It was a busy day at Ruskin Drive, home of Pilkington Recs yesterday, as 53 young hopefuls impressed before the Our League cameras.
The players were separated into wearing red, blue, and black and took part in an interesting tri-series with three 40-minute games.
Reds defeated Blues in the first game with Alfie Hewitt (North Leeds Leopards) stepping over from close range before Kian Cockshott (Wibsey Warriors) converted.
With the windy conditions, it was soon decided that this should be the last goal kick of the afternoon. Neat play on the right from Connor Goldthorpe (Thatto Heath) paved the way for Mitchell Todd (Lowca) to score his first try of the game and he soon added a sweeping second after fine approach work by Harvey Oldroyd (Siddal).
Next up for the Blues was Blacks. After a scoreless first twenty minutes with play going from end to end, Blacks scored three tries in quick succession through Toby Hughes (Newton Storm), Tyler Birtle (Leigh Miners Rangers) and Ryan Wood (Wigan St Judes). The Blues fought well and had the final say when David Beck (Ulverston) went over near the end.
Reds returned to take on Blacks in the final game with two tries in the first eight minutes putting Reds firmly in control. Robbie Jones (West Hull twisted over before Charlie Walker (Brighouse Rangers) finished a good move down the left.
Blacks built their way back into the contest when a wide pass from Kieran Welburn (West Hull) was finished superbly in the corner by Kristian McVeigh (Rochdale Mayfield). Another flowing move on the left involved Oldroyd, Hewitt, Ryan Lockett (Pilkington Recs) and Mason Palmer (West Hull) with Hewitt adding try. Blacks set up a grandstand finish when Logan Holgate (Hensingham) scored with eight minutes remaining, but Reds made sure of the win with a try before the final whistle from Evan Foster (Ulverston).
Marc Lovering, RFL Director of Participation and Development, praised everyone for their contribution: "I thought it was a brilliant day, superbly organised and delivered."
Lions Under-19 Head Coach Allan Coleman also thought the exercise was worthwhile: "I thought it was a brilliant day from start to finish.
"Performance-wise, considering the wind and the rain and the actual general conditions weren't great for Rugby League, I thought everyone showcased their skills really, really well.
"You can tell some of these are playing in the NCL Premier Division and you can tell some are playing at Under-18s but at a good level of rugby.
"It's good when you see those people come together and it brings maturity out of others and it also brings others up to their level. You get a real level of consistency. Everyone showed they were capable of representing England at this level."
Coleman and his coaching staff now have the unenviable task of choosing a squad to train together over the summer in readiness for the Under-19 European Championship in Italy.