After 35 years Dukeries celebrate a rugby county cup double success!

editorial image

AFTER a 35-year wait, The Dukeries College are pictured celebrating lifting two County Rugby trophies in the same season.

It was 1976 since their last success on the rugby field in a final, but playing against Arnold Hill Academy from Nottingham, their U15s (Year 10) won the prestigious Nottinghamshire County Cup Championship.

And then the U14s (Year 9) emulated that with a dramatic 19-17 County Plate final win over The Beckett School at The Burnstump.

In the early rounds of the competition the U15s beat Tuxford Academy, Magnus School and Meden School. In the semi-final they beat Toothill School 26-19.

Dukeries arrived at Mansfield Rugby Club determined to avenge their defeat of last year in the semi-final to Arnold Hill.

The first half was extremely tight, with both sides trying hard to gain an advantage but the score remained 0-0 at half-time.

The first score in the second half was going to be critical and it came in the form of a great run from the Arnold No. 8, who sped half the length of the pitch to put Arnold 5-0 up, the conversion missed.

Back came Dukeries and from a kick by Lewis Norman and follow up by Harvey Metcalfe and Daniel Evans, David Peacock picked up and scored under the posts. Lewis Norman added the two extra points.

The game was now very open and, from a poor defensive kick by Dukeries, up popped the Arnold No.8 again to score in the corner.

A great conversion made it 12-7 to Arnold with seven minutes left.

From the kick-off Dukeries applied pressure straight away and, from a drive by Lewis Lishman, Callum Davies dived over in the corner to level at 12-12.

Lewis Norman lined up the very difficult kick and, with a great strike added the two extra points with justfour minutes to go.

Arnold threw everything they could at The Dukeries, but their defence held solid for glory.

l In the U14 Plate final, Beckett dominated the early stages and only some heroic defence from Ryan Oliver, Teddy Ecott kept them at bay.

But with one minute left on the first half clock, The Dukeries’ wall was finally knocked down with a powerful run by the Beckett No.8 for a converted try.

A couple of minutes after the break, Beckett struck again with another powerful set of phases.

The conversion was missed but at 12-0 down, you could have forgiven the vastly inexperienced Dukeries side for dropping their heads.

Instead they rallied and captain Blair Holland provided the first score.

A scrum steal by Ben Kelly led to a pick up from the base by Holland who beat a number of defenders to go under the posts, Ben Jones converting.

Ryan Page then raced 85m for the try of the season, Jones converted and Dukeries led 14-12

More fantastic interplay saw Blair add another try out wide, Jones narrowly missing the conversion.

Becket rallied and with a minute left on the clock their impressive winger went in at the corner to pull within two points with a tough conversion to come.

All 15 Dukeries men lined up to charge it down with what little energy they had left.

He stepped up, the kick went wide and The Dukeries were champions.