Lochinvar win Cochrane Cup

St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar have won the under 14s Cochrane Cup Rugby League Grand Final - a prestigious state-wide competition for Catholic Schools.

The team played a local gala day back in term one against all schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. As the winner of this gala day the team progressed to the Area Final against St Edward’s College, East Gosford.

Next came the Northern Region Qualification Finals played earlier this term. The team had to defeat De La Salle College, Ashfield, St Joseph’s Regional College, Port Macquarie and O’Connor Catholic College, Armidale to secure their place in the grand final against Kildare Catholic College, Wagga Wagga.

The day before the final, the boys were presented with their jerseys in front of their peers by the college principal, Mrs Patricia Hales, which built up the excitement for the game ahead.

Once the team arrived at St Mary’s Leagues Stadium in Sydney, the patron of the competition, Mr Bob Cochrane, came to each teams’ sheds to explain the history and significance of the occasion and to wish everyone the best of luck. This was an honour for our boys to experience. The teams took to the field and the game was underway.

Kildare got off to a flying start, scoring the opening try within a few minutes. Our boys regrouped and the starting forwards Caleb Garvie, Ned Jennings, Rory Whitby, Seth Blisst and Billy McNickle started to get some field position with strong runs off dummy half, Trey Morris.

This allowed the halves pair, Fletcher Sharpe and Mayson Metcalf, to find more space for the outside backs Tyler Threadgate, Jonathan Scholes-Gilson, Thomas Swift and Jordan Noonan.

The fullback, Blaik Schmidhauser, was ever present, ready to receive a late offload and make ground up the middle.

The interchange players of Isaac Parker, TJ Roe, Kaiden Hutchinson and Seth Vincent continued to provide good runs and solid defence when they got their opportunity to take to the field.

Although injured and unable to play, Connor Newell and Will Leonard provided much needed support to their teammates from the bench.

Halftime saw St Joseph’s skip away to a solid lead of 20 to 6. The coach, Mr Matt Wilks, gave an impressive halftime speech to ensure the St Joseph’s boys were ready for whatever was thrown at them.

The second half was a more seesawing affair with both teams crossing for tries. Kildare were playing an expansive game to try and score quick points but St Joseph’s were very determined to bring home the trophy and continued to keep turning up for each other in both defence and attack.

When the final siren sounded Lochinvar were the winners, 26 to 16. Congratulations to all the players on this wonderful achievement.

The team will now go on to play the winner of the public school equivalent competition on Tuesday 11 September as a curtain raiser to the NRL Schoolboy Cup final.

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