Rugby union: Boxing Day battles break out in Pocklington, York and Malton

A TRIO of traditional festive rugby union challenge matches will take place on Boxing Day.

Pocklington’s Percy Road base plays host to the annual town versus gown match and reunion when Pock meet the Pocklington School old boys’ side, Old Pocklingtonians (1pm).

York take on a team of former St Peter’s School pupils, Old St Peterites, at Clifton Park (2.15pm), while the Malton Highlanders do battle with the Norton Swampies at The Gannock (2.15pm).

Pocklington’s game against Old Pocklingtonians dates back to the 1980s and is one of the highlights of the town’s rugby calendar.

A number of former Pocklingtonians who only come home once or twice a year always make it down to Percy Road to meet old friends on Boxing Day.

The teams will be battling it out for the Bottomley Trophy given by the family of George Bottomley, who was both a Pocklington School old boy and a founder member of Pocklington RUFC.

There will also be an impromptu second team fixture, where anyone looking for a run out will get a game, and all players of any standard are asked to turn up with their kit at noon.

The clubhouse reunion includes a buffet sponsored by the Old Pocklingtonian Association.

Pocklington have held sway in the fixture in recent years, but there was a shock 22-17 win for the OPs last Boxing Day – their first triumph since 2004.

Pock play a friendly at Driffield on December 29 before a derby trip to Beverley in North One East on January 5.

Their first home game of 2013 is against Morley on January 12, which will be preceded by the annual Cambridge girls’ tour to Pock.

Meanwhile, Norton Swampies will be aiming to maintain their stranglehold on the annual inter-town clash in Ryedale.

The challenge match splits the Malton & Norton ranks into two tribes for a day, with the Swampies boasting the better recent record.

Malton & Norton club spokesman Bill Laidler said: “People play for the Swampies or the Highlanders depending on which side of the river they are from. The Swampies have more people to choose from and they have probably been the more successful team.

“We don’t involve any first-team players. It is mainly for people coming back to the area for Christmas, from university for example, and for second or third-team players.”

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