Leigh Centurions are pleased to announce the winners of the amazing competition that involved Year 6 pupils from local primary schools to design the new warm-up tops that will be worn by the players before each game in the 2021 Betfred Super League season.

The competition was restricted to primary schools within the area of Leigh, Abram, Astley, Atherton, Bickershaw, Culcheth, Golborne, Hindley Green, Lowton, Tyldesley, Westhoughton and Westleigh.

Initially nineteen schools entered the competition which was organised by Leigh Community Trust and judged by a panel comprising club owner Derek Beaumont, club chairman Mike Latham, head coach John Duffy, LCT programmes director Hannah Forbes and Jonathan Schofield, the Managing Director of Ellgren.

Each competing school was tasked with a shirt design and presentation that explained the rationale behind the design and the school’s link to the town and club.

Leigh Centurions initially put a prize pool up of £6,000 and Ellgren put up two full kits worth £500 each for the best presentations. With a national lockdown hampering the competition the rules were changed to enable the presentation to take whatever virtual format the schools chose.

Whilst realising the difficulties for schools, teachers, pupils and parents during the lockdown, disappointingly only eight schools from the 19 submitted a design and presentation.

As a consequence of this, the club decided to increase the prize pool to £7,000 and split the pool differently. This was communicated to the schools that entered.

The judges placed their top three choices individually. in order, for each aspect, with 5 points awarded for 1st place, 3 for 2nd place and 1 for 3rd place.

The results of the design element of the competition were:
1st Place: Gilded Hollins Primary School with 23 points, receiving £2,000 plus kit supplied by Ellgren to the value of £500;
2nd Place: St Thomas’ Primary School with 10 points, £1,000 plus kit supplied by Ellgren to the value of £500;
3rd Place: Sacred Heart Primary School with 9 points, £250 plus kit supplied by Leigh Centurions to the value of £500.

The other five schools that entered all received kit, to the value of £500 each, supplied by Leigh Centurions.

The results for the presentation element were:
1st Place: Gilded Hollins Primary School with 25 points, receiving £250;
2nd Place: St Thomas’ Primary School with 15 points £250;
3rd Place: Bedford Hall Methodist Primary School with 5 points.

The training top will be developed by our new kit suppliers Ellgren and be available for sale in the club’s retail outlet with all profits from sales going to the winning school and will also be proudly worn by the players during the warm-up before every game in the Betfred Super League.

The club would like to thank the other schools that took part: St Joseph’s Primary School, St John’s Primary School, Golborne Primary School and Lowton St Mary’s.
Derek Beaumont said: “The panel found it really interesting and enjoyable judging the competition and there were times where it was also very funny and most certainly entertaining. We appreciated the difficulties the lockdown placed on the schools and it was interesting to see how different schools approached that.

“The level of work that went into most of the designs and presentations was outstanding and I would like to thank the children and their teachers for their approach to this. I was so impressed I felt it worthy of producing a video for each school with feedback and to convey a very important message that we carry at the club, that is valuable in all aspects of life.

“It’s extremely important, in particular, on a field of play that you never give in. No matter what the challenge, how big the hurdle, how difficult something seems, even if you don’t believe you can win, you give your best, be the best you can be, as it brings reward and it brings improvement. We were disappointed to see 11 schools withdraw from the competition and therefore wanted to reward those that hadn’t to portray the message that not giving in, and doing whatever you have available to you, as your best brings rewards.

“One school simply sent in their design but at least they gave themselves a chance and their reward, the same as all those that took part, is a full Ellgren school kit of their design or their traditional school design which we are sure will be very welcomed.

“Some of the highlights of the presentations were an outstanding re-wording of the song ‘Never Enough’ with a fantastic dancing routine from St Thomas’s. A documentary type presentation utilising children homeschooling combined with those in school by Gilded Hollins. There was, however, an individual standout performer that we felt deserved an award for their school and themselves personally for how they had taken on the task of putting their name to their work and undertaking the presentation.

“In a team game sometimes it’s a standout individual that achieves and we felt this of Dylan Jones from Sacred Heart. The design would have made a great heritage shirt and we really liked the message in the presentation that their entry was to provide an opportunity for a better future for those after their year had left in the summer.

“We therefore awarded Sacred Heart £250 in recognition of the standout performance and a signed ball will be presented to Dylan when we are able to do so.

“There were many other elements of the designs and presentations from the schools which really were pleasing, and we look forward to being able to engage further with the schools in our community in the future.”

Hannah Forbes said: “The winning design will be showcased on the Club’s website once the design has been formalised with Gilded Hollins and Ellgren and we would hope to have an awards event at a game when the winning top is worn for the first time, but this will be subject to government restrictions at the time and may need to be delayed to later in the year.

“The local primary schools that took part in the competition really did themselves and the Centurions proud. With the restrictions and limitations, we have all been living by in the third lockdown it was testament, to the eight schools that did take part, of their resilience and ability to adapt.

“From their entries we saw a plethora of innovative presentation and design ideas, which made the judging very interesting, the presentations made us laugh, sing along, take part in a pop quiz of Leigh Rugby League and also taught us a few interesting Roman Centurions facts along the way.

“It was probably the most enjoyable part of my job this year and I would personally like to thank all the children, parents and teachers from the eight schools for taking the time to take part and we hope your resilience has been well rewarded, well done!”