El Mahdi featured prominently in this side and went to play at the highest level with Sale Sharks, Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falcons and England in Rugby Union and for the at the time, Super League Champions, Leeds Rhinos in the thirteen man code. Other notable names were Mike Moreland, Jonathan Trinick and Nick Doyle who could each lay a realistic claim to making the all time Audenshaw XV.
Glory on Monday would be just reward for the Class of 2018/19 who have been the most committed group the school have ever known with their three sessions a week throughout all times of the year including school holidays. Kirkham Grammar will provide a powerful adversary to overcome but this team has everything to win and to become the very best team in the history of Audenshaw School.