Pyman Cup History
It was back in 1904 that Harold English Pyman(1876-1917), a local ship-owner in the town of West Hartlepool, who was also a referee famed for being a martinet on the field, presented the trophy for competition among the junior clubs in the Hartlepool and District area.
Pyman went on to become Secretary of the Durham County Referees Society, a post he held until his death in 1917.
Only clubs based within the Hartlepool and District area are eligible to compete for the trophy and this area is defined as being within 8 miles of the Heugh Lighthouse.
Originally it was competed for on a League basis with the Leagues lasting until 1926, when it was suspended by the Durham County RFU due to allegations of payment irregularity over the movement of players!
Since then, the competition has been a knockout competition. It is currently played for by the 1st XVs of clubs at level 9 and below and the 2nd XVs of clubs at level 8 and above.
After a few seasons from its inception, the League Committee commenced a programme of games between the Pyman League XV and sides such as the Champion Club, Hartlepool Rovers and then the Tyneside League. The Tyneside League was the popular name for Division Two of the Durham and Northumberland County League then flourishing in the North East in the wake of the establishment of the Northern Union and its upheavals in the Rugby Union.
These early games between the Pyman League and Tyneside League were the forerunners of the Inter County Youth matches that feature the season’s fixture card of today. The Tyneside League played for the Captain Farmer Cup – last held by Seghill – and the League faded out after the First World War as eventually did the Pyman League. There is in Winlaton Vulcans Clubhouse, a photograph of one of the Vulcan’s winning sides in the Tyneside League and the team are standing on the League Winners flag, which was the fashion of the day! The Pyman Flag was reinstituted in 2000 as part of the Millenium Celebrations but went missing in 2010 – does anyone know of its whereabouts? A call to Chris McLoughlin would be appreciated if you have information.
If anyone wishes to study the history of the Tyneside League, Chris McLoughlin would be happy to assist and add the records to these of the Pyman League.
The competition today is played mainly on Wednesday evenings towards the end of the season. For many years it ran without any formal rules, but the Hartlepool and District Union finally adopted a set of Competition Rules.