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.
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.
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