The season began in September with the East trial at Stockport G.S., West trial at Wirral RFC and the Central trial at Weaverham H.S. All three trials were well attended and nominations were high but there is a worrying trend that schools are still not nominating boys. I pointed this out last year and nothing has changed as there are many areas of Cheshire where very few boys are nominated at all such as Trafford, Vale Royal and Crewe and Nantwich. Some boys don’t play club rugby so there is a definite possibility that we are missing boys at this stage.
East v Manchester lost
East v Central Cheshire lost
East v West Cheshire won
West v Merseyside won
West v Central Cheshire draw
West v East lost
Central v North Lancs won
Central v East Cheshire won
Central v West Cheshire draw
48 boys were chosen to represent the county at A and B levels and this involved boys from 23 schools and 14 clubs. This year we included two boys from the Isle of Man. Our first training session was held on New Year’s Eve at Burnage RFC and our other practices were held at St.Ambrose College.
V Staffs won 72pts to 0 at Sandbach R.F.C.
A v Lancashire won 36 to 12 pts at Wilmslow R.F.C.
B v Yorkshire B won 22 pts to 12 pts at Stockport R.F.C.
A v Kent lost 14 pts to 5 pts at Lymm R.F.C.
B v Kent won 24 pts to 12 pts at Lymm R.F.C.
A v Yorkshire lost 32 points to 14 at Hull Ionians
B v Yorkshire lost 22 points to 20 at Hull Ionians
The county 15 programme is held at a very busy time of the year and we have to be very appreciative of the demands facing the boys in their clubs and schools tournaments. This year Bridgewater H.S. got to the semi-finals of the NatWest competition but unfortunately lost. St Ambrose 18s went one step further by reaching Twickenham but they unfortunately also lost. Every year schools from Cheshire reach the semi-finals and the finals of the prestigious competition and there can’t be a county in the country with a better record than ours. Match reports for all the games are on the Cheshire website.
Our thanks go to the clubs for making their facilities available to us especially as the weather has been particularly wet causing the Staffs and Lancashire matches to be rearranged.
We began playing Kent in 2007 and it is very unfortunate that this year’s games were completely ruined by the weather as it will be the last time that the 2 counties will play each other at this age group. Next year’s plans for the 15 group will mean that the county programme will be completed by the end of January making our Kent fixture impossible. We played Yorkshire B twice this year as Lancashire failed to field a B side and honours were shared equally with a win each. It is important at this level to develop the boys and give as many opportunities as possible to them and over 30 boys played for the A team this season. It is worth noting that over the last 10 years our win success rate at A team level is 75% and at B level just over 60%.
Thanks go to Hugo Corbett, lead coach, Ben Coulbeck, Ryan Acton, Andy Morton and Noel Speed for giving up their time this year and setting a very positive attitude for the boys in playing running rugby.