RUGBY: Kesteven crowned NLD U13 champions

Kesteven under-13s - this year's Notts, Lincs and Derbys Shield champions.
Kesteven under-13s - this year's Notts, Lincs and Derbys Shield champions.
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Kesteven RFC under-13s enjoyed a tremendous season and have been rewarded by being crowned the Notts, Lincs and Derbys Shield Champions for 2016, beating Ashbourne 34-19 in the final at Ilkeston RFC.

It capped a successful season, playing a series of friendly matches alongside competing in the regional pools, which the boys topped. They now look forward to playing in the higher tier Cup competition next season and hope their close team bond will stand them in good stead against the larger clubs, maybe taking a leaf out of Leicester City FC’s book.

In fact, the vast majority of the current under-13s have been together since they were U7s and are pulled from mainly King’s School and Priory Academy. In addition to this season’s competition wins, four of the team have been selected for the Leicester Tigers’ Developing Player Programme; the beginning of the sift to full academy status at U16 level.

The team has been away on tour five years in a row and this year they travelled to Terenure College RFC, Dublin.

The Terenure U13 competition is a fantastic international affair, made up of 16 teams from France, Ireland, England, Belgium and Scotland, with matches streamed live over the internet for families at home to view.

The Kesteven lads were able to travel thanks to sponsors Mattioli Woods, Sanderson Environmental and Frontier, and are already planning a longer 2017 trip to the south of France.

The team is the epitome of rugby spirit and there is no doubt the boys will remember this year, the final and, of course, the Dublin tour for a long time.