Category: county teams

Durham Women prepare for tougest test yet as they welcome Lancashire on Sunday

Durham Women prepare for tougest test yet as they welcome Lancashire


Durham County Women welcome Lancashire this Sunday at Darlington Rugby Club for the final round of the pool games in the County Championship. 


Pictured: Durham Women after 34-5 victory over Cumbria

Clarissa Murphy writes; 

This Sunday will see a record number of women step out in the Durham County jersey as the side are set to field a development squad before the main squad game.

At the beginning of trials and training for Durham County a record number of over 50 women showed interest in playing for the side.

Due to the numbers persisting week in and week out and selection continuing to be a nail biting experience, it comes as a great reward that each dedicated player will get their chance at playing in the jersey this Sunday.

Dave Addison, Durham County Women’s Head Coach, said: “The competition for places has been really fierce and that’s very much down to the developing players really stepping up and putting pressure on the main squad.”

The development squad is made up of players from Hartlepool Rovers, a very new women’s rugby team on the scene, Sunderland University, Sunderland Flames, Acklam, Bishop Auckland and Darlington Mowden Park Sharks.

Matty Lidster, Head Coach for the County Women Development squad, said: “Personally to me, it does not matter what the score is as long as we get a team out and play to the best of our ability.

“Every game is experience and that is what the development side is all about, gaining that game experience and enjoying playing.”

First team Head Coach, Addison added that he is very excited to see the development squad get out and have a game after all their hard work.

Last week, Durham played hosts to Cumbria in a victorious 34-5 match at Blaydon RFC.

Following a slow start for the hosts they came out with six tries and a team performance to be proud of.

Addison added: “I think last week we started poorly by our standards and in the first half we left a lot of points on the field, in the second half we were much better and back to ourselves.

“This week we need to step out with belief that we can produce a positive result and back ourselves 110%.”

In the last year’s meeting with Lancashire, Durham were the half time leaders and in the final ten minutes Lancashire managed to grasp a hold of the score board and steal the win from under their nose.

Training this week has given the Durham Women a chance to assess areas they need to work on and focus on how they can steer the game in their favour Sunday.

“We have worked on lots of new things in our defensive work and also our game management strategy and the players have adapted really well.” Addison said.

Lancashire are currently unbeaten having beaten Cumbria 112 – 0 in their first fixture and Northumberland 51-10 last Saturday.

Although, having secured a losing bonus point and a winning bonus point in the two Durham games, the hosts are sitting second in the Gill Burns Division One, pool one group.

This means that Sunday’s game will determine the winner of the pool as Lancashire sit a catchable four points ahead at the top of the current leader board.

Commenting on Lancashire, Addison of Sunderland Flames said: “This is the toughest test yet,- Lancashire have been on fire, easily beating Cumbria and Northumberland and will be hungry to win the competition after narrowly missing out last year.

“However, because we have picked up the bonus points we now have something to play for and we would never doubt our girls.

“It will take a momentous effort but at least we have the opportunity to go through which others do not have.

“It is a huge incentive for us and it would send out a message to the women’s rugby community about Durham’s intentions.”

The development squad game will kick start the day as they take on Lancashire development for a 1pm kick off, the first team will step out for a 2.30pm KO.

Lidster of Hartlepool Rovers added: “Being able to put out a development squad as well as a first team is a massive step forward in women’s rugby.

“It shows how much women’s rugby has grown in the past few years and it is very exciting!”

The team set to face Lancashire are: 

First team:

1.Katie Dodgson (Darlington RFC), 2. Emily Hunter (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 3. Jess Cheesman (Darlington RFC), 4. Sarah Hall (Darlington RFC), 5. Amanda Hilton (Sunderland Flames), 6. Nicole Irving (Sunderland Flames), 7. Sally Downie (Bishop Auckland), 8. Ali Bell (Darlington RFC), 9. Steph Maddison (C- Sunderland Flames), 10. Lyndsey Burns (Darlington RFC), 11. Chloe Allison (Bishop Auckland), 12. Tara Breslin (Sunderland Flames), 13. Clarissa Murphy (Sunderland Flames), 14. Tara Slater (Sunderland Flames), 15. Ursula Hardy (Darlington RFC).

Replacements: Leah Davies (Sunderland Flames), Suzanne Falconer (Sunderland Flames) Alex Webster (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Amber Stonehouse (Sunderland Flames), Beth Blacklock (Durham University), Kate Byrnes (Billingham RFC) Kirsty Paterson (Sunderland Flames)

Travelling reserves: Rachael Turnbull, Caitie Smith, Emma Quinn, Catherine McCabe, Charmaine Lamb.

Development team:

1.Charmaine Lamb (Hartlepool Rovers), 2. Danni Coulton (C – Hartlepool Rovers), 3. Emma Quinn (Bishop Auckland), 4. Rachael Turnbull (Darlington RFC), 5. Natasha Kennedy (Hartlepool Rovers), 6. Abby Richardson (Hartlepool Rovers), 7. Molly Stonebank (Bishop Auckland), 8. Caitie Smith (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 9. Rachel Frost (VC- Sunderland Flames), 10. Sam Lill (Acklam), 11. Sophie Nash (Sunderland Flames), 12. Zoe Short (Acklam), 13. Jayne Guillaume (Acklam), 14. Catherine Mccabe (Sunderland Flames) Kate McDermot (Sunderland Flames)

Replacements: Kiera Yorston (Sunderland Univeristy), Bethany Randerson, Kelly Thomas (Bishop Auckland), Natalie Wintersgill (Hartlepool Rovers), Claire Napier (Sunderland Flames) Becca Willett (Bishop Auckland), Kirsty Mann (Acklam), Lauren Somerville (Acklam), Lynsey Lormier (Acklam) and Claire Braham (Hartleepol Rovers).

Durham Senior Men make a storming start to County Championship

Durham Senior Men make a storming start to County Championship


Durham County Senior men had a flying start to their campaign winning 62-5 against visitors Cumbria at Hartlepool Rovers.

Pictured: Durham County Senior Men’s team 2016/2017


The match was the opening of the County Championship campaign for the Wearsiders and the Annual Past Presidents’ Lunch seeing a reunion of Durham County players including Mike Weston who took part in the 1967 County Championship.

Saturday’s opponents, Cumbria kicked off the game seeing the ball swept up by the hosts up field before it was moved wide to winger, Fraser Wilson who opened the scoring with an unconverted try.

Pictured: Try scored by Fraser Wilson


Before the visitors had chance to settle, the hosts applied the pressure and after only nine minutes they added a converted try to the board on the other wing by Martin Hopley.  The lead was extended to 12-0 as fly half, Josh Bragman added the extra points with a confident kick.

As they dominated proceedings, Durham went onto build up a 38-0 half time lead thanks to further tries from; Wilson and forwards, Talite Vaioleti, Danny Dixon and Tom Larder.

The second half followed a similar pattern as hosts Durham scored again within 11 minutes through forward Dixon.

Next up, debutant, Liam Checksfield added a superb individual try as he sidestepped past several – would be tacklers in a run from Durham’s half that took the score to 46-0 after Andrew Baggett easily added the extras.

In the 59th minute the Cumbrian efforts were rewarded albeit from Durham errors as they crossed the line for an unconverted try.

Continuing to play with dominance, the hosts hit back almost immediately as winger Hopley burst through to score his second of the day.

Pictured: Try score by Martin Hopley


Durham’s final try came in the 65th minute courtesy of another debutant; flanker Anthony Jackson. The conversion from Baggett took the score to 62-5.

John Dove, Durham County Senior Men Chairman of Selectors, said: “It was an excellent performance from the whole squad and a great start to the competition.

“Next up we have two travelling fixtures to complete our County Championship Campaign.”

Team sheet from Durham V Cumbria

On Saturday, Durham face Staffordshire away at Lichfield RFC (2.30pm KO)


Durham County Women secure a comfortable bonus point win over Cumbria Women

Durham County Women secure a comfortable bonus point win over Cumbria Women


Durham County Women welcomed Cumbria to play the last ever match at Blaydon RFC running home six tries to win 34-5.

Pictured: Team photo against Cumbria


Despite a favourable score for the hosts Durham, it was not without pressure, determination and fight as Cumbria played to the final whistle.

The first ten minutes were very surprising for the hosts and spectators as Cumbria stepped out switched on from the off demonstrating their hunger for the game.

Durham were repeatedly put on the back foot as the visitors travelled wide exerting pressure on wingers Amie Bell and Chloe Allison.

Although Durham were not displaying their usual tempo, it seemed they were not going to let them past anyhow.

Utilising the dominant forwards, Durham began to put themselves in the game as they gradually moved play further into the Cumbria half.

A final ship off from centre Tara Breslin left Kirsty Patterson with a two on one that she confidently handed off to slide under the posts for the first converted try.

Pictured: Kirsty Patterson running in a try


Realising the space was being created out wide, great support play from Bell and Allison created opportunities for the hosts, one seeing Bell over the line only to be denied as Cumbria held it up.

Moments later Durham suffered again as Becca Walker stormed over the try line and play was taken back to an earlier foul.

Holding an experienced and strong pack, the Wearside women were in the Cumbria 22 in an unstoppable maul towards the try line. Number eight, Ali Bell finished the chance as she picked up off the back of the break down and darted under the posts.

Extending the lead to 14-0 in the 25th minute, Breslin slotted the ball between the posts for the conversion.

Just five minutes before the half time break, Cumbria gathered the break they had been fighting for as full back, Amy Orrow darted through the defence and over the try line.

After a water refill and a vital kick up the bum, the hosts returned knowing they needed to work harder in defence and utilise their speed and depth in attack.

In the second half, both sides saw some changes as fresh legs made their way onto the pitch to resource the two sides.

Captain, Steph Maddison started to get fed clean ball from the hosts as Sally Downie, Leah Davies and Sarah Hall cleared out the Cumbrian threat at the break downs.

In the backs, Ursula Harding, Breslin and Patterson opened up space hitting hard lines as they crashed the visitors defence securing another four unconverted tries for the side.

Even though Durham Women were happily tailing up the score board, Cumbria remained in the game and continued to make the side work for the win.

Great tackles from Walker, Allison and Kate Byrnes halted the Cumbria Women repeatedly.

The final ten minutes saw the visitors persistence remain as they parked themselves in the 22 edging for a second try.

It seemed as though a little space created out wide was going to give that very opportunity for the Cumbria full back however replacement winger, Clarissa Murphy manged to spin herself under the play to hold the try up.

With the ball back in the hosts possession they moved it to safety and kicked it out moments later to the joy of the final whistle securing them the 34-5 victory.

Dave Addison, Durham County Women Head Coach said: “We asked you to go out and give us something to play for next week against Lancashire and you did exactly that.

“Our second half was a much better performance as we began to play our game.

“I am very proud of the team!”


By Clarissa Murphy

Durham County U20s head to Twickenham for Championship Final

Durham County U20s head to Twickenham for Championship Final


Durham County U20s are set to travel to England’s home of rugby for the County Championship Final.

Pictured: Durham U20s following semi final win over Kent


Twickenham welcome Durham County U20s and Yorkshire U20s tomorrow in the Jason Leonard U20 County Championship Final.

In order to make their way to Twickenham, Durham have had some long journeys including the semi final which saw them play Kent at Cranbrook RUFC winning 28-18.

Yorkshire have come up against Durham during the group stages of the competition seeing the wearsiders grasp a 15-12 victory.

However, on the home soil of rugby it will be all to fight for as both sides will be looking to lift the trophy at Twickenham.

Head Coach of Durham County U20s, Sean Wiles said: “I could not be prouder of our squad of players.

“It was especially good to make such long away trips for the quarter and semi finals and return with two wins.”

The U20s team is made up of players from numerous clubs across the County including: Durham University, Blaydon RFC, Hartbury College, Darlington Mowden Park, Leeds Beckett University, Durham City, Gateshead College, Billingham RFC, Middlesbrough RFC and Hartlepool RFC.

Chairman of the Durham County U20s, Bill Lynch said: “This year has seen outstanding achievements for our team.

“Not only have we reached the final of the Cup this year after having only been promoted from the Shields competition, but we are so pleased to have five of our squad selected for the North U20s.

“It is phenomenal to see such great accomplishments as a County and players opening routes for potential to play for England.”


Durham County U20s selected to travel to Twickenham are:


Jonathan Edes Durham University 1
Jack Beckwith Blaydon RFC 2
Elliott Beattie Hartbury College 3
Alex Charlton Blaydon RFC 4
Sam Lorimer DMP 5
Sean Richardson Durham University 6
Alex Dunne DMP 7
Lewis Roxby Leeds Beckett University 8
Ollie Green Durham University 9
Ben Scher Durham University 10
Jack Hedley Durham University 11
Tom Lawson DMP 12
James Cooney (Capt.) Blaydon RFC 13
Garry Izomor Durham City RFC 14
Ryan Foreman Blaydon 15
Aaron Stephenson Gateshead College 16
Mikey Serino Billingham RFC 17
Kieran Clark Middlesbrough RFC 18
Ben Walton Billingham RFC 19
Matt Charlton Blaydon 20
Miles Rawstron-Rudd Durham University 21
Lewis Wilson Hartlepool RFC 22

Callum Burke and Paddy Dolaghan will travel with Durham U20s as reserves.


Durham U20 Management/Coaching Staff


Bill Lynch – Chairman

Stuart Langthorne – Team Manager

Sean Wiles – Head Coach

Richard Thirkell – Forwards Coach

Jeff Lamb – Backs Coach

Lolly Pearse – Physiotherapist

Cheryl Gartland – Physiotherapist

Billy Hunter – Kit Man


The game will kick off at Twickenham at 5pm and can be live streamed at

Lynch added: “It is ground for a great game as shown by the score the last time we met and it appears that a large number of supporters will travel to Twickenham to cheer the team on.”


By Clarissa Murphy

Durham County Senior Men announce team in preparation for tomorrow’s game

Durham County Senior Men announce team in preparation for tomorrow’s game


Durham County Senior Men are set to face Cumbria in their first match of the Bill Beaumount County Championship.

The game will take place at Hartlepool Rovers from 3pm on Saturday, May 6!

After just a few weeks of trials and a week working as a squad, the Durham County Senior Men’s squad has been whittled down to a match day 22.

Representing Durham are players from across the County including clubs: Billingham, Blaydon, Durham City, Darlington Mowden Park, Hartlepool, West Hartlepool and South Shields Westoe.

Durham Team Sheet:

Cumbria 2017 Prog. Team Page 1


Cumbria Team Sheet:

Cumbria 2017 Prog. Team Page 2.. (002)


Best of luck to the squad, get down and show your support!

Durham County Senior Men’s squad announced tonight

Durham County Senior Men’s squad announced tonight

Chariman of Selctors for Durham County Senior Men has announced that this week’s team will be selected on the evening of May, 3 ready for training on May, 4.
Those selected for this week’s game will be contacted by Team Manager, Gus Miller and will be expected at training on May,4 – 6.30pm @ Hartlepool Rovers.
Those not selected will not be required at training but will still be considered for the remaining two fixtures of this years compeitition. 

Thank you all for your efforts over the past few weeks.

Durham County Women denied derby match in closing minutes

Durham County Women denied derby match in closing minutes


Durham County Senior Women narrowly miss out on derby match as Northumberland secure a converted try in the last minutes to win 17-10.

This year’s Durham Senior Women’s squad made up from players from Darlington RFC, Sunderland Flames, Bishop Auckland, DMP Sharks and Billingham travelled to Novocastrians on Friday night to play derby rivals, Northumberland.

Pictured: Durham County Women against Northumberland


The game was intense and evenly matched most of the way through with scoring proving difficult as both teams defended their try line relentlessly. 

Scoring first just before the half time break was Durham’s inside centre, Tara Breslin as she crashed through the open defence to score an unconverted try.

Despite a half time lead it was not at all in the comfort zone for the visiting side as Northumberland came back with more steam, more aggression and eagerness.

Northumberland showed quick responses to what was in front of them proving to put them one step ahead both in defence and attack.

Although, Durham served well to push the hosts defence back on numerous occasions, persistence paid off as North’s Natasha Robinson opened up the space and darted through to score under the posts. Lauren Wallace pushed the score in the hosts favour as she slotted the ball between the posts. 

The tension evident in the first half still very much remained as the two sides were in each others pockets throughout.

As Durham dragged their way back up the field it was a ball off the line out fed into the centres that gave Kirsty Patterson an overlap in the corner to award the visitors a 10-7 lead.

In the second half both sides were guilty of conceding a number of penalties but Northumberland took advantage and set for the post to even the score 10-10. 

Presenting themselves as the fitter side, Northumberland began to speed up play as they played the offload game in the visitors half making them work twice as hard to recover in defence.

Durham defended the try line from just a few metres out once more and play was back in the middle of park but it seemed Northumberland did not need to be within touching distance as full back, Emily Oliver scooped the ball and ran wide beating the defence under the posts.

With a secondary conversion on the board, Northumberland lead 17-10 with just five minutes on the clock.

Continuing with passion, the game was entertaining to the final whistle with Durham just missing out on their first Gill Burns Championship match.

The side will re-group at training on Wednesday at Hartlepool Rugby Club and go again on Sunday as they welcome Cumbria to Blaydon RFC for a 2pm KO.


By Clarissa Murphy

Preview: Durham County Women name their 23 to face Northumberland

Preview: Durham County Women name their 23 to face Northumberland


Durham County Senior Women have named their final 23 to face rivals Northumberland Women in their first game of the Gill Burns County Championship.

With over 50 females showing an interest in being part of the Durham County side, it has been a tough selection process for the coaching team.

Dave Addison, Head Coach of Durham County Senior Women said: “It is a really exciting time for Women’s Rugby in Durham.

“Having so many women try out has meant that everyone has had to be on their toes, bring their best to each session and perform to win the shirt.

“County rugby should be about developing and growing the game so it is really great seeing so many women showing an interest, in particular having last year’s U18s challenging for full honors alongside experienced players.

In order to produce structure, the experienced coaching team created a main squad of 35 and a development squad.

From the main squad of 35, the final 23 to face Northumberland are: Jess Cheesman – Darlington RFC, Katie Dodgson – Darlington RFC, Alex Webster – DMP Sharks, Sarah Hall – Darlington RFC, Amanda Hilton – Sunderland Flames, Nicole Irving – Sunderland Flames, Sask Munden – Sunderland Fames, Ali Bell – Darlington RFC, Steph Maddison – Sunderland Flames, Lyndsay Burns – Darlington RFC, Tara Breslin – Sunderland Flames, Kirsty Paterson – Sunderland Flames, Ursula Hardy – Darlington RFC, Chloe Allison – Bishop Auckland, Claudia Macdonald- Durham University, Suzanne Falconer – Sunderland Flames, Leah Davies – Sunderland Flames/ Sunderland University, Clarissa Murphy – Sunderland Flames, Katherine Insall – Durham University, Sally Downie – Bishop Auckland, Becca Walker- Sunderland Flames, Tara Slater – Sunderland Flames/ Sunderland University, Kate Byrnes – Billingham RFC

Addison, Sunderland Flames coach commented on the team saying: “Our Squad is made up of a really talented and hard working group of players.

“We have asked the team to take on board a lot of information in a short space of time and they have responded brilliantly.”

Each Wednesday the coaching team have pushed each player to prove themselves in different aspects of the game such as tackling, fitness, game awareness and more.

Addison added: “It has been a great environment for learning and with additional coaching support from Chris Geehan (Sunderland XV), Chris Marsden (Bishop Auckland), Emily Hunter (DMP Sharks and Hartlepool Rovers) and exceptional management from Paul Geehan (Sunderland RFC) it has been really easy to cope with the additional numbers.”

In preparation for Friday, the team had their last run through together on Wednesday night at Hartlepool Rugby Club enabling them to put together the last five weeks of hard work.

For the last meeting with Northumberland in the 2015/2016 campaign the two sides met their match as the game ended in a 24-24 tie.

As this is considered a derby match, both sides will be searching for bragging rights and a head start in the Gill Burns County Championship campaign.

Being a former player and coach of hosts, Northumberland – Dave Addison said: “I know a lot of their players and they will be very strong with most of their squad playing at Championship level.

“But, for this game I am confident that the ladies selected can step up and make a good account of themselves.

“It is great ground for an entertaining game of rugby to come and watch!”

The game will kick off at 7pm at Novocastrians RFC, Sutherland Park, Benton, Newcastle, NE7 7SZ.

Following Friday’s game, Durham will take on Cumbria at Blaydon RFC on Sunday, May 7 and Lancashire on Sunday, May 14 at Darlington RFC, both kicking off at 2pm.

By Clarissa Murphy

Age grade: County Cup and Plate updates

The Durham County Age Grade Cup and Plate Finals


With the season drawing to a close the final three age grade cup and plate finals are set to be played in the coming weeks.

In the U15s, Durham City challenge Billingham in the Cup final while in the Plate, South Shields Westoe face Bishop Auckland.

Both games will take place on Sunday April, 30 at Consett RFC for a 1.30pm KO

Moving on to the U16, in the Cup, Durham City take on Darlington Mowden Park and fighting for the Plate, Gateshead play Sunderland.

The U16s Cup and the Plate will also be played at Consett RFC on Sunday, April 23 for a 1.30pm KO.

And lastly, in the U18s Cup Darlington face Durham City and in the Plate, Consett take on DMP.

The Cup will be played for on at Durham City RFC on the main pitch on Sunday, 23 – KO 2pm while the Plate will be played at DMP arena on Thursday, May 27 for a 7.30pm KO.

A Successfully weekend as Hartlepool BBOB are World Champions and Durham U20s secure final at Twickenham

A Successfully weekend as Hartlepool BBOB are World Champions and Durham U20s secure final at Twickenham 


This weekend was another busy weekend starting at Hartlepool BBOB for the World Cup Championship rugby match and then a well worth lengthy journey to Kent to watch the National Counties U20s Championship Semi- Final.

Starting close to home, Saturday was kick started at the Old Friarage ground for the Boys Brigade Old Boys annual World Cup match.

As far as it has been able to confirm, there are only two BBOB sides in the world; one is in Hartlepool and the other in Northampton.
In light of this, they play one other annually on Easter Saturday for the World Champion title.

Hartlepool played host this year for the twenty first playing of the match.

It is a focal point of both sides playing and social calendar each year with the off field activities being as large a part of the weekend as the actual match.

I was able to join in the pre match reception and watch the early stages of the match before having to leave for the journey to Kent for the U20 match.

This year’s champions were Hartlepool with a 57 – 22 victory and I am told that the post-match activities were as lively and enjoyable as ever.

Pictured: Hartlepool BBOB World Champions match players


Saturday evening I travelled to Kent with the County U20 side for the Nation Semi-Final match to be played at Cranbrook RFC on the Sunday.

After an overnight stay at Dartford, we travelled the last leg of the journey to Cranbrook RFC on Sunday morning.

It was a fine dry day and a very good pitch; all was set for a good match.
There was a large crowd which included former England back row, Mickey Skinner who had come to watch his son play in the Kent side.

The Durham lads produced a superb performance eventually coming out victors 26 -18.

Pictured: Durham County U20s team with coaches and guest President Tony Wilson


We can now proudly say that the lads have earned their way to the Final against Yorkshire at the home of Rugby, Twickenham on Saturday May, 6 – 5pm KO.

It has to be said that it was overwhelming to see the number of families and friends of players that made the long journey to support the Durham team.

They could certainly be heard on the day and the lads said that it helped in raising their game.


To see more of President Wilson’s Willer’s Wanderings, check them out here

Upcoming Events

  • August 26, 2017
    • County Cup Weekend R1
      2:00 pm

      The first rounds of the Durham County Cups in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior Cup will take place this weekend between clubs across the County.

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