Panthers feeling just champion

Chorley Panthers U15 team success who won their league
Chorley Panthers U15 team success who won their league

Just ask this plucky group of rugby league players who have turned from relegation contenders to league champions in just 12 months.

After a disappointing campaign, the Chorley Panthers U15 team side only won two games and were rooted to the bottom of the Division One table.

Bosses at the North West Counties League were looking to relegate the young side but officials from Chorley Panthers RL club persuaded them to give one last try.

However, less than a year on, the fairytale story is complete as on Sunday they beat favourites for the league title Burtonwood Bulldogs 34-14.

Coach Jason Seddon said: “The lads have done really well and it is just what they deserve after last season.

“Peter Swanwick who coaches with me had to persuade the league officials that they should stay in the division.

“I came in to coach back in October and we changed things about a bit.

“The players were lacking a bit of self-confidence and they worked really hard on improving their game.

“They have shown tremendous will to win with a very professional attitude especially after a terrible campaign last season.”

Jack Swarbrick took the headlines with four tries while captain Rob Meadows grabbed a brace in the win.

The U16 side won nine and drew one of their 12 matches and were unbeaten at home.

Mr Seddon said: “We kept things simple and a number of players developed considerably during the season.

“They include Terence Markham, Jack Purdham and Anton Barrow and were a big asset to the team.

“Jack Swarbrick was our top-scorer while captain Rob Meadows was very calm under pressure and led by example.

“The whole team played well and gave 100 per cent in training.”

Chairman Peter Bridge said: “This is a great achievement and we are delighted that they have brought some silverware to the club.

“It is going to be a tough challenge next season moving into the top division but I am sure that they can meet the demands of playing in a higher level.

“We are always trying to encourage participation in sport but it is even better when one of the teams wins their league.”