Teams from each Archdeaconry compete to be crowned 'Tug of War' campions. (Picture: Keith Blundy)

While the nation had its eyes on the World Cup Cricket Final, Wimbledon or Silverstone, one event that was happening at the same time might have escaped your attention.

If you had been at Brancepeth Castle on Sunday afternoon you would have been fortunate enough to witness the first-ever Archdeaconry Youth Games. Played out in beautiful sunshine in the grounds of the castle, young people came together from churches across the Diocese to compete, representing either Auckland or Sunderland archdeaconries. The afternoon started with carnival games including welly throwing (winner: Jamie Song), tin can alley (Ben Rayne), quoits (Caitlyn Bruce), throwing beanbags into buckets (Tom Higton) and rolling balls into hoops (Isobel Hall). As the young people went round competing in each challenge for their archdeaconry, Archdeacons Bob and Rick were going head-to-head on the same activities.

Next came the Castle Chase, 4 races to the bottom of the castle grounds and back up the bank. Race 1 was won by Amy Sanderson, race 2 by James Plyming, race 3 (senior girls) by Sarah Petherick and the final race (senior boys) by Liam Dietz.

Now it was time for the track races to begin. Brothers Sam and James Plyming outsprinted everyone in the 3-legged race, Sam then won the egg and spoon, and nothing could separate Liam Dietz and Kirk Boyd as they crossed the finish line in the sack race. Bishop Paul had arrived by this point to check on fair-play between his Archdeacons and put in a strong performance in the egg and spoon race!
The final challenges were the tug of war, which was won by Sunderland in the 2 size categories and also by the adults, with Archdeacon Bob as anchorman. However, it was the teams from Auckland who triumphed in the Land Rover pull challenge.
Everyone could now relax in the sun and enjoy their hard-earned picnics.

The church service in beautiful St Brandon’s started with the presentations. It was a close run competition but in the end, Auckland Archdeaconry where the overall winners by 20 points and Archdeacon Rick accepted the trophy on behalf of his team.

Revd Anna Brooker welcomed everyone to the service and the youth band from this year’s Growing Young Leaders’ course ably led us in worship. The Archdeacons were asked to recount their proudest sporting moments (apart from this afternoon’s challenges of course!), their most embarrassing sporting moments and how playing sport is in any way like following Jesus!

A great afternoon was had by everyone and no doubt Sunderland will be keen to turn the tables on Auckland in the future.
Thank you to everyone who came along and joined in so enthusiastically, to youth leaders and parents who brought groups, to all who helped on the day, to the Castle and Church for their hospitality and to our two fantastic archdeacons who demonstrated true sportsmanship in both winning and defeat.

And we even got home to watch the last few overs as England won the Cricket World Cup!

Article supplied by Andy Harris

Pictures can be purchased here

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