Schools go into winter break with all to play for
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.