Young Match Officials from Thorp Academy make their first County appearance at Durham Schools Sevens

Young Match Officials from Thorp Academy make their first County appearance at Durham Schools Sevens


Durham County RFU Schools Union mark another day in history as eight young match officials referee the U12 Boys County schools seven’s tournament at Ryton RFC.

On the breezy Thursday afternoon, eight schools turned out to play a waterfall contest in the first of the County Schools sevens events.

Due to weather forcing cancellations throughout the competition, this was the first round to go ahead, thanks to; Ryton RFC volunteers, Barnard Castle School volunteer competition co-ordinators and the young match officials from Thorp Academy.

Pictured by Thorp Academy: Thorp U12 Boys at Ryton RFC


This competition was the first involvement the young match officials have had with the Schools Union since obtaining their Kids Kirst Old Mutual Wealth Refereeing Children qualification, delivered by North Durham CRC, Jon Benson.

John Pearson, DCRFU Schools Union Secretary, said: “It was a great pilot scheme to introduce the match officials into our competition set up.

“It was undoubtedly a success, as it gave the young officials a chance to use their qualification and be mentored by Durham County RFU Society referees.

“A number of the candidates will go on to the next level of the referee award in the next year and will therefore extend their benefits to the County Schools competition setup.

“More than anything, this must be seen as an outstanding example of the core values of the game.

“We are creating meaningful experiences for young people in the game, in more ways than just playing.”

Durham County Schools Union will continue to look at their Young Match Officials opportunities throughout the year, working with RFU professional staff to increase the number of qualified young referees in Durham.

The only other competition to go ahead has been the U13 Boys, moved to Barnard Castle School to accommodate seven visiting schools.

All of the teams got the opportunity to play four games each under the organisation of Luke Monument of Barnard Castle School, and supervision of Society Referees, David Swainson, Dave Bennett and Pearson.

In pool one, hosts Barnard Castle ranked top, followed by Egglescliffe, St John’s and Conyers (team one), while the winners of pool two were Durham School followed by, Ian Ramsey, Durham Johnston and Conyers (team two).

In the final games, pool one faced its equal opponent from pool two, where Barnard Castle and Durham battled it out for the trophy.

Pearson commented: “There was some great rugby on display throughout the afternoon and great to get some sevens games played.

“The final match between the hosts and Durham can only be described as David versus Goliath with a physically small but highly mobile Castle overcoming a much larger Durham School team.”

Keeping a clean sheet, Barnard Castle reigned Durham County Schools Union U13 Boys Sevens winners with seven tries to nil.

In other results, Egglescliffe beat Ian Ramsey 7- 2 for third place, St John’s took fourth with a 3 – 1 victory over Durham Johnston and Conyers placed fifth.

Durham County Schools Union saw a double in the number of entries for this year’s sevens competitions, showing the growth the County is experiencing.

This growth will continue as they prepare for next year’s competition offers.

By Clarissa Murphy