Women Touch Festival: Pictures here

Womens Touch Festival

As the Summer continues to try and blossom in the North East, Durham Womens club across the County continue to gather to play friendly games against one another.

Pictured by Sally Evans: Hartlepool Rovers at Bishop Touch festival


So far the weather has been quite fortunate with touch games falling on summery evenings making an enjoyable setting for women’s teams to come out and play.

Tuesday evening saw Bishop Auckland host the third festival so far welcoming clubs; Darlington, Hartlepool Rovers, Houghton RFC and Whitby RFC.

Games were played in a round robin format with teams each playing at least three games.

To see more picture from the event click here

The next Womens touch festival will take place at Billingham Rugby Club on Wednesday, July 19 2017.

Hartlepool Rovers Inner Warriors have more to celebrate than their second birthday

Hartlepool Rovers Inner Warriors have more to celebrate than their second birthday


Hartlepool Rovers celebrate their second birthday and prepare to enter the 2017/18 season with four contact female rugby sides.

Pictured: Hartlepool Rovers Women and Girls Section


Rovers Women and Girls section has continued to blossom since their first launch of an U13 Touch rugby team in 2013.

Back in their early days, Rovers U13s were made up from a number of girls that travelled around Durham County to play in Touch Rugby festivals. But, as the interest continued and coaches could see the team growing worth, they leaped to playing full contact by the end of the 2015/16 season.

Each season, Rovers have taken that extra step to continue growing their female section with the great support of coaches, volunteers and RFU Professional staff.

Phil Wallis, RFU Community Rugby Coach for South Durham, said: “Rovers are a very keen and well supported club.

“The Coaches are very enthusiastic about the women and girls section and have developed a great team ethos and culture that players, parents and volunteers are thriving to be a part of.

“They have all taken to it, like ducks to water and become a true rugby family”

Pictured; Rovers rugby family


Behind the Durham Northumberland Division One Senior Men’s Club are coaches Darren Smith, who also coaches the County U15 Girls representative side and Emily Hunter, Darlington Mowden Park Sharks Super League player.

Coach Darren Smith said: “Hartlepool Rovers are part of the RFU All Schools programme and we have coaches that attend sessions at schools which has helped us to gain momentum in gathering a girls section at the club.

“We also host girls schools festivals at the club to help with the transition from school rugby to club rugby.”

With all the support and backing of the women and girls section at the club, they were able to hit several milestones in their development, such as their girls section growing to 30 players playing contact rugby allowing them to field both an U13 and U15 team during the 2016/17 season.

But, of course that was not enough for the newly formed side as the U15s started their own tally sheet of success stories throughout the season. Achievements for the side included; seven players playing representative rugby for Durham County of which one player- Mia Simpson went on to play for North of England, making it to the Area 6 National Cup Semi-final after combining with Horden and Peterlee and coming runners up in Durham County sevens tournament.

Pictured: Rovers girls v Billingham Girls

Wallis commented on their success saying: “They have shown phenomenal progress since beginning their journey as a club.

“All the teams have grown significantly and they now have players joining them left, right and centre.”

Hartlepool Rovers girls are set for the 2017/18 season with players in each age category as girls move up into U18s.

So what else would be left to achieve for the South Durham side?

Darren Smith, Lead of Women and Girls at Rovers explained that the success of the junior teams sparked the idea to develop a ladies side.

He added: “We had a small group of girls turn up at the club on a training night and ask to get involved, so we held some touch rugby sessions with them.

“From there it continued to escalate and we soon became an RFU focus club for Women and Girls.

“We have been really impressed with the effort and commitment of our females and we want to mirror that commitment back to them and give them an environment they can develop into confident and competent rugby players.”

In January 2017 Rovers lit the flame to guide Women into the club in which was shortly followed by the launch of the RFU #InnerWarrior campaign to get more females into playing rugby.

By tagging on the back of the launch they were able to grow their start up figures of eight women to an impressive 40 women and girls at their first ever pitch up and play event.


InnerWarrior: Hartlepool Rovers second Inner warrior event


Smith explained that the Inner Warrior events were such a success as they advertised them across social media platforms, on the local radio, in the press and even went into the town centre to hand out leaflets.

He added: “All but two or three of our ladies are brand new to the game and they are all as keen as one another.”


The short five months between January and the end of the season in May have been busy ones for Rovers Ladies. They have successfully signed up 30 Women to their contact team, played their first ever two contact fixtures as a team against Windemere Women and Morpeth Ladies, had six players in the Durham County Ladies Development squad and been accepted into the Women’s Northern Conference North East Two League for the 2017/18 season.

As they look ahead to their prosperous 2017/18 season, Smith commented: “It has been successful but not without a lot of hard work and determination.

“Our next aim is to have a full under 18s team next season which will give us a full girls section.

“We will look to progress into the National Cup and continue to push our girls towards County and North of England representation.

“For our ladies this is very much a season of consolidation. Having just been accepted into the leagues we will look to fulfil all of our fixtures and keep developing as we are.

“As well, we aim to have two ladies team with a competitive first team and a development team.

“The development team will be an offer for those wanting more of a social game but also a place for new players to gain valuable game time without the pressures of league rugby.”

Throughout next season, Rovers will make a few close journeys as they take on Bishop Auckland, Novocastrians, Acklam and Morpeth.

Their first home fixture is on Sunday, October 8 2017 against Morpeth.

To find out more about the Women and Girls section, check out their website here

BY Clarissa Murphy

Sun, Sea and Touch Rugby for Girls across Durham County

Sun, Sea and Touch Rugby for Girls across Durham County


Durham clubs gathered at Seaburn beach for a morning of rugby fun in the sun for the Girls Touch Beach festival.

Pictured by Sally Evans: Durham Clubs gather at Seaburn Beach


The beach festival was a huge hit with Durham Clubs with seven clubs bringing eleven teams to enjoy some competitive rugby.

Teams came from; Alnwick, Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle, Houghton, Horden and Peterlee, Ryton and Sunderland.

Games ran very smoothly playing across two pitches in a round robin format supported by RFU professional staff.

Pictured by Sally Evans: Bishop in action against Ryton

Pictured by Sally Evans: Ryton in action against Barnard Castle









Matt Bradford, Community Rugby Coach for Mid Durham said: “There was some great rugby on show and the games were played in the right spirit.

“Players, parents and coaches seemed to enjoy the morning and it was even better that the sun made an appearance for us.”

Pictured By Sally Evans: Team photo of all the teams


After a few hours of running around, getting hot and many tries later the day was rounded off with a short presentation to reward the girls who had been nominated by coaches to receive an England Rugby goody bag for demonstrating rugby’s core values throughout.

Pictured by Sally Evans: Alnwick collecting core values prize

Pictured by Sally Evans: Sunderland Spark collecting core values prize


Bradford added: “It was a really good rugby family day with everyone having fun and getting along and the majority of players, coaches and spectators finished off their day with a dip in the sea to cool off.

“A great day all round!”

Pictured by Sally Evans: Houghton Girls enjoying a splash


The next girls summer touch festival will take place at Acklam Rugby Club on Sunday, July 30 from 2pm following cancelation of the Consett event set for this coming Sunday.

For more photos of the day by Sally Evans, see here

By Clarissa Murphy

Senior County Cup draws announced

Senior County Cup draws announced

Check out who your team are set to play in the County Cup here….


A Darlington Mowden Park     vs  Billingham
B West Hartlepool vs  Blaydon
Winner of A      vs  Winner of B


A South Shields Westoe   vs  Horden and Peterlee
B Hartlepool Rovers vs  Durham City
C Gateshead vs  Consett
D Barnard Castle  vs Stockton
Winner of A      vs  Winner of C
Winner of B vs  Winner of D
Final TBC


A Ryton   vs   Winlaton Vulcans
B Hartlepool vs   Bishop Auckland
C Newton Aycliffe vs   Sunderland
D Sedgefield  vs  Darlington
Winner of C          vs  Winner of D
Winner of A vs  Winner of B
Final TBC


 PLATE  – Preliminary Round ON OR BEFORE SATURDAY AUGUST 26, 2017
A Chester le Street   vs  Seaham
B Jarrovians vs  Yarm
1st Round – TBC
A TDSOB      vs  Chester le street/Seaham
B Hartlepool BBOB vs  Seaton Carew
C Yarm/Jarrovians vs Houghton
D South Shields vs Washington
Semi Finals – ON OR BEFORE SATURDAY MARCH 17, 2018
Winner of D vs Winner of A
Winner of B vs  Winner of C

County Girls: County Summer camp open days announced

County Girls: County Summer camp open days announced


Durham County Women and Girls committee are running two Summer camp open days for U15 and U18 players to attend.

The aim of the days is to get lots of girls from clubs across Durham County at the two different venues to showcase their talent and even learn something new.

By hosting open days before the season begins, coaches get a chance to work with a range of players and it means there is no limit on who can attend!

Last year, players from our County teams went on to North of England assessments, with some going on to play in the squad.


Team photo: Durham County U15s 2016/17 season


The Summer camps will be run by the upcoming seasons representative girls coaches.

Camp one -RYTON RFC – Sunday August, 20 at 1.30pm

Camp two – HARTLEPOOL ROVERS – Sunday September, 10 at 1.30pm

Durham County Schools Union: Our fourth and final news update of the academic year

Durham County Schools Union: Our fourth and final news update of the year


After a succesfull year of getting the Schools Union Committee reformed we would like to say a huge thank you to all those that supported, joined and interacted with the Durham County RFU Schools Union during 2016/2017.

We are a committee full of teachers and volunteers and would not be able to progress the way we have without you all.

Our final Schools’ update will tell you the latest news and need to know information for your schools rugby team.

Schools Union Update four


RFU Professional Staff are looking for you to join their All Schools Coaching team

RFU Professional Staff are looking for you to join their All Schools Coaching team


The Durham RFU Professional Staff are looking for keen, qualified and determined individuals to join their All Schools Coaching team.

As the All Schools Programme continues to brand out across Durham County, this year we will see new projects in Ryton and Darlington – which means we need more staff!

The All Schools Programme reaches out to schools across Durham to help coach and develop Rugby Union, it also connects schools with their local rugby club to enable transition of players to grow our game.

To find out more check out the job descriptions below and register your interest on or before MONDAY JULY, 10 2017!!


CBRE All Schools Coach advert 2017-18 (Ryton)


CBRE All Schools Coach advert 2017-18 (Darlington)

Durham Women head to North 7s Finals

Durham Women head to Northern 7s Finals

Durham County Women are through to the Northern 7s finals after securing runners up position at the RFU 24/7s Qualifiers.

On the last weekend in June, Billingham RFC welcomed a host of different clubs to compete in the RFU 24/7s qualifiers on their new artificial grass pitch.

In the men’s’ elite league, teams came from Consett, Billingham, Darlington Mowden Park and more with social men’s’ team also entering.

For the Ladies competition, Bishop Auckland reigned champions on the day beating Durham Ladies Baa Baas in the final and will also head to West Park Leeds RFC for the Northern finals.

24/7s Qualifiers: Ladies competiton winners, Bishop Auckland Ladies


The Durham Baa Baas side was made up of three players from Billingham RFC, one from Darlington Mowden Park and five from Sunderland Flames.

Heading to the finals in the burgundy jersey are: Clarissa Murphy (Sunderland Flames) Karen Donkin (Sunderland Flames), Rachel Frost (Sunderland Flames), Steph Maddison (Sunderland Flames), Emma Langton (Sunderland Flames), Kate Byrnes (Billingham Ladies) Courtney Hussain (Billingham Ladies) and Caitie Smith (Darlington Mowden Park).

24/7s Qualifiers: Durham Ladies Baa Baas Runners up


During the qualifiers, Durham Baa Baas came up against Acklam Ladies, newly formed Hartlepool Rovers and winners Bishop Auckland.

In the men’s’ elite qualifier, Billingham’s finest will make the journey south after beating Darlington Mowden Park in the final.

24/7s Qualifiers: Billingham RFC, winners of elite competition


The competition at West Park Leeds RFC is the second stage and offers teams a chance to compete against the other best seven’s sides in the North.

On the day, the winners and runners up in both the men’s’ and women’s’ competitions will progress to the National 24/7s final at The Rec in Bath on Saturday, July 24.

Registration starts at 10am with games follwoing at 11am on Saturday, July 15 at West Park Leeds RFC.

Durham County RFU wishes the best of luck to all Durham Clubs making the journey.

By Clarissa Murphy

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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