Durham U15: All smiles at the end
Durham U15s girls were all smiles despite a disappointing end to their 2016/17 County season losing 45-10 away from home to Cheshire.
It was a beautiful and sunny day with high spirits from all of the squad at Vale of Lune RFC. This boded well for a team that had one win and one loss behind them and were hoping to add another win to their tally on the final day of the Counties season.
Unfortunately for Durham it seemed that Cheshire played a similar reactive style of rugby with better experience proving the edge on the score board.
From the outset, the bigger Cheshire girls piled on the pressure with both teams battling ferociously in Durham’s 22.
Durham held the opposition back with good tackles, however when play turned to a scrum for the under dogs, Cheshire took hold and won the ball to power through the defence. The opposition’s number eight powered over the line and under the posts, the conversion put them 7-0 in front.
Although Durham were awarded scrums one after another from the kick off, Cheshire’s strong pack kept winning the ball, putting Durham’s defence under huge pressure.
A lack of commitment to the tackles created the opportunity for Cheshire to add another seven points then, shortly after, their number eight got their first unconverted try in the corner.
The double score seemed to wake the North East girls up resulting in them asserting pressure on Cheshire forcing them back into their half.
The skilful passing across the backs released Sophie Derbyshire, Durham’s Flanker to spot the gap and power through and touch down to trail 19-5.
Utilising their reactive rugby style once more, Cheshire sent speed down the wing for five more points.
Play shifted up and down the park as both teams battled out for possession and territory.
Durham discovered their strength in the lineout as they formed a maul and marched resolutely towards the Cheshire tryline, pushing the strong Cheshire forwards back and drawing numbers into the break down.
The ball was passed off to Derbyshire to secure another five points to cut the deficit to 24-10.
However, the Durham defence were tiring and Cheshire took the opportunity to send their hooker over the line.
Repetitive penalties were awarded against Cheshire as Durham pushed vigorously for the try line with Cheshire defending ferociously and not giving an inch.
Durham’s good rucking from Cheshire left them bewildered as they picked the ball from the back line, handing off attempted tackles and raced through for a converted try.
Fighting till the end, as always, Durham pushed to get another five points on the board but time was running out and Cheshire retaliated with stealing the ball at the break downs and scrums.
For Durham it was a small relief to hear the referee’s whistle as the match ended 45 -10 to the hosts.
Jan Duncan, Women and Girls Chair said: “Despite the unfavourable result, the girls played like lions – they never gave up or put their head down!
“There were flashes of brilliant skills shown as well as beaming smiles that definitely made rugby the winner.”
Match day squad: Nicole Johnston, Olivia Lindsey, Jasmine Hendon, Eden Button, Megan Martin-Lawrence, Maddy Graham, Anna Scott, Mia Simpson, Fiona McFarlane, Maisie Lloyd, Hannah Rollingson, Toban Jarvis, Jessica Ciabby, Sophie Derbyshire, Dannah Ryan-Muden, Myah Erasmus, Olivia Corbet-Smith, Catherine Baxy, Keira Throw, Lucy Capenhurst, Jessica White, Ellie Alsbitt.