What an experience it was for the Great Sankey High School year seven rugby league team, winning the Champion Schools Cup against Standish at Wembley in the curtain-raiser to the Challenge Cup Final won by Warrington against St Helens. We asked Great Sankey full-back Daniel Regan, 12, a former student at Chapelford Village Primary School, to tell us all about it in his own words. Daniel, who also plays rugby for Crosfields under 12s as well as football for Rylands under 13s and Warrington Futsal, delivered the kick that led to his team’s first try and kicked a crucial conversion in the thrilling final stages as Great Sankey fought from behind to bring the cup home to Warrington for the first time.

Daniel’s story:

“We started with a breakfast at the Village Hotel on Thursday morning and had a little presentation.

“That included video messages from parents and players – Bennie Westwood and Kurt Gidley.

“That left us feeling excited for what was to come.

“Then we went on the coach heading to London.

“We stopped off at Harry Potter World, did the tour and had tea there.

“From there we went to the Village Hotel in Watford and got our rooms. We spent the evening playing some fun games. We had a leaderboard and points were awarded. One of the competitions was who could hold the plank the longest, which was funny.

“In the corridor we met Freddie Flintoff and we all ran after him upstairs.

“He was there to work on Top Gear, and then the next morning we saw Paddy McGuinness while we were having breakfast.

“Friday was a hot day. We tried going swimming instead of training because it was too hot.

“There was a lot of people in the pool but eventually we got to go in. We just did some fun games, including playing a rugby match in the pool.

“We did some chilling like watching the NRL on TV, playing table football.

“In the afternoon we had a tour of Wembley which was good.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

“We went into the press room, all the different changing rooms that would be used the next day by Warrington, St Helens, Widnes and Sheffield.

“There was a corridor with a bunch of framed signed shirts of players who have played at Wembley, like footballers and NFL stars.

“I was feeling nervous for our cup final the next day. Our opponents, Standish, were having a picture taken with the Challenge Cup when we got there, so we did the same after they went.

“We went to the VIP area where Prince Harry and the Mayor would be.

“I’d had a tour before and been a mascot. It’s a massive place. There’s a lot of capacity for fans, a bit too much I think.

“On cup final day I was a bit nervous going to Wembley from the hotel.

“Everybody was quiet. We had a big speaker and on Thursday/Friday we had music on the coach, but on Saturday it was quiet.

“When we got there the guy from the RFL met us and took us to our changing rooms.

“It was about 40 minutes until we could go out to warm-up, so everyone was passing a ball around the changing room and it was a nervous time.

“We got changed and went out to train on the artificial grass around the sides of the pitch.

Warrington Guardian:

“You could tell we were all nervous because when we were passing through hands we were all shaking.

“We just did a few passing drills, went back to the changing rooms and sat down for a bit.

“But when we walked out of the changing rooms for the match that’s when everyone was getting really nervous.

“We saw Warrington head coach Steve Price and the players Jake Mamo and Stef Ratchford. They came over to say well done to us for reaching the final. They were telling us don’t be nervous, just do what you can and try to bring the cup home to Warrington.

“Once the whistle blew for kick-off, it was just about playing rugby, doing what we’d done all year, not thinking about Wembley.

“Early on it was about getting to grips with a couple of their big players because they had a bit of power behind them, so it was how to take them down and stop them from getting full momentum.

“They had some fast wingers as well and we kept having to deal with them.

“It was a rough start for us. Sometimes we have fallen behind in a first half but then we come back in the second half, and we’ve been shouted at a bit.

“They went 8-0 in front and it got to the final few minutes where I thought we weren’t going to be able to come back.

“But we got to their 10-metre line and we eventually scored.

“Lucas Mulqueeney took a scoot in on the fifth tackle, got the ball away to Kaden Johnson and he twisted and passed the ball to me.

“I looked up and saw that Josh Cowell and Oliver Garmston were onside. There was a big gap, so I thought if I could kick it to Josh he could step inside and score, and that’s what happened.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

“It was game on. But I was telling myself I had to make sure I kick the goal. I was shaking. I just kept my head down, kicked it, and when it went over I was really pleased.

“I’d been practicing my kicking on the pitch at Crosfields with my dad and grandad leading up to Wembley, just focusing on my routine. It paid off.

“There wasn’t long left. We took a few drives and got into their half.

“Lucas passed it from dummy-half to Oliver and his run got us right near to their try line.

“Lucas then faked to go one way and went the other way before diving over to score.

“We all just jumped on him. When the ref awarded the try it was a sigh of relief because there was only a few seconds left.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

“We were all really happy.

“I thought our teacher Mr Gee was going to cry he was that happy.

“He came onto the pitch and started running towards us because he was so proud of us all and had been waiting years for this moment.

“He’d got teams to semi finals before but then been knocked out.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

“The parents in the stands had all been singing our songs which was good and that had given us a confidence boost.

“Everyone’s families were there, parents and grandparents.

“We lined up to do a lap of honour and when we ran over to our parents we all did a slide. We were just shocked that we’d won and were celebrating.

Warrington Guardian:

“We shook hands with Standish. They were very upset, some of them were crying. And thinking about it, even I thought they had it in the bag.

“They took their opportunities when they had them. We had some and didn’t take them until the last few minutes.

“It was perseverance in trying to get over that line that got us through.

“We were all really tired so it took us about five minutes to get up all the steps to receive the cup.

“We all got given our medals and then we raised the trophy. Junior Westwood, our captain, lifted it first and then it went down the line so that we could all lift it.

Warrington Guardian:

“I was first up the steps and last to hold the cup, so I brought it down to the pitch to have our picture taken with the winners sign.

“I don’t think what we’d done had sunk in.

“When we got back to the changing rooms, it had sunk in for some but it hadn’t for me.

“I don’t think it seemed real for me until we got home.

“It really sunk in at the homecoming when all the Warrington players came to the Town Hall.

“We were invited to meet the Mayor and be on pictures with the Warrington players.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

All pictures by Mike Boden

“Overall, we won every trophy available to us in year seven – including the national nines competition.

“I think what I’ll remember most is the singing on the coach, walking up the Wembley steps and shaking hands with the Mayor to get our medals and the trophy.

“I feel very proud about what we’ve all achieved.

“No Warrington school team had won it before.

“When we went to the Town Hall and had pictures with the Warrington team the Mayor said that we were as important as the Warrington team in terms of winning the cup and bringing it back.

“It meant a lot to have the two cups coming home the same weekend.

“It was amazing to be at Wembley the same weekend as Warrington.

“And we got to play on the pitch before some professional players have.

“It’s something we’ll never forget.”