The annual Secondary Schools Tug of War Championships took place recently at Craigavon Leisure Centre, attended by well over 200 Year Eleven students from thirteen schools, most of them from the Southern Education Board area. This year, however, numbers were increased by the addition of Devenish College from the Western Board area.
Twelve schools took part in the Boys competition which was held in two groups. In Group A it soon became obvious that Craigavon Senior High was a force to be reckoned with and they duly took maximum points from the group. Newtownhamilton High were not far behind and they were followed home by St. Paul’s of Lurgan.
In Group B the newcomers from Fermanagh soon made their mark and remained undefeated in the group. Regular participants, Portadown College, were in a clear second place and several points ahead of Aughnacloy College and Markethill High.
The semi-finals matched Craigavon Senior High with Portadown College and Devenish against Newtownhamilton. Devenish continued their run of power pulling and marched into the final where they met the Craigavon boys who were that little bit stronger than their neighbours from Portadown College.
The Boys final was hard fought but the Craigavon lads had that little bit more teamwork, gained the upper hand at an early stage and maintained the pressure till the whistle, winning in two straight ends.
Group A in the Girls competition saw two excellent teams compete for ascendancy. Newtownhamilton High just had the edge over Craigavon Senior High with Lismore, Brownlow and Lurgan College all sharing third place.
The Girls Group B was even more competitive with only a single point separating Markethill High in first place and City of Armagh in second. Potadown College came in two points adrift of the latter.
The semi final pairings were Newtownhamilton against City of Armagh and Markethill versus Craigavon Senior High. Newtownhamilton were too strong for Armagh and Craigavon eventually overcame Markethill.
As had looked likely for some time the Girls final brought together again the top two teams from Group A . There was speculation that Craigavon might turn the tables on this occasion but the girls of Newtownhamilton were determined not to be beaten at this stage and won after two hard fought ends.
Amid scenes of great enthusiasm the championship cups and trophies were presented by Councillor George Savage , Deputy Mayor of Craigavon and Mr. Philip Campbell from the Southern Education Board.
Appreciation was expressed to all those who had played a part in ensuring the success of the event.
Cathal Mc keever.
May 9th, 2012.