Schools go into win­ter break with all to play for

SCHOOLS FOOT­BALL

The Chronicle - - Sport - New­cas­tle Schools FA Un­der 11 team Ravenswood

THREE of the four New­cas­tle Schools FA Un­der 11 Leagues have now reached their win­ter breaks.

The four leagues are roughly split ge­o­graph­i­cally and while the Simpson League doesn’t start un­til the new year, the other leagues have proved in­trigu­ing this sea­son.

English Mar­tyrs have a per­fect record so far and once again lead the West­gate League, fin­ish­ing two points above Stocks­field Av­enue, who have drawn one of their games.

St Michael’s are the only other team who can re­al­is­ti­cally push them close for the league ti­tle.

Ravenswood lead the Dale League, but there are four other teams in with a chance of fin­ish­ing top. Byker are un­beaten so far and are one point be­hind the lead­ers, with Crag­side sit­ting in third place four points fur­ther be­hind.

The next two places are filled by un­beaten teams, St Al­ban’s and Walk­er­gate, but they have drawn a lot of games and lag be­hind the top three. How­ever, they have a game in hand on the top three, so things could dras­ti­cally change when the ac­tion re­sumes.

The Duffy League has proved to be the clos­est of the New­cas­tle leagues for a long time. Ten of the 12 teams still have a chance of fin­ish­ing top if re­sults go their way. No­body boasts a clear record, with ev­ery sin­gle team los­ing at least one game.

Last sea­son’s run­ners up, St John Vian­ney, lead the way at the mo­ment, de­spite los­ing their first game against Ken­ton Bar. They have since drawn with St Mark’s but have won all their re­main­ing games.

Last year’s cham­pi­ons, Hil­ton, are cur­rently in sec­ond place, three points be­hind. They also had a bad start, los­ing two of their games and draw­ing one, be­fore go­ing on a win­ning run to move into sec­ond place.

Wester­hope and St Mark’s share third spot but it is the three teams be­low them who look more likely to push the top two all the way.

They all have games in hand and if they win can go joint top. Knop Law and Farne have the same record as the top team but must win their games in hand.

Throck­ley are a fur­ther three points be­hind but have hit a rich vein of form in their later games. All will be re­solved come March.

Durham have County games next week. They are as fol­lows:

ESFA Rd1: U14 Girls v Lan­cashire today at Long­field Academy, Dar­ling­ton, KO 1pm

ESFA Rd1: U16 Girls v Mersey­side today at Long­field Academy, Dar­ling­ton, KO 1pm

Northum­ber­land Schools’ FA host their ESFA Danone Na­tions com­pe­ti­tions for both the schools’ and girls’ teams next week.

The girls’ com­pe­ti­tion, which is for all the lo­cal area cham­pi­ons, is on Tuesday at the New­cas­tle Univer­sity’s Long­ben­ton Ground, then on Thurs­day it’s the turn of the school teams, also at Long­ben­ton. Both nights start at 4pm.

Pon­te­land Mid­dle School will be striv­ing to make it three years in a row as girls cham­pi­ons, while Gos­forth Ju­nior Academy will be one of the favourites for the schools com­pe­ti­tion, hav­ing been cham­pi­ons last sea­son.

Durham SFA have al­ready had their schools com­pe­ti­tion. Af­ter a closely-con­tested fi­nal round, the schools fin­ished in the fol­low­ing or­der in the Durham Un­der 11 Daniel O’Hare Memo­rial Tro­phy:

1st: St Mar­garet’s CE Pri­mary School (Ch­ester-le-Street PSFA)

2nd: Rick­le­ton Pri­mary School (Washington PSFA)

3rd: Hill View Academy (Sun­der­land PSFA)

4th: Eas­ing­ton Col­liery Pri­mary School (Peter­lee PSFA)

With this vic­tory, St Mar­garet’s re­tained the Daniel O’Hare Memo­rial Tro­phy and have now won the com­pe­ti­tion three times. St Mar­garet’s will rep­re­sent Durham in the North Re­gion round of the ESFA Danone Na­tions Schools’ Cup later in the sea­son.

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