As Rydal Penrhos and visiting schools played out a thrilling series of Rugby Sevens matches this week, Blackburn’s Piece once again demonstrated its value as an excellent sporting venue.
Rydal Penrhos has a proud history of rugby and cricket success over the years. Many outstanding players have started their careers at the school, from historic sporting heroes such as British and Irish Lions captain Bleddyn Williams or long-time Glamorgan Cricket captain Wilfred Wooler, to more contemporary players such as Dragons RFC lock Sean Lonsdale.
All honed their craft at the school’s historic New Field pitch. It is one of the most iconic locations on Rydal Penrhos’ campus, with many memorable games involving first teams, the Rydal Dolphins and Rydal Vikings playing out on its revered playing surface. While New Field is much storied within the lore of the school, it is important to remember the sister pitch that sits alongside it.
Lying adjacent to New Field, Blackburn’s Piece has direct access to the historic Hayley Pavilion and serves an important complimentary role to New Field in hosting rugby matches and sports training more generally. This was demonstrated this week as Wirral Grammar School, Wrekin College, Shrewsbury School and St David’s College joined Rydal Penrhos to take part in a series of Rugby Sevens matches against one another.
With the Rydal Penrhos team playing their final two games on Blackburn’s Piece, a large crowd of spectators descended on the pitch, which overlooks Lansdowne Road and St Andrew’s Church, to lend their enthusiastic support.
Blackburn’s Piece was originally the site of the Colwyn Bay Tennis Club prior to its relocation, and had its own pavilion building near the present-day store sheds. It was eventually bought by a prominent electrical engineer and Rydal Governor named Mr Blackburn, who kindly bequeathed the land to the school.
In the early days of Rydal Penrhos’ ownership of the land, the old tennis pavilion became the school’s scout hut. In recent years, Blackburn’s Piece has seen the installation of a five-bay grass outdoor cricket net facility, thanks to a donation from the Rydal Dolphins in memory of Brian Lewis (RS 1953-62).
Alongside New Field and Brackley, Blackburn’s Piece forms a key part of the school’s outstanding rugby and cricket facilities that provide an excellent base not just for matches but also training camps and large tournaments.
This will be demonstrated next Saturday 11 March as many schools and clubs from across North Wales and the North West travel to participate in Rydal Penrhos’ annual U16 Rugby Sevens tournament, which is sure to be a superb sporting spectacle once again.
Teams will face each other in their pools then compete for either the Cup, Plate, Bowl, Trophy or Shield depending on their position. This will certainly be a great test for our Sevens team who continue to make real progress under the fine tutelage of Rugby Coach Mr Kirby.
Please do consider joining us from 09:00 next Saturday to support the Rydal Penrhos team and see some first-rate rugby in action on our beautiful sports fields.