On Saturday 5 November, Pocklington School and the Old Pocklingtonian (OP) Association took their turn to host this year’s Presidents’ Cup and rugby luncheon for the annual Pocklington versus Hymers 1st XV match.
Introduced last year at the inaugural event hosted and won by Hymers, both teams and supporters were keen to claim the Cup in what was a hard-fought and competitive local derby match between the two schools.
There was a real buzz in the air as OPs and former parents joined Pocklington and Hymers parents on the touchline to cheer on the players. Hot drinks and bacon butties were served from the pavilion and although the damp weather was befitting of autumn rugby, it did not dampen the spirits with both sides fired up for the game.
Hymers took the initiative from the off with an early score and seemed to dominate the first half despite Pocklington’s efforts to counter. At half time, the score was set at 0-12 in favour of the visitors, but Pocklington rallied in the second half making a strong comeback and almost levelling the scores. However, further pressure came from Hymers who broke through the Pocklington defence in the closing minutes of the game to score a converted try and seal the win. Final score 14-19 to Hymers.
After the match, both teams and their coaches joined OPs, parents and other supporters, along with guests from Hymers for a drinks reception and two-course lunch hosted by Pocklington School Headmaster, Toby Seth, and OP President, Joan Gough. Hymers guests included Headmaster, Justin Stanley, Old Hymerians’ (OH) Chairman, Jonathan Leafe, OH President Helen Saunders, and Alumni & Development Manager, Emily Pennack.
Toby welcomed everyone and spoke of the close relationship between Pocklington and Hymers. Joan highlighted extracts from the school archives recounting the time during the Second World War when Pocklington shared the school with students from Hymers who had been evacuated from Hull. In particular, she noted that at one time a mixed Pocklington and Hymers 1st XV was formed to play against Pocklington town and won!
After the meal, Andy Fradgley, Pocklington’s Head of Rugby, thanked everyone for coming and praised the players and coaches for a great game. Congratulating Hymers on the win, he then invited Joan Gough to present the winning captain with the Presidents’ Cup.
Andy said: “It is evident to see how much the result of the match meant to both teams with the intensity of the match. Hymers played the conditions slightly better than us, and we missed a few scoring opportunities which they then capitalised on. The Pocklington boys should be hugely proud of their display though and the improvement and growth they've shown over the course of the season so far has been significant. It's great to have both sets of boys together after the game and enjoying each other’s company."
Joan commented, “This is a very enjoyable addition to the sporting calendar illustrating the close bond and mutual support between the two schools.”
Following the event, several OPs stayed behind for a school tour which for some included visiting the Music School to see their name on the honours boards.
The Presidents’ Cup event will return to Pocklington in 2024.