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COUNTY SCHOOLS UNION - Season review 2015-2016

 

COUNTY SCHOOLS UNION - Season review 2015-2016

 

John Morgan

 

Chairman, Lancashire County Schools Union

 

 

 

This has been another busy and successful year for Lancashire Schools.  The calendar has again been full of inter schools matches at every level, varying from the elite with several schools playing on the top circuits in the country, to schools entering emerging competitions for the first time.

 

 

 

In a season where rugby has certainly has had its detractors, and at times been the centre of unwanted attention, it is great to report that new schools have joined the county; and through the Emerging Schools agenda, we obviously hope to encourage many more, especially in the primary schools sector. Girl’s rugby continues to flourish and the schools section will continue to support any initiatives which will increase the number of girls playing rugby.

 

 

 

The 2015 World Cup did not bring the expected success on the field, but the impact it had off the field was fantastic, with packed enthusiastic crowds supporting every match across the country. It was a shame that in the North West we only had the opportunity to host one match, but with the World Rugby U’20 Championship being hosted in Manchester between the 7th and 25th June this year, we have a wonderful opportunity to introduce and expose so many youngsters to our sport being played at the highest level.

 

 

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Robbie Jones at AKS Lytham for organising the Lancashire Schools Teacher’s Coaching Conference at AKS in September. It was a great afternoon with really positive contributions from the RFU re: New Rules of Play, and players and coaches from Fylde RFC. I hope that this is an initiative that can be continued in the future, as I am sure it will be of great benefit to anyone who attends, regardless of their rugby pedigree.

 

 

 

Cup Competitions.

 

 

 

This season, the county schools programmes culminated in Finals Days at Fylde RFC, Liverpool St. Helens RFC, and Southport RFC. These competitions are the mainstay of the County Schools calendar, and are something I believe adds positively to the normal school calendar of fixtures and it means a great deal to the players to be involved in such occasions.

 

 

 

The annual cup, plate and emerging schools competitions’ successfully took place towards the end of the season. An early Easter meant that the Finals Days were brought forward to avoid clashes with prestigious seven-a-side tournaments. Unfortunately the inclement weather also had an impact, as matches had to be rearranged, and there were some hasty rearrangements made to ensure that matches went ahead. One victim of the weather was the U’18s Finals Night traditionally held at LSH, but thanks to the positive support from all four schools involved these matches were hastily rearranged, and the players were able to enjoy two extremely competitive matches. Thanks to Paul Fernside the Plate Final between Bolton School and Merchant Taylor’s was held at Bolton, and to Evan Stewart and Mark Evans for arranging the Cup Final between Lancaster RGS and Stonyhurst College at Fylde RFC. This latter match was the best advert for schoolboy rugby one could wish for, and the 17 -17 final score was perfect, as neither side deserved to lose.

 

 

 

The other two finals days were superbly hosted by Liverpool St Helens and Southport.  The event at Southport was especially well attended, on a very sunny, if not cold March Sunday. The great support we have from the clubs on these occasions cannot be underestimated. They make us all feel very welcome, and more importantly provide the players with great facilities to enjoy their day.

 

 

 

Paul Fernside has done a magnificent job organising the competitions for a number of years. His terrific organisation and enthusiasm, have been at the centre of competitions’ success. Sadly for us Paul is stepping down from the role this year, and on behalf of the County Schools I would like thank him for the great work he has done.

 

 

 

I would also like to thank everyone else who contributed to the events and throughout the season.   I would like to personally thank Ken Andrews, Dave Herriman, Tom Fitzgerald and Tim Stirk for their support of myself as Chairman and of Lancashire Schools rugby in general.

 

 

 

SCHOOLS CUP AND PLATE FINALS 2015 RESULTS

 

 

 

Wednesday 12th March 2016 at Liverpool St. Helens RFC

 

 

 

Under 18s

 

John Fletcher Cup                      

Lancaster RGS

17-17

Stoneyhurst College        (Shared)

 

 

 

 

Wednesday 16th March 2016 at Bolton School

 

Under 18s

 

Plate                      

Bolton School

13-26

Merchant Taylor’s School

 

 

 

 

Sunday 20th March at Southport RFC

 

 

 

Under 13s

 

Brian Cauwood Cup                      

The Manchester GS

19-17

Kirkham GS

 

Plate             

Bolton School

10-19

Audenshaw School

 

 

 

 

Under 14s

 

Peter Hughes  Cup                      

St Edwards College

22-21

Lancaster RGS

 

Plate             

Merchant Taylor’s School

8-7

Bolton Scool

 

 

 

 

Under 15s

 

Ian Sinclair  Cup                      

Kirkham GS

31-12

The Manchester GS

 

Plate             

AKS Lytham

3-45

Merchant Taylor’s School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under 16s

 

John Dewhurst  Cup                      

The Manchester GS

18-19

AKS Lytham

 

Plate             

Audenshaw School

16-0

Birkdale

 

 

 

 

SANDERSON SCHOOL OF THE YEAR  Kirkham Grammar School

 

 

 

Emerging Schools Competition

 

 

 

The Emerging schools competition is still working towards an ideal format, especially in the early stages of the competition. As rugby is not the primary sport in a number of the schools that participate, it is sometimes difficult for teachers to play on the regular basis needed to complete Pool matches. However, that format does provide the opportunity for teams to play more competitive matches than a knockout system may allow. Having said this a number of new school have entered the competition, and some from traditionally rugby league playing schools. These schools have certainly strengthened the competition, and as they progress into the Senior School’s competitions, I am sure they will be very competitive.

 

 

 

The Emerging Schools finals were again held at Liverpool St Helens. Many thanks must go to all at LSH for enabling the matches to be played, and for rearranging at short notice as a result of the poor weather. We always have a great welcome at LSH, which is very much appreciated by all who attend. This year there were nine different schools represented in the finals, which has emphasised the breadth of the competition. 

 

 

 

EMERGING SCHOOLS CUP AND PLATE FINALS 2016 RESULTS

 

 

 

Wednesday 16th March at Liverpool St. Helen’s RFC

 

Under 13s

 

Trophy                      

Standish HS

51-0

Birkdale Academy

 

Plate             

St. Augustines RCHS

18-17

Ormskirk School

 

 

 

 

Under 14s

 

Trophy 

Standish HS

17-20

Range HS

 

Plate             

Millfield College

10-10

St. Margarets HS

(Shared)

 

 

 

Under 15s

 

Trophy 

St. Margarets HS

12-7

Garstang Academy

 

Plate             

Ormskirk School

17-32

Canon Slade School

 

 

 

 

KEN ANDREWS EMERGING SCHOOL OF THE YEAR       Standish Community HS

 

 

 

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE RUGBY

 

 

 

Once again, a range of schools provided players who represented the County at U’15, 16, 17 and 18, with a number of players achieving success with the North, and England. Kirkham Grammar School have again led the way, with no less than five players representing England at various points.  An exceptional achievement for the school, but more importantly for the players, who we wish well for the future.

 

 

 

Once again our thanks go to the referees and officials of both Manchester and Liverpool Societies for supporting our schools during a very busy season.  The Manchester Society provided referees for both U18s finals, and the Liverpool Society for the Emerging Schools Finals at LSH and Schools Finals at Southport.

 

 

 

Finally, thank you to the officials of our own schools section, who sit on the many different sections of this and other committees.   Also to the RDOS, the Senior County Committee, for their continued support and all the many individuals who support schools and youth rugby.  

 

 

 

Whilst the number of people involved is too large to thank everyone personally, there are two people it would be remiss of me not to mention. I would like to reiterate my earlier thanks to Paul Fernside for all his efforts both as Competitions Secretary and Chairman of the Schools Section; his enthusiasm and knowledge will be sorely missed. Ken Andrews is also retiring from his many roles within Lancashire Schools. Indefatigable is one of many words I could use to describe Ken. He has been the heartbeat of our organisation for so many years, and it will be strange not having him at our meetings, ensuring that we always do the best for the rugby playing youngsters in Lancashire. He has deservedly gone on to greater responsibilities within the RFU. Our loss is very much their gain, and on behalf of the Schools Section I can only thank him for his invaluable efforts, and wish him all the very best for the future.