21 February 2018
London Irish U13 & U14 Cup - 2017
While working closely and listening to clubs in and around the Hampshire, Berkshire and Middlesex area, it is apparent that it can be difficult to achieve the appropriate numbers to run U13/14 competitive teams. Is it the fact that some boys move into private schooling and boarding opportunities arise reducing their availability, or is it other circumstances in a youngster's growth and decision-making process? Something the rugby fraternity needs to observe closely in the aim to continually grow participants.
This year, we saw 11 teams competing in our under-13s and eight in our under-14s at Hazelwood on Sunday 19th February 2017, a growth of 13 more teams from 2016. That in itself is great news for rugby, but the quality of the teams and the quality of players shone through on a clear, but chilly day. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate players, coaches and parents alike for their commitment in all that they do to produce such good rugby.
We were privileged to welcome Coolmine Under-13s from Ireland to the festival and an impressive showing saw London Irish Amateurs play Farnborough in the champions final. Two well coached teams produced a great show of enthusiasm and skill with London Irish Amateurs taking the trophy as Under-13 Champions for 2017.
The under-14 section saw competitors from Oxford Quins, Bognor, Gosport & Fareham, Maidenhead, Salisbury and Buckingham rugby clubs not forgetting St Benedict's, our sole school team, excel throughout. The way all these teams and supporters approached the festival was great to observe and the quality was extremely high.
The final held between St Benedict's and Stockport was observed by our first team players Luke Narraway and Jerry Sexton, before they awarded the trophies and medals.
Luke said: "The final was a high standard, with some real quality on show."
Stockport RFC Under-14s came through this hard-fought match as 2017 London Irish Under-14 Champions. May I take this opportunity to congratulate Stockport on not only their performances, but the commitment from all involved in their endeavours to travel the country in order to assist with their players' development.
On behalf of London Irish, thank you to everyone who attended and when we cut through the passion, enthusiasm and desire, the end result of seeing youngsters enjoy the game came out as number one.
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