Category: county teams

Preview: Durham Ladies announce squad in preparation for last fixture of pool stages away to North Midlands

Preview: Durham Ladies announce squad in preparation for last fixture of pool stages away to North Midlands


Durham County take on North Midlands away in the last fixture of the Gill Burns Championship pool stages, this Sunday.

The Durham Ladies will travel to Birmingham on Saturday afternoon in preparation for the game on Sunday.

Last week saw the ladies pick up a 29-7 victory away to East Midlands in the sunshine at Peterborough RUFC.

Chris Geehan, Durham County Backs Coach said: “I think last week’s performance really spurred us on as a team and the performance was exceptional.

“We need to take that same intensity and tenacity in to this week’s game.

“It shall be our intention to take each moment as it comes and embrace them and the result will follow.”

Durham had their last training session of the season, last night at Hartlepool Rugby Club where they worked on defensive structure with coaches Chris Jones and Dave Addison.

Steph Maddison, Durham County Ladies Captain, said: “We have been working on our defence and line speed, as it was not fantastic, but now looks really strong after training.

“The team are feeling really positive going into this weeks game after our win and performance last week.

“Personally, I am really looking forward to stepping onto the pitch with everyone for the final of the pool games.

“It has been a fantastic campaign, and we have really come together as a team.”

North Midlands are in a similar position to Durham, as both sides have defeated East Midlands and lost to current champions, Lancashire.

Captain Maddison added: “We are hoping to finish with a win and another rendition of Proud Mary!”

This game will determine the second place finisher in the Gill Burns Championship Pool one, with Lancashire set to finish top and progress from the group, providing they beat East Midlands this weekend.

Geehan added: “For us, we want the team to go out and enjoy their final game of the season and have some fun.”

Throughout the 2017/2018 campaign, Durham have welcomed debutants to the squad, as well as capping three players so far for five championship appearances, with more set to receive their caps this weekend.

It has been a progressive and talented year for the side, with players making appearances from each Women’s club in the County, including; Acklam, Bishop Auckland, Darlington, DMP, Hartlepool Rovers and Sunderland Flames.

Geehan added: “Selection has been tough this year and the standards the ladies have set themselves and the improvements they have made, have given us a headache in a good way.

“At the start of the season we aimed to better our achievements from last season, and I believe we have.

“We are a better team, although we still have areas to work.

“But in the short space of time we have had and disruptions we have faced, we have become a really strong unit.”

“So as far as for our goals, as Proud Mary said ‘we keep on rolling’.”

The players to make the final trip, are as follows: Emily Hunter (DMP), Alex Webster (DMP), Lauren Rigby (DMP), Jess Cheesman (VC – Darlington), Nicole Irving (Sunderland Flames), Ellie Pigford (Hartlepool Rovers), Olivia Davison (Sunderland Flames), Amber Stonehouse (Sunderland Flames), Claudia Macdonald (DMP), Steph Maddison (C- Sunderland Flames), Rachelle Colley (Bishop Auckland), Tara Breslin (Sunderland Flames), Kirsty Paterson (Sunderland Flames), Ursula Hardy (Darlington), Mackenzie Thomas (DMP), Chelsea Burger (Hartlepool Rovers), Julie Noble (Sunderland Flames), Rachael Knight (Sunderland Flames), Sarah Hall (Darlington), Clarissa Murphy (Sunderland Flames), Tammy Theaker (Darlington), Treen Hardy (Sunderland Flames).

Durham will take on North Midlands Ladies at the University of Birmingham on Sunday May, 13 kicking off at 2pm.

By Clarissa Murphy

Durham Ladies secure first victory of Championship campaign over East Midlands RFU

Durham Ladies secure first victory of Championship campaign over East Midlands RFU


Durham Ladies secure a 29-7 victory away to East Midlands RFU in the second round of the Gill Burns Championship fixtures.

2017/18: Team Photo against East Midlands at Peterborough RFC

Durham travelled to Peterborough Rugby Club on Saturday to take on East Midlands Ladies.

The game kicked off to an early scoring start for the visitors as a dummy off the back of a ruck by Claudia Macdonald set her away from the half line with pace behind her to cross under the posts, converted by Kirsty Paterson to lead 7-0.

Durham spent the majority of their visiting eighty minutes set up inside the East Midlands half.

Despite a number of penalties in the hosts favour, the Durham Ladies remained reactive and physical to limit the oppositions chances at attack.

Macdonald proved an asset to the side as she dominated the forwards from scrum half to control play and cross the line a twice more throughout the game.

Chris Jones, Durham Ladies Coach, said: “Today was a win for players as individuals and as a team.

“There is still plenty of room for improvement, and we are by no means a finished article but today we showed that we are capable of good things.”

Although the visitors missed out on a handful of scoring opportunities the victory was a comfortable and positive result.

Dave Addison, Durham Ladies Coach commented on the game from footage, saying: “We demonstrated a very physical game, showing how powerful we are as a team.

“Our tackling was very good and the hosts could not handle that.

“We scored five very good tries, moved the ball into space, set up good running lines off scrum half and fly half and executed our set piece.”

Other scores during the game came from forward of the match, Lauren Rigby, a try out wide from back of the match, Ursula Hardy and two more points from Paterson’s boot.

This week’s game saw another four debutants take to the field and receive their Durham County pin badge, including; Rachael Knight, MacKenzie Thomas, Danielle Coulton, Chelsea Burger and a further two County Caps handed out to Alex Webster and Clarissa Murphy for five Championship appearances.

Pictured: Clarissa Murphy (Sunderland) and Alex Webster (DMP) with Manager Paul Geehan. 

The Ladies go on to their final game of the pool stages with an away trip to North Midlands RFU on Sunday at the University of Birmingham, kicking off at 2pm.

Durham Senior Men open campaign with heavy victory over Cumbria at Wigton Rugby Club

Durham Senior Men open campaign with heavy victory over Cumbria at Wigton Rugby Club

Durham Senior Men kick started their Bill Beaumont campaign with a comfortable 64-5 victory over Cumbria at Wigton Rugby Clu


2017/18: Durham Senior Men Team Photo against Cumbria


Durham Men were in action on Saturday against Cumbria in their opening fixture of their 2017/18 campaign.

Despite an absence of some familiar and experienced players in the squad, the side made a comfortable and strong start.

Gus Miller, Durham Senior Men Coach said: “It was a good team performance from Durham.

“We had a few new and first time players in the squad but the team gelled well in training on Thursday and that was demonstrated in the game.

“Cumbria had strength in experience with a number of players from previous seasons, but we were too strong for them on the day.”

On the day, tries came from; Conner Foley, Jack McPhilips, Liam Checksfield, Martin Hopley, Max Connon (2), Ollie Hodgson, Sean Moloney (2) and Tom Larder with conversions from Dan Finney (4), Max Connon (2) and Peter Evans.

Miller added: “It was a comfortable win for Durham because of the way we played, we played a wide and expansive game and it created results.

“Staffordshire is our next challenge, and they are strong up front so we will be preparing for that in training this week.

“We have a few more experienced players available this week from DMP and Billingham, so we are confident in a producing another strong side.

“This weeks game is the next hurdle in our bigger challenge of reaching the final at Twickenham.”

Durham played Staffordshire last season away, winning 41-14. The side will host them on Saturday at Durham City RFC from 2.30pm.


By Clarissa Murphy 

Preview: Durham Senior Men prepare for first fixture of Bill Beaumont Championship as they name squad to face Cumbria

Preview: Durham Senior Men prepare for first fixture of Bill Beaumont Championship as they name squad to face Cumbria


Durham County Senior Men prepare for their first fixture of the 2017/18 season, as they name squad to travel to Cumbria.

The Durham County Men kick start their Bill Beaumont Championship Campaign away at Wigton RFC on Saturday.

Selection follows a excellent turn out at training at Billingham, last night leaving coaches Chris Wearmouth and Andrew Baggett with a number of difficult decisions.

John Dove, Head of selection for Durham Seniors, said: “We had around thirty players in attendance and with a number of other unavailable this week.

“There are players ready to come into consideration in the weeks to come and picking a 22 man squad was never going to be easy.

“A case could be made for all of those involved, to be selected.”

The players to make the journey, are as follows:

15 CONNON, Max Carlisle
14 HOPLEY, Martin Billingham
13 McPHILLIPS, Jack Middlesbrough
12 YOULL, Peter West Hartlepool
11 MOLONEY, Sean Middlesbrough
10 EVANS, Peter Billingham
9 FINNEY, Daniel Billingham
1 PURKISS-McENDOO, Charles Harrogate
2 WOOD, Chris DMP
3 HUGHES, Michael Barnard Castle
4 WEARMOUTH, Christopher Barnard Castle
7 BURNS, Daniel Billingham
8 Rob STANWIX Barnard Castle
16 LARDER, Tom Harrogate
17 CLARK, Kieran Middlesbrough
18 KIRTON, Andrew South Shields Westoe
19 Euan TREMLETT Middlesbrough
20 FOLEY, Conner Middlesbrough
21 CHECKSFIELD, Liam West Hartlepool
22 WILSON, Luke Billingham


Durham will look to get the Championship off to a winning start to put them in good stead for their remaining fixtures, at home against Staffordshire and Leicestershire.

In the last meeting with Cumbria, the Durham lads reigned winners with a strong 62-5 performance.

Dove added: “With the prize of a final at Twickenham at stake, none of the games will be easy, but Durham will spare no effort in trying to achieve their target.”


By Clarissa Murphy

Preview: Durham Ladies announce squad to take on East Midlands RFU at Peterborough RUFC

Preview: Durham Ladies announce squad to take on East Midlands RFU at Peterborough RUFC


Durham County Ladies set for the road as they prepare to take on East Midlands RFU in the Gill Burns Campaign.

Last week saw the Durham Ladies step out in front of a warming home crowd, against current champions, Lancashire.

The visitors showed their dominance in areas of the game that Durham were unable to match, running in 27-5 winners at Hartlepool RFC.

Durham return to the field on Saturday as they take on East Midlands at Peterborough RUFC.

Dave Addison, Durham Ladies Coach, said: “We are really pleased with our squad of players, we showed on Sunday that we can match anyone in the competition last week against, Lancashire.

“Last week we competed admirably, we lost out captain and both scrum halves to injury and it affected our shape.

“We struggled to turn our possession and chances into points.”

Durham are yet to face opponents, East Midlands in the County Championships. Last week this weekend’s hosts, lost out 17-3 to hosts North Midlands RFU.

Speaking about the game ahead, Addison added; “We are looking to get a win away, this weekend.

“The hosts lost out last weekend, so we know they will be looking for the same.

“Our aim for the season, was to finish higher than in previous season and hopefully North Midlands can do us a favour and beat Lancashire.

“All of our focus is on a tough away game and to play positive and entertaining rugby.”

Training has continued this week at Hartlepool RFC as Durham have looked to continue to turn their shapes and moves into an effective game plan as a team.

In the opening fixture, the Durham Ladies were victims to their own mistakes as they missed out on scoring opportunities in the 22.

Addison commented: “At this level, we need to take our chances and be clinical in attack and defence.

“If we get good field position and do not execute it, good teams will capitalise on this, as did Lancashire.

“We have had to learn this the painful way, but heading into Saturday’s game, we need to leave it as a lesson learnt.

“The squad are more than capable to play the rugby that will win games, we just need to believe.”

The ladies to make the trip are as follows; Emily Hunter (Darlington Mowden Park), Alex Webster (Darlington Mowden Park), Lauren Rigby (Darlington Mowden Park), Jess Cheesman (Darlington), Sarah Hall (Darlington), Ellie Pigford (Hartlepool Rovers), Olivia Davison (Sunderland Flames), Amber Stonehouse (Sunderland Flames), Claudia McDonald (Darlington Mowden Park), Clarissa Murphy (Sunderland Flames), Kirsty Paterson (Sunderland Flames), Tara Breslin (Sunderland Flames), McKenzie Thomas (Darlington Mowden Park), Ursula Hardy (Darlington), Treen Hardy (Sunderland Flames), Julie Noble (Sunderland Flames), Dannielle Coulton (Hartlepool Rovers), Michaela Theaker (Darlington), Rachael Knight (Sunderland Flames), Vicky Murphy (Sunderland Uni), Tammy Theaker (Darlington), Olivia Rowe (Darlington Mowden Park), and travelling reserves Becca Walker (Sunderland Flames) and Chelsea Burger (Hartlepool Rovers).

The game will kick off at Peterborough RUFC on Saturday May, 5 from 2pm.


Durham County Women lose out to Lancashire Champions in the opening fixture

Durham County Women lose out to Lancashire Champions in the opening fixture

County Women lose out to current Champions, Lancashire 27-5 in the first round of the Gill Burns Championship fixtures.

Durham Ladies welcomed 2016/2017 Champions, Lancashire to Hartlepool RFC on Sunday for their first clash of the campaign.

2017/2018: Team photo at Hartlepool RFC

Lancashire made the first mark on board with an early unconverted try after pod work saw them go round the corner for a forwards try.

The hosts demonstrated their desire to compete for the win as the forwards played quick ball before seeing Emily Hunter cross over the line to draw 5-5.

Despite strong and clinical attack from Lancashire, Durham persisted to shut down the Lancashire side with strong tackles from Rachelle Cooley, Tammy Theaker and Tara Breslin as the ball moved wide.

Pictured: Rachelle Colley and Tammay Theaker

Lancashire were well equipped in their experienced side, and used their speed to move into the Durham’s 22. Despite a structured Durham defence, the visitors power in the forwards proved the more dominant after several phases saw them under the posts to lead 12-5.

Before the half time break, the two sides battled it out in the middle of the field as possession frequently changed hands. Durham’s prop Lauren Rigby continued to turn over the Lancashire possession and secure the break downs to allow for pod work. But, it was once again the champions capitalising on their chances scoring two unconverted tries before the break while Durham winger, Ursula Hardy remained in the sin bin.

Line break: Lauren Rigby of DMP gains ground for Durham

Heading into the second half, Durham exerted pressure from the kick off to force the rested side into mistakes, setting the hosts up for a scrum in their half.

Durham set up camp in the visitors half and remained their for the first quarter of the second half. Despite losing the second scrum half of the match, Lucy Hewitt, Durham remained focussed as Olivia Rowe stepped up to the position exerting pressure off set piece.

Second replacement Scrum half; Olivia Rowe

The hosts attack caused some trouble to the visitors with powerful line breaks from Ellie Pigford, Hunter and Breslin, but the lack of support play at the break down allowed the clinical champions to quickly turn the ball over.

Despite losing two players to the sin bin in the second half, Lancashire held their shape and covered their missing player, slimming the opportunities in Durham’s attack.

The second half remained a battle of the best as both teams proved their resilience, throughout.

In the last play of the game, it was the visitors on the scoring end as they fought their way around the corner with phase play to end the game 27-5.

Christopher Jones, Durham County Women’s Coach said: “Durham provided the current county champions with a game of rugby that had everything.

“We showed physicality up front and pace out wide and strong in defence, which forced them to work hard for the points they scored.

“The ladies should be proud of their efforts, training has clearly been paying off and it is exciting for the rest of the competition to see how they progress.

“We were not clinical enough in the final third and our decision making when close to the try line cost us, that and some impressive, well drilled defence from Lancashire.

“If we can improve on this aspect of our game in training this week I am confident the next game we will be even more competitive.”

Off the field, the day was another historical one for Women’s Rugby in the County as a further nine players collected their County pin badges for their first Women’s XV appearance including players; Tammy Theaker, Lauren Rigby, Olivia Rowe, Julie Noble, Ellie Pigford, Treen Hardy, Michaela Theaker, Olivia Davison and Lucy Hewitt.

As well as County pin badges, there was also a County Cap handed out to Emily Hunter for representing Durham County in five Championship fixtures.

County Cap: Player coach, Emily Hunter receive County cap from President John Denham


Durham’s next fixture sees them travel away to Peterborough RFC to take on East Midlands RFU on Sunday May, 6.

By Clarissa Murphy

Durham County Sevens set to return to Billingham RUFC this June

Durham County Sevens set to return to Billingham RUFC this June


The RFU 24/7s competition is set to return for its second year at Billingham RUFC in June.

The event is open to male and female teams and will be the first round qualifier into the Northern Finals for the England Rugby 24/7 events.

Last year saw Billingham Men reign champions and qualify alongside the Bishop Auckland Ladies who topped the Women’s pool, and were accompanied by Durham County Women Baa Baas to the Northern Finals day at West Park Leeds RFC.

Check out the poster below for more details;

Preview: Durham County Women prepare for opening game of Gill Burns Championship

Durham County Women prepare for opening game of Gill Burns Championship


Durham County Women welcome current Gill Burns Champions, Lancashire Ladies for their first 2017/2018 campaign fixture.

After five weeks of training and trials and a development fixture against Eastern Counties, Durham prepare to host Lancashire at Hartlepool Rugby Club on Sunday.

Last week, the coaches slimmed down a competitive training squad to a 33 – woman squad to pick from for the remainder of the championships.

Training has seen players attend in mass from across the County including Acklam, Bishop Auckland, Darlington Mowden Park, Darlington, Hartlepool Rovers and Sunderland Flames.

David Addison, Lead Coach commented on training saying: “It has been well attended and the attitude of the ladies has been good.

“We have given them a lot to take on board in a short amount of time and they have been working really hard.”

In last year’s campaign the Durham Ladies hosted Lancashire at Darlington RFC where the visitors dominated the first half, despite a strong come back in the second half, Lancashire reigned winners 40-5.

2016/17 Team Photo: Durham County Women following Lancashire game at Darlington RFC 


Christopher Geehan, Durham Ladies Backs Coach said: “As my second year with the backs, I am really impressed with how everyone has improved over the last year as individuals.

“Our game plan and the skills we are asking of players, comes with ease which compliments our ability as a team.

“As a coach, I am optimistic for this year and I think we are a side not to be written off.”

Addison added: “Lancashire are not champions for no good reason.

“Last year showed us that they can score from our mistakes, they are quick and they allow the ball to do the work.”

The ladies set to take on the champions are:

1 Lauren Rigby Darlington Mowden Park
2 Alex Webster Darlington Mowden Park
3 Emily Hunter Darlington Mowden Park
4 Nicole Irving Sunderland Flames
5 Jess Cheesman (VC) Darlington
6 Ellie Pigford Hartlepool Rovers
7 Olivia Davison Sunderland Flames
8 Amber Stonehouse Sunderland Flames
9 Steph Maddison (C) Sunderland Flames
10 Lucy Hewitt Darlington
11 Tammy Theaker Darlington
12 Tara Breslin Sunderland Flames
13 Kirsty Paterson Sunderland Flames
14 Ursula Hardy Darlington
15 Rachelle Cooley (VC) Bishop Auckland
16 Julie Noble Sunderland Flames
17 Michaela Theaker Darlington
18 Becca Walker Sunderland Flames
19 Sarah Hall Darlington
20 Olivia Rowe Darlington Mowden Park
21 Clarissa Murphy Sunderland Flames
22 Treen Hardy Sunderland Flames
23 Rachael Knight Sunderland Flames
24 Chelsea Burger Hartlepool Rovers
25 Dannielle Coulton Hartlepool Rovers


Geehan added: “The game will come down to who wants it more and who has the extra fight to give, upfront.

“We believe we have that.”

The game will take place at Hartlepool Rugby Club, TS24 9BA from 3pm.

By Clarissa Murphy

Durham County Women Coaches announce initial 33 Woman squad ahead of Gill Burns Campaign

Durham County Women Coaches announce initial 33 Woman squad ahead of Gill Burns Campaign


Durham County Women Coaches have picked their initial 33- Woman squad for their Championship Campaign.

Following three weeks of trials of training and a development fixture, on Saturday, the Durham Coaches has slimmed the squad down to select from, for each fixture.

The Durham Coaches will use the 33 players to pick each, 22 Woman squad for the Gill Burns Championship fixtures.

The 33 players selected are;

PROP Chelsea Burger Hartlepool Rovers
PROP Jess Cheesman Darlington
PROP Julie Noble Sunderland Flames
PROP Lauren Rigby Darlington Mowden Park
PROP Beth Geehan Sunderland Flames
HOOKER Emily Hunter Darlington Mowden Park
HOOKER Alex Webster Darlington Mowden Park
HOOKER Danielle Coulton Hartlepool Rovers
HOOKER Molly Stonebank Bishop Auckland
SECOND ROW Nicole Irving Sunderland Flames
SECOND ROW Sarah Hall Darlington
SECOND ROW Charmaine Jeffreys Hartlepool Rovers
SECOND ROW Natasha Kennedy Hartlepool Rovers
FLANKER Rachael Knight Sunderland Flames
FLANKER Ellie Pigford Hartlepool Rovers
FLANKER Olivia Davison Sunderland Flames
NUMBER 8 Amber Stonehouse Sunderland Flames
NUMBER 8 Becca Walker Sunderland Flames
SCRUM HALF Steph Maddison Sunderland Flames
SCRUM HALF Chloe Allison Bishop Auckland
FLY HALF Clarissa Murphy Sunderland Flames
FLY HALF Lucy Hewitt Darlington
THREE QUARTERS Ursula Hardy Darlington
THREE QUARTERS Rachelle Cooley Bishop Auckland
THREE QUARTERS Tara Breslin Sunderland Flames
THREE QUARTERS Kirsty Paterson Sunderland Flames
THREE QUARTERS Treen Hardy Sunderland Flames
THREE QUARTERS Mackenzie Thomas Darlington Mowden Park
THREE QUARTERS Olivia Rowe Darlington Mowden Park
THREE QUARTERS Tara Slater Sunderland Flames
THREE QUARTERS Tammy Theaker Darlington
  Kirsty Mann Acklam
  Michaela Theaker Darlington

Durham County will welcome Lancashire RFU in their first championship fixture at Hartlepool RFC on Sunday April, 29, 2.30pm KO.

To see more about the squad, check out the page here 

Durham County announce Women’s ‘A’ squad to welcome Eastern Counties to Billingham RUFC

Durham County announce Women’s ‘A’ squad to welcome Eastern Counties to Billingham RUFC

Durham County Women ‘A’ will welcome Eastern Counties Development in an exhibition game at Billingham RUFC, this Saturday.

After just three weeks of trials and training, Durham will take the field for the first time as an ‘A’ team in a friendly opening to the season.

2016/17: Durham County Women after Cumbria win at Blaydon RFC


This will be a chance for players that usually play at different rugby clubs across the county, to experience playing on the same team.

Putting out a development squad, builds on the back of last year’s campaign that also saw Durham produce a second team. It demonstrates the growth of the game and the wealth of players wanting to represent their County.

Unfortunately, a number of clubs are still involved in club league fixtures and are therefore unable to put players in for the game.

The team taking to the field on Saturday is as follows:

  Player Club
1 Chelsea Burger Hartlepool Rovers
2 Danielle Coulton Hartlepool Rovers
3 Beth Geehan Sunderland Flames
4 Charmaine Jeffreys Hartlepool Rovers
5 Natasha Kennedy Hartlepool Rovers
6 Rachael Knight Sunderland Flames
7 Olivia Davison Sunderland Flames
8 Amber Stonehouse Sunderland Flames
9 Steph Maddison (C) Sunderland Flames
10 Clarissa Murphy Sunderland Flames
11 Emma Kier Hartlepool Rovers
12 Tara Breslin Sunderland Flames
13 Kirsty Paterson Sunderland Flames
14 Jain Guillaume Acklam Ladies
15 Treen Hardy Sunderland Flames
16 Kirsty Mann Acklam Ladies
17 Dorcus Lunn
18 Kimmii Colvin Hartlepool Rovers
19 Kiera Yorston Sunderland Flames
20 Amy Norton


The game will kick off at 12pm, prior to Billingham V Preston Grasshoppers on the Rugby 365 AGP pitch.

Upcoming Events

  • September 25, 2018
    • CRSC meeting7:00 pmThe Community Rugby Standing Committee will meet at Gateshead RFC to discuss the season ahead.
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