The young bucks in Hindpool Tigers’ under-7 and under-8 teams were sailing into the unknown when they travelled to the Rhinos Challenge in Skegness earlier in the month.

In the high-class tournament, hosted by Super League giants Leeds Rhinos, the Tigers were up against some of the best amateur rugby league clubs in the country on May 18 and 19, and they went on to give a great showing.

By the admission of coach Graham Shaw, the level of competition was higher than they’re used to back home, but that should hold them in great stead and the club’s staff went the extra mile to make it feel like a special occasion for the players.

Shaw said: “We fundraised for a year and we bought the teams a special kit just to wear that weekend.

“We got them training shirts, polo shirts, just a bit of a ‘tour’ kit, really, so it felt all special for them and then we fundraised a bit more to pay for the kids to go because it cost about £100 a person to go for the weekend, so it was big burden on the families.

“We had two teams at each age group. The under-8s last year went last year as under-7s and were unbeaten, but we got a bit of a shock on the first day as the standard had improved quite a bit.

“It was really good for them, though, while the under-7s got the fair play trophy, and for both age groups they got better as the two days went on.”

So much did the under-8s progress that one of their number claimed an individual and it made a bit of history as well, as Grace Anderson became the first girl to win the ‘Man of Steel’ award.

Shaw said: “There were about 200 players and there were only a couple of girls taking part and she deserved it as well.

“She’s never been that bothered about the rugby - she just does it because her twin brother’s in the team and a few of her school friends. I wasn’t sure about how she’d cope with the intensity of it.

“She was just like a different kid, like we’d never seen her before. She just tackled everything.”

Another added benefit to Hindpool is that some of the teams they face in Skegness has expressed an interest in making the trip to Barrow to play them again.