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By Laura Taylor, Mar 26 2020 12:26PM


Schools cricket is the latest sport to be hit for six by the coronavirus.


Most national competitions will be delayed - and could be cancelled altogether if there is no change in circumstances in the coming weeks.


To date, no final decision has been made about the School Sport Magazine National Schools U15 and U18 T20 Girls Cricket Cups.


But the schools’ closure programme means ordinary fixtures have been postponed until further notice while regional cup tournaments have also been put on hold.


Ken Lake, general secretary of the English School Cricket Association, explained: “In the light of information from the ECB and Government advice, ESCA is postponing the national rounds of our competitions the David English U13 Cup, the inspiresport U15 One Day Cup, Saracens U11 Hardball and T20 until further notice. The same should apply to our county competitions.


“If it is humanely possible to start up again, we will try to do so but I am not hopeful. It should be noted that some schools are already pulling out of the competitions.”


A spokesman for School Sport Magazine said: “It’s a rapidly changing situation as you can imagine so we don't intend to make any early decision on the competitions.


“At the moment we still hope they may be able to go ahead in some way at some stage as the flexibility of the format may allow schools to organise mini festivals to take place involving three or four schools rather than a series of single matches, even starting in the second half of the summer term.

“But it all depends on the progress of the virus and Government advice. We are all waiting to see currently but are remaining optimistic.”


By Laura Taylor, Mar 23 2020 03:17PM


The ESAA English Schools Track & Field Cup has become the latest casualty of the coronavirus.


Schools’ athletics bosses have decided to cancel the event scheduled for July – while a decision on the ESAA’s blue riband Track & Field Championships will be made in due course.


Hundreds of schools were due to have taken part in the qualifying county and regional rounds of the competition and the final on July 4.


But in an open letter to all teachers, organisers and pupils, Chris Cohen, honorary secretary of the ESAA, said: “We are all aware of the challenges that have been thrown up by the coronavirus in all areas of our lives


“We had hoped that, by postponing the first round of the Track & Field Cup, we could stage this round on the dates of the regional round. It has become clear over the last day or two that, for a variety of reasons, this will not be possible, so the decision has been made that this year’s Schools Track & Field Cup will be cancelled.


“All entries to this year’s competition will receive free entry to the 2021 Cup competition. As the competition is completely staffed by volunteers, as is the whole of the association, we will not be in a position to refund payments to schools that have entered, but this will be held over until next year.


“At this stage, we do not intend to cancel the Track & Field Championships or the Combined Events Regional Rounds. We are working on a variety of contingency plans and hope that we will be in a position to hold an event of some sort.


“The last option for us would be outright cancellation, but we want to give ourselves as long as possible before making that decision.


“We recognise that, for thousands of young people every year, this is their Olympics and for thousands who have gone before, their first memories of major competition are our championships. We do not aim to lose them without a fight.


“The association is already committed to spend more than £50,000 this summer on events that may not take place. But we cannot afford to commit any more until we have some certainty.”


By Laura Taylor, Mar 17 2020 05:33PM


Two more national schools’ competitions bit the dust today because of the coronavirus outbreak..



The National Schools Squash Championships, scheduled for this week from March 18-20, have been postponed following a significant number of schools withdrawing.


Organisers are hoping to reschedule the finals at a later date, taking into consideration the upcoming exam periods.


But England Table Tennis’ Individual Schools Finals in Wolverhampton on April 25 have been cancelled.


With Easter approaching, the English Schools Football Association also announced that all schools’ football was being postponed “for the foreseeable future.”


More than 20 national age group competitions run by the ESFA had reached the latter stages and organisers hope they will be able to complete them during the summer term.


Hundreds of schools all over the country were also taking the decision to cancel school matches and fixtures until further notice in the light of Government advice.



By Laura Taylor, Mar 16 2020 07:33PM


Schools’ rugby and hockey are the latest sports to be hit by the coronavirus.


The prestigious Rosslyn Park National Schools Sevens - widely-acknowledged as the world’s largest schools’ rugby tournament and due to take place over five days next week – has been cancelled.


This week’s U18 and U15 national finals at Saracens’ Allianz Park and Twickenham on March 17 and 19 have also been postponed.


England Hockey quickly rugby’s lead by suspending this week’s blue riband U18 boys’ and girls’ finals at Lee Valley Hockey Centre on March 19 and the U14 and U16 boys finals next week.


A spokesman for the Rosslyn Park organisers said: “We regret to announce that due to the recent developments in the situation concerning the novel coronavirus COVID-19, we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools 7s tournament.


“In recent weeks Rosslyn Park has done everything in our power to make the tournament happen. However in light of the current COVID-19 crisis, it is now the advice of our medical advisers, who have been in constant contact with Public Health England, that we cancel the event.


“With almost 10,000 children from nearly 1,000 schools due to take part in the tournament, our priority is the safety and well-being of the participants and spectators.


“Thank you for your understanding. We are determined that the 2021 event will be our best ever and look forward to welcoming you all.”




By Laura Taylor, Mar 16 2020 11:00AM


Berkhamsted School (U14), Guildford High School (U16) and Worthing College (U19) took the honours at the national schools’ championships at the weekend.


(For full reports on the finals, check out the new edition of School Sport Magazine next month)



By Laura Taylor, Mar 13 2020 12:28PM


Tomorrow’s National Schools Netball Finals will still go ahead, according to the national governing body.


Fifty seven teams from more than 50 schools and hundreds of spectators will converge on Stanborough School in Welwyn Garden City for the prestigious U14, U16 and U19 finals.


And despite coronavirus fears, netball bosses have told competitors: “Keep calm and carry on.”


A spokesman said: “Following the update earlier today from the government on the coronavirus outbreak and the progression of its action plan to move from the ‘containment’ to ‘delay’ phase and more specifically the update regarding sporting events, a health advisory group within England Netball has reviewed the information provided and can confirm that the National Schools Finals will continue as planned on Saturday 14th March.


“We will be working with the venue for to ensure provisions are made as the health and safety of the netball family continues to be of the upmost importance to us.”


By Laura Taylor, Mar 12 2020 04:43PM


Cheltenham’s Dean Close School will face off against Surrey’s Reeds School in the final of the National Schools Hockey Championships for Boys next Thursday March 19.


Dean Close edged Whitgift 3-2 while Reeds pipped RGS Guildford by the same scoreline after two exciting semi-finals.


The last four of the girls’ U18 championships tomorrow will see Millfield take on Repton and Trent College tackle Framlingham College with the final also taking place next week.


The finals of the boys’ U16 and U14 championships will take place at London’s Lee Valley Hockey Centre on April 28-30.


(For full reports on the finals, check out the new edition of School Sport Magazine next month)




By Laura Taylor, Mar 10 2020 05:32PM


Sixteen sides are heading to PlayFootball Birmingham next Monday March 16 for the first English Schools’ FA (ESFA) finals of the season.


The U12 Footy Fives competition will see eight boys’ and eight girls’ teams travel to the heart of the country in an attempt to be crowned national semi-finalists in their respective competitions.


In a change to the usual format, the ESFA have teamed up with The FA and EURO 2020 organisers to arrange for the national finals in both competitions to be played against the backdrop of the iconic Wembley Stadium on Friday June 12, as part of the UEFA EURO 2020 opening weekend celebrations.


Boys teams taking part are Archbishop Holgate’s, Hazel Grove High School, Thomas Telford School, Healing Academy, Abbey Park School, Poole Grammar School, Luton’s Cardinal Newman Catholic School and Acland Burghley School.


Girls finalists are St Benedict’s RC High School, St James’ Catholic High School, Sir John Talbot's Technology College, South Hunsley School, Camborne Science Academy, St Gregory the Great School, Lealands High School and Shenfield High School.


Phil Harding, ESFA chairman said “On behalf of the English Schools’ FA, I am delighted that we are able to include four of our teams to be a part of the UEFA EURO 2020 celebrations this year.


“It’s wonderful that such a huge, international event is taking place at Wembley Stadium and as such, that some of the ESFA’s competition entrants will have a special and unique opportunity to be part of something truly exciting, particularly in the warm-up to the opening ceremony. I wish all 16 teams attending the Birmingham finals the very best of luck in their endeavours.”


By Laura Taylor, Mar 9 2020 01:42PM


Two stunning fightbacks saw Whitgift and Warwick reach the final of the RFU National Schools U18 Cup.


Reigning champions Whitgift were 20-7 down to Sherborne School in the second half of their semi-final clash.


But after clawing back the deficit to 23-21 with just two minutes to go, full back Ben Fitzgerald kicked a vital penalty to give his Surrey side victory and devastate the large home crowd.


It was a similar situation at Northampton School for Boys who held a 23-20 lead over Warwick School with just minutes to go.


However tries from Elliot Tanner and a last-gasp score from William Banfield saw the Midlands powerhouse win 32-23 and secure their fourth U18 final in four years.


Northampton – the only state school left in the competition and backed by 1,500 fans – were left deflated but proud of a massively successful season.


Another incredible semi-final – this time in the U15 cup – saw Ivybridge Community College secure their place in the final by the narrowest of margins.


After drawing 22-22 with Harrow School, the Devon side but went through having scored the first points of the game.


After going 5-0 and 12-3 up, their public school visitors rallied to lead 17-12 at half-time. But a remarkable comeback saw Ivybridge tie it up at 17-17 and then 22-22 to go through to Twickenham on the new RFU rule.


It’s the first time a Devon school has reached the U15 cup final and proved the first defeat in two years for the current national sevens champions.


Their opponents in the showpiece final will be Stowe School, who proved just too strong for Oakham School, winning 15-5.


Both the U18 and U15 final will take place at Twickenham on Thursday March 19.


Entries for the inaugural School Sport Magazine National Schools U14 Rugby Cup have opened. Enter by emailing [email protected] or visiting www.schoolsportmag.co.uk


(For full reports on the finals, check out the next edition of School Sport Magazine next month)




By Laura Taylor, Mar 4 2020 05:43PM


Devon state school Ivybridge Community College reached the final of the U15 Rugby Union Cup final today after a remarkable finish.


The side drew 22-22 with Harrow School but went through having scored the first points of the game.


After going 5-0 and 12-3 up, the public school visitors rallied to lead 17-12 at half-time.


But a remarkable comeback saw Ivybridge tie it up at 17-17 and then 22-22 to go through to Twickenham on the new RFU rule.