Rugby League


25 Apr 2024

RFL President's Cup gets underway with England Universities v GB Police

RFL President's Cup gets underway with England Universities v GB Police

England Universities racked up a comprehensive 68-8 win in Round 1 of the 2024 RFL President’s Cup over Great Britain Police at a sunny, but chilly, Wigan St Patrick’s ground (Wednesday 24 April).

The game’s previous postponement had given both sides extra time to prepare which made for a robust opening 20 minutes in which both sides traded blows and completed their sets well.

Jake Dickinson opened England’s account with a well worked try, diving into the left edge to spectacularly finish the move. Nathan Redmond’s kick didn’t have the distance.

Josh MacDonald brought the Police level as he powered up the right edge to score through scrambling defence, but Scott Leatherbarrow’s miss maintained the deadlock.

Luke Phoenix moved the student side again on the quarter-mark with a corner flag beating flying-dive that wouldn’t have looked out of place in any professional game, but again Redmond was unable to stretch the lead with the attempted kick.

Strong carries from Redmon, Aaron Harlow-Stephenson and Tom Wilkins moved the students up the field to create a platform for Tyler Hepple to reach out and ground the ball under the sticks, this time Redmond was on target with the conversion, with all his following attempts all successful.

A rapid-fire hat-trick from Evan Stephenson the first two closing out the first half, backing up Jake Dickinson’s break to take the pass in front of the fullback to go under the posts for the first, with a carbon copy move minutes later as Harry Gray made the yards this time to make it 26-4 at the break, before a Luke Pheonix break was completed two minutes into the second half.

Euan Parke added the first of his hat-trick shortly afterwards, powering away for a great solo effort which appeared to put England into an unassailable lead.

But GB Police were not done, having troubled England with their kick-offs all evening, Gareth Jones was finally able to capitalise on a fumble to scamper off and add a further try to the scoresheet, although Leatherbarrow was again off target with the boot.

The final half an hour was all England, with Tom Oldroyd finding space on the left and side before Euan Parke’s crafty one-on-one steal saw him go under the sticks on the hour mark.

Phoenix scorched away after picking up a loose ball and vice-captain Aaron Powell barged his way over at close range to keep up the momentum of scoring.

The final play of the game saw Parke completing his hat-trick in the right corner, with Redmond’s conversion marking the final whistle and a commanding win for the England Universities.


England next face Great Britain Teachers, who were beaten 32-36 on the final play of the game by UK Armed Forces in the other round one game, on Wednesday 22 May, 8pm K.O. at Orrell St James.


England Universities: Nathan Redmond, Luke Phoenix, Leon Stewart, Tom Oldroyd, Jake Dickinson, Evan Stephenson, Charlie Gay, Delaine Bedward-Gittens, Tyler Hepple, Ben O’Donnell, Tom Wilkins, Luciano Bejanidze, Aaron Powell. Interchanges: Harry Gray, Isaac Coleman, Aaron Harlow-Stephenson, Noah Tyson, Euan Parke

Tries: Jake Dickinson (9), Luke Phoenix (19, 66), Tyler Hepple (24), Evan Stephenson (32, 34, 42), Euan Parke (45, 60, 79), Tom Oldroyd (53), Aaron Powell (69)

Goals: Nathan Redmond 10/12


Great Britain Police: Josh MacDonald, Gareth Jones, Ryan Strafford, Sam Ogden, Phil Whitham, Jake Davies, Scott Leatherbarrow, Steve Costella, Ben Marsden, Jordan Cella, Lewis Peet, Callum Holling, Ash Wildman. Interchanges: Rob Froggatt, Ross Moir, Joe Turner, Tom Robinson.

Tries: Josh MacDonald (16), Gareth Jones (47) 

Goals: Scott Leatherbarrow 0/2


Half Time: 26-4

Referee: Liam Breheny