Durham County Schools scrum together for relaunch of Cup competition
Durham County RFU Schools Union have re-launched the Schools Cup and over a 1000 pupils are playing rugby union, as a result.
The County Schools Cup competition with help from Durham RFU Professional Staff took its makeover around the county, setting up at twelve different rugby clubs from September.
Pictured: YR 10/11 Cup competition round one at Billingham Rugby Club on RFU AGP pitch
Along with its new look, the Cup and Plate competition attracted 35 schools, with a number of those being new faces too.
Among the seven different age group Cup and Plate games, over 1000 children have been able to enjoy rugby union with their school friends.
John Pearson, Durham County RFU Schools Union, Secretary said; “The revitalisation of the Schools Union Sevens and more lately, the implementation of a full range of Boys and Girls Festivals and Cup Competitions, has undoubtedly assisted in breathing fresh air into a moribund organisation.”
The schools Cup and Plate competition with the help of RFU Professional staff has been split into two adjacent tournaments. In round one, the mid Durham and north Durham schools attend one round of age grade fixtures to reserve their position in either the Cup or the Plate final. While in the south, the south east and south west Durham Schools competed against one another to allocate them into their next step of the competition.
The Durham County Cup and Plate finals are set to be completed in the new year.
So far, the U13 and U15 girls have enjoyed a central venue finals event at Darlington Mowden Park, where over 100 girls took part in a series of rugby games for either the Cup or Plate.
This years, 2017/18 U13 winners are; U13 Plate – Teesdale School, U13 Cup – St. Wilfrid’s, U15 Plate – Staindrop and U15 Cup – St. Thomas Moore.
Pictured: U13 Girls schools at the end of round one at Horden and Peterlee RUFC
As well as the girls competitions, St John’s Catholic Sixth form took on Queen Elizabeth Sixth form in the YR 12/13 Boys final round, for St Johns to be crowned Plate Winners and QE to take home the Cup for 2017/18.
In the new year, the remaining year seven, eight, nine and 10/11 Boys finals will take place across the County to see the completion of the 2017/2018 Schools County Cup at the end of January.
Pictured; YR 12/13 Boys, QE Cup Winners & St Johns Plate Winners with match referee and John Pearson
Pearson commented: “To attract so many schools in the first instance, and provide a number of games at both Cup and Plate level has raised the level of participation in rugby in the schools in the County.
“As well, by using County Society referees for these competitions, we were able to add professionalism to the games and raise the profile of such events that will follow in the future.
“The Cup and Plate events were a great way to show Durham Schools that the Schools Union is here and looking to provide more rugby playing opportunities for them.”
The next stepping stone for the Competition will be to source referees from the Young Match Officials within Durham Schools for future festivals such as the Cup and Plate.
By Clarissa Murphy