The side, captained by Gareth Maver, saw off competition from potential Olympians to claim the prestigious title of Young Team of the Year. This comes after an unprecedented season in which they claimed a league and cup double and finishing the year unbeaten.
The Leeds Sport Awards ceremony at Elland Road, is held annually to recognize the sporting achievements of the great city of Leeds.
Our youngsters (and some older ones too) were in good company, as the likes of Olympian Alistair Brownlee, Claire O’Hara and Leeds Rhinos also claimed recognition.
Leeds Rhinos in fact, claimed the (senior) Team of the Year award, showing just how highly prestigious the award won by the u-17s is.
The recognition has already led to some players claiming they are the best junior side ever produced by North Leeds, Tom Jackson, vice-captain and leading wicket taker said: “We’ve won everything possible, maybe we are the best!”.
(However, it must be said that they have never been a side to play themselves down).
The team celebrates with England and Yorkshire legend Brian Close
Despite being a confident side, the award came as something of a shock. Gareth tweeted: ”Feel abit inferior amongst all these olympians.. #leedssportsawards“
Coach and manager John Jackson also revealed that he was a bit embarrassed with the success, having beaten a team of national champions.
But no one could begrudge the team of winning, having gone undefeated in their 21 games in 2011 and dominated their age group since they were a team of nine year olds, winning 11 trophies in that time.
The list of individual achievements shows how unique this side is: one player played for Yorkshire under 19s, another for North England Hockey, yet another has represented the GB u-19 tennis team, five players played in the league representative side (one being captain) whilst another two under 15s also played in their respective side.
The North Leeds team also had the best bowler in the league, recognised at another end of season award ceremony.
The boys celebrate the Dennison Cup Final win
However, it was the collective effort rather than a series of individual brilliance that won them the award.
Club secretary and 2011 senior captain, Pete Grady has said how he “didn’t realise how great the team was, rather than just being a team of talented individuals.”
Another club historian also revealed that it is the very best junior team ever to have been produced by the club.
John and his faithful sidekick, Pete Maver deserve a lot of credit for managing the boys, not only into a legendary side, but also a group of mature and amiable young men.
This side of record breakers, deserve to be remembered. They proved to be the best junior team of any sport in Leeds in 2011. But also as a group of friends who enjoyed each others company. This is after all, what junior sport should be about.
Written by Will Jackson