HUNDREDS of young athletes made new friends and fond memories after descending on a school for a festival of sport.

Children from around the region were joined by sides from Scotland and the South of England in a two-day spectacle of rugby and hockey,hosted by Barnard Castle School and supported by the County Durham Referees’ Society.

Girls in the Under 10s category vied for honours and the Seddon Cup, named after a former teacher, while the Under 12s battled it out for the Ewart Cup, presented to the school by a former senior school headmaster.

The Under 10s rugby teams took part in the Clegg Trophy, named after ex-pupil Rory Clegg, a former flyhalf with the Newcastle Falcons, Harlequins and Yorkshire Carnegie, currently playing with Championship side Ealing Trailfinders.

The Under 12s competed in the Tait 10s, named after former pupils Mathew and Alex Tait, who have also enjoyed successful professional sporting careers in the game.

The event was attended by around 350 young players from Yarm, Durham, Northumberland, Terrington, Darlington, Newcastle, Wakefield, York, Sedbergh, Hull, Perth and Buckinghamshire, who battled sunshine and heavy downpours as the festival unfolded.

Some of the 30 Barnard Castle School students who have recently undergone referee training with the County Durham Referees’ Society were able to test out their new-found skills.

Accolades were presented by ex-England scrum-half Lee Dickson,who recently returned to his old school as Master in Charge of Rugby at Barney.

Headmaster Tony Jackson said: “Events like these are the reason we play sport. We win together, we lose together, we collaborate, we communicate. We continue to play when the going gets tough and we are gracious with our opponents when we win and lose. Through it all we make friendships and memories that will last forever.”