Yorkshire’s oldest rugby seven-a-side tournament, the 59th John Smiths Pock 7s, gets underway at Pocklington RUFC, this Friday (14 April).
The event has been held in Pocklington every Good Friday since 1959, and has grown from humble beginnings into one of Yorkshire’s biggest sporting and social days out, with the local rugby fraternity plus many ‘ex-pats’ making their way to Percy Road for an annual Easter reunion.
This year’s tournament again has a full entry of 24 teams, with others waiting in reserve in case there are any late call offs. And and the teams were pulled out of the hat at the end of last week by the international duo of England’s Rob Webber and Wales’ Mike Phillips.
Webber, who went on from being a Pock mini rugby player to win 16 caps for England, and Phillips, Wales’ most capped scrum half and twice a tourist with the British Lions, are now teammates and neighbours at Premiership outfit, Sale Sharks; and Pock 7s supremo, Denzil Styche, crossed the Pennines to supervise the draw then present Webber with a commemorative Pock 7s shirt.
The first game kick-off at 1.00 pm, with more than six hours of non-stop rugby action following through to the final, scheduled for 6.40 pm.
There is a strong local interest from the nine Yorkshire club sides, including Driffield, Bridlington Malton, Beverley and hosts Pocklington; but they will be challenged by some useful teams from further afield, including a mix of invitation, old boy and student outfits – the student challenge coming from 2013 winners, Bishop Burton, last year’s runners-up, Leeds Beckett, plus other university sides from Manchester Met and Bristol.
There are eight sides new to the tournament, including Army dark horses, Queen’s Own Yeomanry, while six former winners will again be going for glory, including host club and new North 1 East champions, Pocklington. For first round losers there is a second bite of the cherry in the Plate Competition, which was won by St Peter’s, York, old boys last year.
2017 John Smiths Pock 7s Draw
A: Old Pocklingtonians v Game Set & Snatch, Bristol (1.00)
B: Hymers Presidents 7 v Pocklington Porkers (1.20)
C: Malton & Norton v Hull Ionians (1.40)
D: Woldgate OB v Old Hymerians (2.00)
E: Driffield v Selby (2.20)
F: Goole v Wot-A-Pullet (2.40)
G: York Peterites v Goodemanham (3.00)
H: Beverley v Bridlington (3.20)
Rotherham Titans v Winner A (1.40)
Queen’s Own Yeomanry v Winner B (2.00)
Manchester Met University v Winner C (2.20)
Pocklington v Winner D (2.40)
Bishop Burton v Winner E (3.00)
Northern Exiles (Newcastle) v Winner F (3.20)
Leeds Beckett University v Winner G (3.40)
Brookfield v Winner H (3.40)