Goldthorpe Cup Winners 2002-03
Merlyn Rees 20 - 10 West Leeds
When Schools' Rugby League was established in 1902/03 the school leaving age was 13. So to mark the leagues' centenary the under 13s played for a special President's shield in addition to the historic the Goldthorpe Cup.
This years final between West Leeds and Merlyn Rees High Schools was played as a curtain raiser to the Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers Superleague game and took place on Saturday 7th June.
After the teams had been announced over the public address system Meryln Rees kicked off, towards the ginnel end, just before 5pm. They opened the scoring almost immediately with an unconverted try to the side of the posts. They went on to dominate the half scoring two further tries both in the corners and having a further effort disallowed. West Leeds were given little opportunity to get on the board during the half and credit must be given to the sides hard working defence from preventing further scores. At half time the electronic scoreboard read Merlyn Rees 12 West Leeds 0.
Early second half possession created a good chance for West Leeds to get on the board but it came to nothing. Merlyn Rees then touched down again next to the corner flag. It was midway through the half before West Leeds finally went over and with the help of the post the conversion was successful. Any thoughts of a come back were short lived as Merlyn Rees came back with a further try, again wide out. West Leeds replied with a second try, this time the post denied the conversion, and it finished Merlyn Rees 20 West Leeds 10.
Merlyn Rees, Tries - Paul McShane (3), Declan Harrison 2
West Leeds, Tries - James Adams, Thomas Jackson, Goal - Jackson
The presentation of the Presidents Shield was made on the field immediately after the game.
The Goldthorpe Cup and medals were due to be presented by the Rhinos players in the Headingley long room later that evening in the company of former players who had represented the city in schools sides and were holding a reunion to celebrate the centenary. Unfortunately last years winners had failed to return the trophy so the Merlyn Rees School team were denied the honour of lifting the Cup in the presence of these distinguished guests but they did receive medals from rhinos player Danny Ward.
It was appropriate that the centenary final should be played at Headingley a ground where three of the Goldthorpe Brothers had strong connections.
James - Club Secretary,Historian and Avid Supporter.
Walter - Helped Leeds to lift the Challenge Cup for the first time.
Albert - Played there many times and lived a "six hit" from the ground.