Thatto Heath Crusaders 34 Wigan St Judes 18
These two, the best U18s sides in the North West Counties Youth had met nine days earlier with Judes edging it by two points, but in the final Thatto Heath Crusaders triumphed, leaving St Judes bridesmaids for the fifth consecutive season.
The lead changed hands seven times before the St Helens side ran out winners, with their fullback Charlie Taylor going over for a quartet of tries. St Judes went 2-0 ahead from a Ben Fisher penalty before winger Louis Heyes took a magnificent crossfield to storm down line and go under the posts for a try, converted by Jamie Morris. St Judes levelled it up when prop Robbie Horton scored in the corner.
Full back Taylor dummied and scooted over for his opener before St Judes’ forward, Declan Hidden’s six pointer, but on the stroke of the break Crusaders’ centre Joe Critchley’s converted try made it 16-12 in their favour.
The lead again changed twice, with Hidden’s second converted try giving St Judes a two point buffer before Taylor restored his side’s four-point advantage. St Judes sub, Jack Barnes had a try disallowed for a knock on, before Crusaders clinched the final, with two Taylor tries completing his foursome, to the delight of his side and the supporters.
Thatto Heath Crusaders: 18 Charlie Taylor, 2. Brandon O’Neale, 12. Joe Critchley, 4. Joe Charnley, 5. Louis Heyes, Ben Heyes, 21. Connor Foster, 16. Adam Carr, 7. Jamie Morris, 18 Ross Healey, 13. Sam Favell, 11. Joe Ecclestone, 22. Chris Hull. Subs: 9. Joe Heaton, 20. Danny Edwards, 10. Bobby Cook, 14. Liam Ashurst.
Wigan St Judes: 1. Lewis Melling, 2. Aaron O’Donnell, 3. Matthew Johnson, 4. Mitchell Davies, Matthew Langhorne, 7. Ben Fisher, 6. Jack Mills, 8. Gary McMahon, 13. Sam Makin, 11. Leon Harber, 12. Declan Hidden, 10. Robbie Horton. Subs: 14. Lewis Smith, 20. Adam Ford, 16. Lewis Belshaw, 17. Jack Barnes
Man of the Match: Charlie Taylor, Thatto Heath Crusaders