Two pupils at Barnard Castle School are thrilled to be part of the current U18 North of England Clubs and Schools squad.

An independent school in the North East continues to bat well above its weight in the sporting arena.

Harvey Barkes, 17 from Greta Bridge and Joe Pickering, 17 from Bishop Auckland were both selected to represent the North of England Clubs and Schools squad, they have had several training sessions and a practice match at Kingston Park. The boys also played for the North against a combined Newcastle Falcons and Yorkshire Carnegie Academy team.

Joe is all too familiar with Kingston Park as he is a member of the Falcon’s Academy. He said: “It was quite strange playing against Falcons, especially when 4 of my team mates from school were playing for them, but I still enjoyed it.”

Isaac Brace from Barnard Castle, James Jennings from Durham, Jamie Adamson from Hunwick and Josh Gray from Bishop Auckland all represented the joint Academy team.

The North played their only game together against the Midlands on Sunday at Macclesfield RUFC, further to that match players will be selected to join an U18 England Clubs and Schools squad. The squad will take part in some training sessions at Loughborough University before a final squad is announced prior to a tour to Ireland for a tri-nations tournament.

Harvey said that he was very honoured to captain the Barney 1st XV this season, “When you look at some of the captains that we have had over the last few years, Lee Dickson, Calum Clark, Alex Tait and Tom Catterick, I am in good company.  We have had a great season and when you look at the number of boys we have to select from compared to some of the schools we play against, we really do bat well above our weight.”

This year’s 1st team have had the benefit of a tour to South Africa, a tour to France, a match at Rugby School and a recent training session from Stuart Lancaster.

Harvey and Joe have enjoyed many years of rugby whilst at Barney. Harvey came through the Prep School and progressed through the various school teams as well as being involved in the County.  Joe meanwhile, joined in year 8, attracted to Barney due to its strong reputation in rugby and the School has served him well.  With excellent coaching, superb facilities and access to a Strength and Conditioning coach players can progress to the pinnacle of their potential.  With the School also having close links to Professional Rugby clubs players do have a great advantage.

Harvey will leave this summer on completion of his A Levels, although he hopes to continue his rugby whilst at university where he intends to study Business Management. Joe has one more year so he will continue to be part of the School’s 1st XV as well as continuing his affiliation with Falcons.