London and the South East will be represented at Saturday’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium by some of the best and brightest young Rugby League talent in the region.
Under-15s from the 13 clubs in the London Junior League will be on duty as ball crew covering the Year 7 Champion Schools curtain-raiser, Brooksbank High School v Castleford Academy (1.05pm) and the Tetley’s Challenge Cup final between Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos (3.00pm).
RFL Education Officer (South) Stephen Guan explained the process by which the ball crew are selected: “We asked all 13 clubs to put forward a couple of players from their Under-15 squads. They are usually the ones who work hard, train hard and have a good sense of sportsmanship,” he said.
Thirteen players are drawn out of a hat – one from each club. The unsuccessful ones are then put back in and a 14th is drawn out to make up the crew.
“It’s a tremendous honour for the boys and their clubs to take part in one of highlights of the Rugby League calendar at this iconic stadium,” he said.
It is a tremendous honour for the region according to Martin Coyd, Chair of London RL Youth Junior and Primary RL.
“This is the stuff of dreams,” he said. “To be an integral part of one of the greatest sporting events on the planet is just huge. Our youngsters from London, are being given a once in a lifetime opportunity to get very close to sporting superstars and history being made.”
“The Wembley showcase events are a growing part of our culture in London Rugby League and I am grateful that we are given the opportunity to contribute and be a part of something in the heart of our community. Wembley is Our Day, the day when the whole of the Rugby League world comes to our city, and plays out a magnificent occasion. We are very proud of that.”
RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer said: “It is with very special pleasure that I welcome the Ball Crew today, who are drawn from 13 different community clubs and are great example of the way that the game continues to flourish in the capital.
“It would be great to think that their imagination and ambition is fuelled by their involvement in this fantastic occasion, to such an extent that maybe one or two may even tread the hallowed turf in future years. Most importantly, is that the event gives them a life-long love of the game.”
The full list of players and their clubs is: Ja’vahn Charles (London Skolars), Adam Cann (Hayes and Ealing Vikings), Taran Garewal (Hayes and Ealing Vikings), Dan Duke (North Herts Crusaders), Ryan Couch (Staines Titans), Ted Jones (Croydon Hurricanes), Harry Luckman (Eastern Rhinos), George Sanderson (Elmbridge Eagles), Joseph Green (Southend Spartans), Lewis Hollidge (Medway Dragons), Gvidas Jankauskas (Newham Dockers), Sam Walker (Southampton Spitfires), David Baker (Brentwood Eels), Henry Simpson (Brixton Bulls).
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