Category: Schools News

From Eagle to Falcon for Yarm Rugby Clubs first homegrown player Morgan Passman

From Eagle to Falcon for Yarm Rugby Clubs first homegrown player Morgan Passman


Newcastle Falcons have signed former Durham County player, Morgan Passman on professional terms for the Senior Academy.

Morgan Passman, 18 signed his first professional contract with the Premiership side last week to secure himself a spot on the right wing in the Junior Academy squad.

Pictured: Morgan in Durham County kit, representing U15s


After playing across the backline for the Academy, scoring the most tries for the side and making his A League debut for the Falcons’ in September during their 67-21 victory over Wasps, he can say that his hard work has certainly paid off.

Passman has not been short of success throughout his rugby career, since starting out as a Yarm Eagle at the young age of four he was; the first age group to enter the Durham Developing Player Pathway programme (DPP) with the help of the Falcons and the County, he has helped the Falcons’ AASE scheme at Gosforth Academy to two successive national finals, represented Durham County at U15s and England at U16s.

Pictured: Morgan Passman as Falcons Academy player


Mark Laycock, Falcons Academy Manager and fellow Teessider said “Morgan came through the DPP and made his A-League debut for the Falcons in this season’s heavy victory over Wasps.”

“The former Yarm RFC and school player is very physical and powerful, with an eye for the try-line, and it is exciting to see him stepping up to the senior academy.”

Since first starting out in Passmans’ youth, the DPP programme has gone from strength to strength, over the years, developing some strong talent throughout the three areas covering Durham.

Upon completing his exams at Gosforth Academy in May, Passman will move up to Newcastle permanently and take up the game full time.

Although, father Steve Passman and Yarm RFC club coaching co-ordinator, has said he will still pop into the Club when he can.

After all, that is where his journey and dream began!

By Clarissa Murphy


England Inner Warrior camps return to Durham County to grow the female game

England Inner Warrior camps return to Durham County to grow the female game


England Rugby launch the return of the ‘Inner Warrior’ camps and, Durham County look to grow their number of Women and Girls players with eight Clubs hosting an event.

The Inner Warrior camps first launched last year, as a campaign by England Rugby to get Women and Girls in to rugby union.

It is the chance to try rugby for the first time or even pick up a ball again after a break.

Warrior camps are the perfect way to get your 2018 goals off to a flying start; say yes to more, improve your fitness, meet new people and more.

Throughout Durham County, there are ten camps taking place across the eight clubs.

First to kick start the camps were, Ryton RFC on Saturday as they welcomed over 20 girls for their taster session with, four new faces.

Pictured; Ryton RFC Inner warrior, 2017/18


Check out the camps up next;


Girls – ages 11 – 17 join the club for a Friday evening of fun, games and non-contact rugby.

Friday, Jan, 19 @ 6pm



Women and Girls – two camps, one evening and all for free.

Friday, Jan, 19 @ 7pm



Women – between ages 17 and 100 come along for a fun morning of rugby! A chance to try something new at the same time as others, and you might even like it.

Sunday, Jan, 21 @ 11am



Girls – ages 11 – 17 welcome to come along to join the team!

Sunday, Jan, 21 @ 1pm



Girls – ages 11 – 17 come along for a night of fun, games and a little bit of rugby!

Wednesday, Jan, 24 @ 7pm



Women and Girls – That means an evening for mums, daughters, sisters, friends, aunties, grandmas and more!

Thursday, Jan, 25 – Girls @ 6pm and Women @ 7.30pm



Girls – Ages 11 – 17 welcome to come along and join a growing girls section at the club!

Friday, Jan, 26 @ 6pm


What are the camps for?

They were designed to introduce you to the sport with ease and lots of fun. Inner Warrior camps are a platform to encourage all ages, abilities and experienced females to get involved.

It is a chance to learn the basics, get an introduction to the contact side of the game but mostly, to have fun!.

Rugby is all about, enjoyment, sportsmanship, teamwork, discipline and respect and this will be shadowed in all of the camps around Durham County and the Country.

After a huge boost of women and girls playing rugby in 2017, England Rugby hope this years, 185 planned Inner Warrior camps across the county will have the same affect.

Since its initial launch, over 10,500 women have attended Warrior Camps nationwide; and of those women, 3,500 had never picked up a rugby ball before.

As a result of the camps, a high interest from women and girls rugby echoed, resulting in an influx of players joining 41 new contact rugby club teams in 2017.

As well, women’s rugby continues to show its worth as it breaks records – female participation in rugby has increased 215% since 2013, making it one of the fastest growing team sports for women in England.

Still got more questions? Check out the poster below for all you need to know…


Be a apart of the continued growth in Durham County and sign up to your #InnerWarrior camp now!

Durham County U16s prepare for new year campaign as they announce training squad

Durham County U16s prepare for new year campaign as they announce training squad


Durham U16s prepare for their 2017/2018 campaign as they select players from around the County to feature in the training squad.

From the players named in the training squad, a match day 23 man squad will be picked for both the Princes and Bishops team.

The U16s started the selection process before the new year with three sessions where coaches assessed players in order to select a training squad.

The first two match day squads will be selected after squad training tonight at Darlington Mowden Park from 6.30pm


Nugent Owen West Hartlepool
Carr Michael Durham City
White Matthew DMP
Chaplin Owen Durham City
Berry Joe DMP
Eadington Adam Houghton
Archer Jack Houghton
Penny Dylan Billingham
Minto Jaime Ryton Thorp Academy
Hutchinson Adam West Hartlepool


Wiffen Jack Bishop Auckland
Mckenna John DMP
Forester Ethan Houghton
Kundu Reece Billingham


Malcolm Harry Houghton
Shanks Sam DMP
Hill Innes DMP
Heatley Michael Ryton St Thomas Moore
Peacock Louis Barnard Castle
Greenbank Phil Billingham


Wilson Harry DMP
Etherington Matthew Gateshead
Laundy-Blair Ezra
Mercer Matt Durham City
Walker Tom Billingham
Houston Joe Durham City
Simon Lewis Billingham
Berba Hassan West Hartlepool
Hurdley Jordan Bishop Auckland
Turnbull Thomas Hartlepool
Barker Will Bishop Auckland
Shipley Will Ryton
Poppitt Callum Billingham
Redfern Luke Bishop Auckland
Turnbull Ben
Carruthers Matthew Houghton
Bale Olly Barnard Castle


Butler Niall Durham City
Leyland Harry Gateshead
Kelly Leon Durham City
Carney Rob DMP
Todd Will DMP
Groark Louis Sunderland
Rouse Oli West Hartlepool Barnard Castle
Nelson Tom DMP
Bourne Charlie DMP
Pearson James West Hartlepool
Rafferty Max Billingham


Roddam Kieran Ryton
Westrop Owen West Hartlepool
Ward Matthew Durham City
Boyle Jake Ryton
Edwards Jacob Barnard Castle
Fernandes Aaron DMP
Vinniecombe Jack Ryton Emamnuel college
Kench Sol Yarm School
Johnstone Harry Ryton Thorp Academy
Humphries Matthew Darlington Longfield
Berry Sam DMP

Best of luck to all the players and the Princes and Bishops in their campaign.

Check out the U16s page for more information here

NEWSLETTER: Women and Girls January edition

NEWSLETTER: Women and Girls January edition

The Durham County Women and Girls section continue to develop, from the Counties biggest campaign yet to supporting England Rugby’s Inner Warrior campaign.

There is so much that clubs, volunteers and players are now involved in.

Take a look at this months January Newsletter to keep up to date;

December 2017.pdf

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North of England U18 invite eight Durham lads to assessment centre line up

North of England U18 invite eight Durham lads to assessment centre line up

North of England U18 selects have announced the squad invited for trials, and eight Durham County players feature on the line up.

The U18s North Division skills assessment and development day will take place on Sunday, January 28 in West Yorkshire.

Congratulations to the eight lads named, among the 47 players picked for the day;

Alfie Lawson – Hartlepool Sixth Form and Billingham RUFC
Andrew Bain – QE Sixth Form and Darlington Mowden Park
Daniel Chambers – Thorp Academy and Ryton RFC
Edward Anderson – Yarm School and Yarm RFC
Elliott Trott – Emmanuel College
Ethan Hall –  Barnard Castle School and Bishop Auckland Rugby Club
Max Pepper – Barnard Castle School
Ratu Bavadra – Gateshead College and Gateshead RFC


Phi Lax, Durham County U18 Team Manager commented on the players success saying: “We are delighted for the players selected and expect them to continue to express themselves, grasp the opportunity with both hands and push to get into the squad for the games.

“As well, the coaching team would like to congratulate all the U18s for this season, we have played some superb attacking rugby and scored the most points across all the northern counties.

“A great season to be proud of.”

Pictured: 2017/18 Durham County U18s at Darlington Mowden Park for first North Selectors Division Festival

The Durham players will travel to Woodhouse Grove School, Apperley Bridge, West Yorkshire, Bradford, BD10 0NR to continue to showcase their talent on the field.

All players named in the squad should email North Division Delivery Team Manager Stuart Kohler at: to confirm their acceptance of their place by 5pm on Friday, January 12.

Check out the full squad invited from all North Counties here.

Durham County Schools scrum together for relaunch of Cup competition

Durham County Schools scrum together for relaunch of Cup competition


Durham County RFU Schools Union have re-launched the Schools Cup and over a 1000 pupils are playing rugby union, as a result.

The County Schools Cup competition with help from Durham RFU Professional Staff took its makeover around the county, setting up at twelve different rugby clubs from September.

Pictured: YR 10/11 Cup competition round one at Billingham Rugby Club on RFU AGP pitch

Along with its new look, the Cup and Plate competition attracted 35 schools, with a number of those being new faces too.

Among the seven different age group Cup and Plate games, over 1000 children have been able to enjoy rugby union with their school friends.

John Pearson, Durham County RFU Schools Union, Secretary said; “The revitalisation of the Schools Union Sevens and more lately, the implementation of a full range of Boys and Girls Festivals and Cup Competitions, has undoubtedly assisted in breathing fresh air into a moribund organisation.”

The schools Cup and Plate competition with the help of RFU Professional staff has been split into two adjacent tournaments. In round one, the mid Durham and north Durham schools attend one round of age grade fixtures to reserve their position in either the Cup or the Plate final. While in the south, the south east and south west Durham Schools competed against one another to allocate them into their next step of the competition.

The Durham County Cup and Plate finals are set to be completed in the new year.

So far, the U13 and U15 girls have enjoyed a central venue finals event at Darlington Mowden Park, where over 100 girls took part in a series of rugby games for either the Cup or Plate.

This years, 2017/18 U13 winners are; U13 Plate –  Teesdale School, U13 Cup – St. Wilfrid’s, U15 Plate – Staindrop and U15 Cup – St. Thomas Moore.

Pictured: U13 Girls schools at the end of round one at Horden and Peterlee RUFC


As well as the girls competitions, St John’s Catholic Sixth form took on Queen Elizabeth Sixth form in the YR 12/13 Boys final round, for St Johns to be crowned Plate Winners and QE to take home the Cup for 2017/18.

In the new year, the remaining year seven, eight, nine and 10/11 Boys finals will take place across the County to see the completion of the 2017/2018 Schools County Cup at the end of January.

Pictured; YR 12/13 Boys, QE Cup Winners & St Johns Plate Winners with match referee and John Pearson


Pearson commented: “To attract so many schools in the first instance, and provide a number of games at both Cup and Plate level has raised the level of participation in rugby in the schools in the County.

“As well, by using County Society referees for these competitions, we were able to add professionalism to the games and raise the profile of such events that will follow in the future.

“The Cup and Plate events were a great way to show Durham Schools that the Schools Union is here and looking to provide more rugby playing opportunities for them.”

The next stepping stone for the Competition will be to source referees from the Young Match Officials within Durham Schools for future festivals such as the Cup and Plate.

By Clarissa Murphy

Durham County U17M announce training squad for 2018 campaign

Durham County U17M announce training squad for 2018 campaign


As one Age Grade representative side comes to an end, another prepares to begin as the U17 Men name their training squad.

The Durham U17s prepare for the season ahead with their 35 man training squad.

The next training session will take place in the new year at Winlaton RFC on January, 15 from 6.30pm.

Phil Lax, Durham County U17s Team Manager commented on selection saying: “This year has been the most difficult decison for the Durham County Coaching Team.

“The quality in Durham County U17s is outstanding and the coaching team are really excited about the season ahead.”


Making it into this years selection, are as follows:

Forwards                         Club                                   School/College


Charlie Caswell                West Hartlepool

Ethan Hall                        Bishop Auckland                 Barnard Castle School

Harry Thompson              Billingham

Nathan Smith                   Westoe

Owen Chaplin                  Durham City

Luke Hawkins                  Gateshead

Joseph Sawdon               Middlesbrough

Nick Blowey                     Durham City                            Durham School

Conor Martin                   Darlington Mowden Park

Sam Shanks                   Darlington Mowden Park

Shane Ivey                      Hartlepool                                East Durham College

Chris West                       Houghton

Stephen Carrick               Darlington

Will Dexter                        Billingham                                Durham School

Ethan Leddington             West Hartlepool

Joe Berry                          Darlington Mowden Park

Zak Swan                         Westoe



Tom Kell                         Gateshead                                 Emmanuel College

Oliver Connolly              West Hartlepool

Luke Pearson                 Billingham                                   Durham School

Alex Smith                      Durham City                                Emmanuel College

Callum Piert                   Darlington Mowden Park

Callum Robinson                                                               Barnard Castle

Dean Edmundson          Sunderland

Harry Burnard                Billingham

Leon Turnbull                 Billingham

James Pearson              West Hartlepool

Max Thompson              Stockton

Cameron Mather            Gateshead                                 Emmanuel College

Matthew Ward                Durham City

Alex Osifo                       Stockton

Luke Cooper                   Billingham                                 Hartlepool 6th Form

Joe Ross                        Billingham                                  Hartlepool 6th Form

Sam Berry                     Darlington Mowden Park

Sam Douglass              Middlesbrough                              Yarm School


Durham County U18M narrowly miss out on their three from three record in final test against Yorkshire Rugby

Durham County U18M narrowly miss out on their three from three record in final test against Yorkshire Rugby


Durham tally their first loss as Yorkshire serve up a 19-12 victory at West Hartlepool Rugby Club for the final game of the 2017/18 season in difficult conditions.

Pictured: Durham County U18M against Yorkshire 2017/18


The first half, saw early pressure but, wasted chances by the hosts to give Yorkshire the upper hand which they executed with a 12 – 0 lead at the half time break.

In the second half, Durham began to play with tempo and scored a rewarding try through skipper, Alfie Lawson to trail 12 – 7 with a boot from Callum Piert.

Applying the pressure, Durham forced Yorkshire to show their strengths which was evidently, a strong defence.

Taking a turn in the wrong direction, Durham became subsequent to questionable decisions and more points on the board for the visitors.

In an attempt to change their own luck, Max Pepper took a quick penalty and scooped the ball out wide to Zac Ivey to score what was to be, a disallowed try in the corner.

Despite this Durham kept pressing and scored an unconverted try hrough, Harry Beadling.

For both sides, this meant an exciting last five mins on the clock with Durham pushing for the next score and Yorkshire battling for all their worth.

Even with Durham’s best efforts the visitors held out for the win.

Phil Lax, Durham County U18M Manager, said: “ It was an excellent, fast game played in a great spirit.

“Over all it has been a fantastic season, with the lads playing some outstanding rugby and they have been a pleasure to work with.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to our dedicated Coaching Team of Chris Webb, Dave Hill, Steve Passman & Iain Dixon who have been responsible for bringing the best out of the players as individuals and as a team.

“Well done Lads we are all very proud of how well you have represented Durham County.”

Durham County U18M end their 2017/2018 campaign with two from three victories, 102 points scored, 44 points scored against and another year as winners of the Watt Davy Cup.

Team that faces Yorkshire

Check out the U18 County page

Durham County U18M announce squad for final campaign fixture against Yorkshire Rugby

Durham County U18M announce squad for final campaign fixture against Yorkshire Rugby

Durham County U18M welcome Yorkshire this weekend in their final fixture of their 2017/18 campaign where they look to make it three from three for another year.

Durham have dominated their campaign so far with a 52- 25 victory over Northumberland and a 38-0 victory away to Cumbria.

In last years competiton, Durham did not face Yorkshire so this shall be a different test for the side.

The game will take place at West Hartlepool RFC, 2pm KO

Check out the side to take to the field below;


  Forename Surname School Club
1 Ethan Hall Barnard Castle School Bishop Auckland
2 Andrew Bain QE 6th form College Darlington Mowden Park
3 Daniel Chambers Thorp Academy Ryton
4 Shane Ivey East Durham College Hartlepool
5 James Murphy Conyers 6th Form College Billingham
6 Daniel Lax Gateshead College Ryton
7 Edward Anderson Yarm School Yarm
8 Jordan Mckee Yarm School  
9 Max Pepper Barnard Castle School  
10 Alex Smith Emmanuel College Durham City
11 Joe Ross Hartlepool 6th Form College Billingham
12 Callum Piert   Darlington Mowden Park
13 Alfie Lawson Hartlepool 6th Form College Billingham
14 Ratu Bavadra Gateshead College Gateshead
15 Elliott Trott Emmanuel College  


H/FR 16 Kyle Elliott   Durham City
FR 17 Leo Heslop Gateshead College Durham City
  18 Luke Hawkins   Gateshead
  19 Nick Blowey Durham School Durham City
  20 Harry Beadling QE 6th form College Billingham
  21 Ross Craig   Gateshead

 The game will be refereed by; Riki Handa with assistance from: Rebecca Rees & Simon Williams and Sponsored by Charles Stanley Wealth Managers


Best of Luck!

Upcoming Events

  • January 20, 2018
    • Referee T&D
      7:00 pm

      This will take place at Durham City RFC.

  • January 24, 2018
    • Durham safeguarding meeting
      6:30 pm

      Durham Clubs are invited to Sunderland RFC where Richard Smallbone (RFU Safeguarding Manager) will be in attendance to answer questions and give a talk on safeguarding audits.
      There will be refreshments upon arrival.

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