THE fantastic 2017-18 season across Barnard Castle Rugby Club has now come to a close, and whilst the County Cup victory and three players making the Durham team at Twickenham has been highly celebrated, the junior sections have also enjoyed celebrating their progress this year as well.

Of particular note this year is the development of the number of girls playing rugby within the club. From the Under 7 through to Under 11 age groups the rugby is mixed, and the girls playing in the teams across these ages have performed superbly this season. Indeed, the common theme throughout the presentation evening this year was the regularity of the performance awards going to female players, such as Annabelle Tiplady winning an Unsung Hero award at Under 8.

The girls section takes over for female players from Under 12 age, and The Gatorz have just finished their first full playing season. Their high standard of play typified by having four girls called up to the county squad. The Gatorz are already preparing for an even more exciting season ahead, with plans for a tour and playing further afield in Cumbria and Yorkshire. The new season’s plan also includes growing from the current three girls’ teams, and hopefully having a ladies’ touch rugby team. If anyone is interested in joining or for more info contact Paul (

The youngest players in the club in the Under 7 and Under 8 tag rugby section started with the highest number of players seen at the club in this age range for quite a number of years, and despite the terrible winter weather many of the players carried on throughout the season. The use of the school sports hall for Sunday morning training in the worst of the winter certainly helped, as it did for some of the older groups who got their training sessions in during winter evenings.

The enthusiasm and energy for playing rugby was keenly displayed across the season, and typified by the likes of Barnaby Tiplady and Kieran Armstrong, both of whom received end of season awards for their commitment and exciting play. All of which was displayed in some great team performances at the end of season finale festival at Alnwick Rugby Club.

The Under 11 team started training early this last season, with extra Thursday night sessions introduced into the schedule. This helped them transform from a group of talented individuals, who all wanted to run with the ball every time that it was in their hands, into a rugby team, who moved the ball to space with fluent passing. This helped them beat teams that in the past had bigger, stronger players and with the exception of a very good Blaydon team they went undefeated all year. For the coming season the team aims to build on that success, and as they become the Under 12 team recruit new players, all playing standards welcome, and introduce structure to their attack and defence.

The Under 13s had another great season, marred only by the weather and some injuries. The team had great success against big clubs such as Blaydon, Guisborough and Mowden Park, and we are looking forward to getting into the County Cup competition next season. As this squad move up to become Under 14s for the 2018-19 season there is a big need for more players, and we are keen to hear from any lads in the surrounding areas that might not be getting enough playing time with their current local club.

The Under 15’s continued to be one of the strongest Teams in the whole of the North East of England. They are continually playing at an elite level and lost only 1 of their 11 regular season games – in the last seconds. The season was disrupted by the weather but there are a number of highlights such as beating main rivals Northern by more than 30 points and comfortably beating Mowden Park, both home and away, again. The squad is getting stronger every season and injuries saw opportunities arise for a number of other players in the squad who have had an exceptional season.

After touring South West France and Ireland, this year the Team went down to Pembrokeshire in Wales for a fabulous 5-day tour. They comfortably beat Haverfordwest in the first game and ended the season losing a thrilling game in the last seconds against the huge and undefeated Tenby.

Many of the players are already looking forward to the start of the new season, with training starting in earnest on Sunday 2nd September. In the meantime, the club is looking forward to our Community Open Day and BBQ on Saturday 11th August.

From 1pm to 3pm there’ll be fun ‘have-a-go’ rugby activities on the Demesnes for all age groups, from Under 7 through to perhaps trying ‘Walking Touch Rugby’ for those who fancy some fun team exercise. The club then invites you to join us back at the clubhouse between 3p and 5pm to enjoy a BBQ and post-match refreshment.

The junior teams will also be running further ‘have-a-go’ sessions and RFU supported events during the summer holidays, please keep an eye out for information around the area or don’t hesitate to contact for further details.