Rising stars made their mark in front of a big crowd ahead in the Mini Mods Rugby League Festival at Whitehaven RLFC’s Recreation Ground.

The festival took place before Haven’s top-of-the-table League 1 clash with Oldham on Sunday, which attracted a crowd of more than 1,000 spectators, with teams from Egremont, Kells, Distington, Great Clifton and Lowca bringing 40 young players to take part.

The youngsters played in light-hearted but competitive games before the main event and stayed to be mascots as the Haven players emerged to take to the field.

The young players then put on a show again at half-time as they played more games.

The children ranged from ages six to nine, with mixed teams of boys and girls.

Marnie Jackson, general manager of West Cumbria RL Development Group, said: “It was a great day in the sun for all the family, the kids mixed in well together, played well together and had an amazing experience provided by Whitehaven RLFC with a great match for the families to enjoy.”

Young sides have regularly played before Haven’s home games this season, giving a platform to developing players and allowing fans to get a glimpse of those who could have a bright future in the sport.

Whitehaven director Andrew Canavan added: "The club are delighted with how well received the youth games have been this year.

"We realise we need to rebuild links with all the community clubs and this had to start with the youth level."