Durham Senior Men victorious over Leicestershire to win the league and claim their spot in Twickenham Final

Durham Senior Men victorious over Leicestershire to win the league and claim their spot in Twickenham Final

Durham County Senior Men secure their spot at the Home of Rugby, Twickenham Stadium following their win over Leicestershire.

The Durham Men welcomed Leicestershire to the RFU 365 artificial grass pitch at Billingham for an exciting and fast paced game of rugby, ending 32-10 to the hosts.

One minute silence: Durham and Leicestershire aligned for a minutes silence in memory of Thomas Howard and Tom Baty.

 

Captain Peter Evans opened the scoring with the first of many points from his boot with a penalty in front of the posts to lead 3-0 in the eighth minute.

Just a few tackles, line breaks and off loads later, Leicestershire evened the score with a penalty through their fly half, Ricky Alley.

Taking back their lead, Durham’s Chris Wood tallied the first unconverted try on the board as he crossed over in the left hand corner to lead 8-3.

Durham began to find their feet going forward and demonstrated some great attacking play as their offloaded before contact, putting the visitors on the back foot.

At fly half, Evans controlled the game well with his boot relieving any pressure put on them in their half.

In the forward pack, Durham carried the ball well to allow the attacking line to reset at each play, to play their expansive game.

Down the left wing Sean Moloney added the last score before the break with an unstoppable try, breaking free of the defensive line, Evans conversion added security to lead 15-3 at half time.

Returning to the field, Durham maintained their posture and stuck at the task at hand as Conner Foley intercepted the visitors attack to run in under the posts for an easy converted try for Evans.

The visitors remained in the game despite the 22-3 deficit, forcing the Durham Men to be clinical in their defence to withstand their powerful forwards.

Durham’s final try was scored by Daniel Dixon with another bursting attack, finishing under the posts for Evans boot to add a further two points.

Leicestershire’s persistence and evident strengths finally made their mark on the board with a score from second row Chris Arnold, converted by Alley to trail 29-10.

Just moments before the final whistle, Captain Evans sailed his fifth and final ball between the posts with a penalty to see in a 32-10 victory.

Gus Miller, Durham County Senior Men Manager, said: “It was a hard fought game, as all three have been.

“But, it was a great game to conclude the championship, win the league and secure our spot at Head Quarters, with.

“Leicestershire were strong up front, with a tough pack but we stuck at the task and remained within our game plan to claim the victory.”

Durham Senior Men will hold their final training session on Thursday evening at Billingham RUFC ahead of Sunday’s match.

Miller added: “The players have come through the set up at all levels and their hard work has paid off.

“We would like to thank all the players, clubs and volunteers within the County that have contributed along the way.

“We would love as many supporters to come along and share this rare opportunity with us and see us step out at Twickenham Stadium.”

Durham Senior Men will play Warwickshire in the Division Two Final at Twickenham on Sunday May, 27 at 5.15pm.

The game will be broadcast live HERE, and if you are interested in tickets, please contact John Dove.

 

By Clarissa Murphy

Durham club representatives play their part in England Counties U20s victory over Georgia

Durham club representatives play their part in England Counties U20s victory over Georgia

 

Two players from Durham County Clubs made their debutant performances for England Counties U20s against Georgia on Saturday.

England Counties reigned victorious in the last play of the game, winning 24-17.

George Fitz Harding of Durham University started at open side flanker and Tom Briggs of Billingham RUFC stepped out on the wing.

The two players alongside Ryan Foreman, started for the North of England against the Midlands last Sunday, where they won 22-21.

Over 3,000 players in the U20s category applied to be part of the England Counties U20 tour and the management team oversaw a rigorous selection process to select their touring squad of 26.

See the full team that took to the field here 

Durham Senior Men announce squad for final pool fixture against Leicestershire Rugby

Durham Senior Men announce squad for final pool fixture against Leicestershire Rugby

 

Durham County Senior Men host Leicestershire Men in the final fixture of the pool stages in the Bill Beaumont Championship, this Saturday.

Durham Men will welcome the side to Billingham RUFC to see who will progress to the final at Twickenham Stadium.

Last week saw the hosts triumphant over Staffordshire at Durham City in a 99-7 display of attacking rugby.

Gus Miller, Durham County Men’s Coach commented on the game saying: “Staffordshire never gave up, but with lots of tries it was a great game for spectators to watch.

“It was a great second game for us to gather momentum heading into the last game.”

Durham currently sit top of the Division Two, Pool One table in the Bill Beaumont Championship with only one game and 67 points scored between them.

Miller added: “We are looking forward to our next challenge against Leicestershire. Last year they beat us at their place and Saturday will be our chance to reciprocate the favour to them.

“As coaching staff we could not be more delighted with the players’ attitude and commitment to the team, this year.”

The Durham County Squad will align on the 22 in front of the club house before kick off to host a one minute in silence in memory of Thomas Howard and Tom Baty, that sadly passed away this week

The team to take the field are;

Michael Hughes (Barnard Castle), Chris Wood (Darlington Mowden Park), Ralph Appleby (Darlington Mowden Park), Chris Wearmouth (Barnard Castle), Talite Vaioleti (Darlington Mowden Park), Ollie Hodgson (Darlington Mowden Park), Danny Burns (Billingham), Danny Dixon (Billingham), Conner Foley (Middlesbrough), Peter Evans (Capt, Billingham), Sean Moloney (Middlesbrough), Peter Youll (West Hartlepool), Jack McPhillips (Middlesbrough), Martin Hopley (Billingham), Grant Connon (Darlington Mowden Park), Kieran Clarke (Middlesbrough), Charlie Purkiss McEndoo (Harrogate), Andrew Kirton (South Sheilds Westoe), Rob Stanwix (Barnard Castle), Euan Tremlett (Middlesbrough), Peter Homan (Middlesbrough), Max Connon (Carlisle), Dan Finney (Billingham), Liam Checksfield (West Hartlepool).

The game will kick off at 2.30pm at Billingham RUFC, Greenwood Road, TS23 4BA.

Tributes and support flood in following the devastating news of Durham City Players’ deaths

Tributes and support flood in following the devastating news of Durham City Players’ deaths

Durham County Rugby Football Union and neighbouring clubs show their support to Durham City following the death of two of their players on Tour in Sri Lanka.

It was with great sadness that the Durham County rugby community and the nation learnt of the death of Thomas Howard, 25 and Tom Baty, 26 this week, while they were away on tour with Clem’s Pirates.

The two players were admitted to hospital on May, 13 following complaints of non-rugby related breathing difficulties.

The death of Thomas Howard swept the nation on the morning of Monday May, 14 following his admission to the hospital in Colombo and it was with great sadness, that the club announced the death of Tom Baty on the afternoon of Tuesday May, 14.

Howard and Baty were away in Sri Lanka with the Clem’s Pirates to part take in some charity work and rugby kit donations in Galle.

Since the death of the two players, Durham City have announced that out of a mark of respect, the planned charity work will go ahead.

An article from Durham City, stated: “The charity work and kit donation will involve providing eight school teams with much needed boots, gum shields and shirts.

“The work in Galle will continue the international charity work began by Clem’s Pirates in South Africa in 2004.

“In addition to kit purchased for donations by the Clem’s Pirates team, donations were received from across the North East of England by both amateur and professional sporting clubs.

“The deceased players were at the forefront of efforts to ensure the global rugby family supports its own wherever and whenever possible.”

Upon the announcement of the saddening news, Durham clubs and clubs, volunteers and players across the Country began to share their condolences and support with Durham City across social media.

Here are just some of the messages that came flooding in;

 

Durham County Rugby Football Union continues to support Durham City and its members during this difficult time, and we extend our condolences to the Baty and Howard families’.

The Club requests that the families’ right to privacy is respected and upheld at this most difficult time.

By Clarissa Murphy

Durham Senior Men triumphant over visitors Staffordshire in the Bill Beaumont Championship

Durham Senior Men triumphant over visitors Staffordshire in the Bill Beaumont Championship

Durham County Men performed in front of a home crowd to secure a 99-7 victory over Staffordshire Men at Durham City Rugby Club.

Durham ran in winners in their first home fixture of the Bill Beaumont Championship, on Saturday.

Despite a resilient visiting side, Durham proved dominant in attack to tally a number of tries across the afternoon.

The hosts made an eager start, almost scoring through Chris Wood on the first attack, but a tackle from Staffordshire caught the side short of the try line.  The reprieve was not to last for long and with just three minutes on the clock Wood crossed the line for a try converted by Warren Seals.

From that point on, it was a lot of one way traffic and by the 18th minute, Durham had scored 33 unanswered points thanks to a hat trick of tries from full back Grant Connon and one from captain Ollie Hodgson each of which were converted by Seals.

The hosts kept up the tempo and by half time they had tallied a further four tries through Conner Foley (2), Euan Tremlett and a second for the skipper. Seals success from the boot continued with three out of four conversions to lead 50-0 at the break.

Try time: Euan Tremlett crossing the try line against Staffordshire

 

The opening score of the second period came after just four minutes in, to total a third for Hodgson with Seals once again on target with the conversion.

Despite the best efforts of the visitors, they were unable to contain the rampant home side. On the 50th minute, Callum Burke joined the score board with an unconverted try. Following in his footsteps, the Durham attack triggered an array of points with two converted tries from Peter Homan and Talite Vaioleti.
Vaioleti added another to the score board as he barged over in the 68th minute with Seals continuing his clinical performance to slot the ball between the posts.

Staffordshire demonstrated their resilience in the 70th minute as they joined the scores sheet as Tom Windibank intercepted a pass before setting off the length of the field and crossing over, converted by Lee Brogan.

The visitors attack remained short lived as Durham proceeded to add points to the board through Homan and Peter Youll with four points from the boot of Seal to close the game 99-7.

Gus Miller, Durham County Men’s Coach commented on the game saying: “Staffordshire never gave up, but with lots of tries it was a great game for spectators to watch.

“For us it was a great opportunity to utilise our whole bench and give everyone a run out.

“It was a great second game for us to gather momentum heading into the last game.”

Following their triumphant win at the weekend, Durham currently sit top of the Division Two Pool One table with ‘points for’ separating them, and Leicestershire.

Miller added: “New players have come into the squad and fitted in really well.

“We have had around 26 players training and everyone is very enthusiastic about the championship and the feeling in camp is good.

“It is all part of the building process which is going really well.

“We are looking forward to our next challenge against Leicestershire. Last year they beat us at their place and Saturday will be our chance to reciprocate the favour to them.

“As coaching staff we could not be more delighted with the players’ attitude and commitment to the team, this year.”

Off the field, Durham awarded five of their players with County Championship caps including; Liam Checksfield, Peter Youll, Chris Wood, Andrew Kirkton and Charlie Purkiss-Mcendoo with Callum Whitehead and Peter Homan picking up their debutant ties.

Durham Senior Men that collected their County Caps

 

The week previous saw ties awarded at the Cumbria game to players; Jack  McPhillips, Sean Moloney, Michael Hughes, Rob Stanwix, Euan Tremlett and Luke Wilson.

Durham will host their second host fixture, this Saturday to determine the side to go on to play in the final at the home of rugby, Twickenham Stadium.

The game against Leicestershire will take place at Billingham Rugby Club, on Saturday May 19 from 2.30PM.

 

By Clarissa Murphy

Durham County Women finish in second place in Championships after victory away to North Midlands Ladies

Durham County Women finish in second place in Championships after victory away to North Midlands Ladies

 

Durham County Ladies concluded their Gill Burns County Championship campaign in second place after a 21-15 victory away to North Midlands.

Durham Ladies recorded their highest ever league positioning after the well fought victory away at University of Birmingham.

Team Photo: Durham Ladies V North Midlands 2017/18

 

The visiting Ladies opened the scoring up with a try from Claudia Macdonald after a line break from Tara Breslin fell short of the try line, seeing Macdonald speed through for the offload and under the posts for a converted try by Breslin to lead 7-0.

Durham’s attack seemed to ruffle the hosts feathers as they responded in the 22 with a fierce attack, and camped in the visitors half for the next ten minutes of the game.

But Durham’s determined defence left little room for them to optimise on, with great tackles from Lauren Rigby, Emily Hunter and Mackenzie Thomas.

Tackle: Claudia Macdonald of Darlington Mowden Park shutting down attack

 

After a couple of close calls, Durham finally moved play to the middle of the pitch to relieve the pressure, however the hosts used quick ball to exploit the overlap out wide and score in the corner, despite great covering tackles from Ursula Hardy and Macdonald to cut the deficit to 7-5.

Returning to the half way line, play resumed as the ball fell into Alex Webster’s hands and the Durham pack secured the ball to begin phase play in attack.

The visitors attack worked the hosts on to the back foot with great leadership from Macdonald and well executed quick pod work within the forwards allowing them to gain momentum going forward.

But, the hosts were not shy at creating a challenge for the North East Players as they were very reactive at the break down to steal the ball.

Durham minimised the attack opportunities the side created with line speed and pressure in defence from Amber Stonehouse, Nicole Irving and Steph Maddison.

The leaders second try of the day came from Macdonald once more as her quick thinking put her through gaps in the defence to score under the posts, converted by Kirsty Paterson to lead 14-5.

Line Break: Mackenzie Thomas puts Durham on attack

After the half time break, play began to slow as the heat caught up with both sides and the ball swopped and changed between sides.

The majority of the game remained in the centre of the field with Durham looking promising at times with breaks from Paterson, Thomas and Hardy.

Once again it was the visitors optimising the disjointed defence as they played quick in attack with Clarissa Murphy setting Paterson away into the 22, before offloading to Ellie Pigford who was halted five metres out, leaving supporting player Murphy to come in and score next to the posts, converted by Paterson.

In the last play of the game Durham set for a scrum just inside their own half, attempting to run it up field Jess Cheesman took the ball to floor and an attempt at kicking for touch bounced back off a player to fall back into the hosts possession.

Despite a tough defensive structure from Durham, the hosts concluded the game with a final unconverted try to trail 21-15 on the whistle.

David Addison commented: “Durham have proved themselves and shown that they have numerous talented rugby players, that have easily made up the strongest county squad we have ever had.

“The hard work and dedication to this Championships has given us everything a group of coaches need from a player.

“For me the key thing in rugby is how you pull together when the odds are down and you are under pressure and our discipline, especially yesterday, has been outstanding.”

Off the field Durham County awarded a further six county caps to players yesterday, including; Amber Stonehouse, Claudia Macdonald, Kirsty Paterson, Nicole Irving, Rachelle Cooley and Sarah Hall, with Tammy Theaker being awarded the Percy Trophy for her attitude and commitment towards the team.

Pictured: Tammy Theaker receiving Percy Award

 

Durham County finished second in the Gill Burns County Championship Pool One table with nine points, behind current Champions, Lancashire Ladies.

By Clarissa Murphy

Durham County Senior Men announce squad to host Staffordshire

Durham County Senior Men announce squad to host Staffordshire

Durham Senior Men welcome Staffordshire in the first home fixture of the Bill Beaumont Championship.

This Saturday, the Durham lads welcome the visitors to Durham City Rugby Club for their second fixture of the campaign.

Last week saw Durham pick up a comfortable 64-5 away victory against Cumbria.

The game saw Durham pick up points through; Conner Foley, Jack McPhilips, Liam Checksfield, Martin Hopley, Max Connon (2), Ollie Hodgson, Sean Moloney (2) and Tom Larder with conversions from Dan Finney (4), Max Connon (2) and Peter Evans.

Team photo 2017/18: Durham v Cumbria

 

Looking ahead to Saturday, Gus Miller, Durham Senior Men’s Coach, said: “Staffordshire are a strong team up front, so we will be preparing for that in training.

“Last week we were so successful because of the game we played, we were able to play expansive rugby and it produced results.

“This week we have a few more experienced players available from DMP and Billingham, so we are confident in a producing another strong performance.”

The players to take on Staffordshire are as follows;

Grant CONNON Darlington Mowden Park
Liam CHECKSFIELD West Hartlepool
Jack McPHILLIPS Middlesbrough
Peter YOULL West Hartlepool
Sean MOLONEY Middlesbrough
Warren SEALS Darlington Mowden Park
Conner FOLEY Middlesbrough
Michael HUGHES Barnard Castle
Chris WOOD Darlington Mowden Park
Ignas DARKINTIS Darlington Mowden Park
Andrew KIRTON South Shields Westoe
Talite VAIOLETI Darlington Mowden Park
Callum WHITEHEAD Hartlepool Rovers
Euan TREMLETT Middlesbrough
Ollie HODGSON Darlington Mowden Park
Replacements  
Charlie PURKISS-McENDOO Harrogate
Tom LARDER Harrogate
Callum BURKE Darlington Mowden Park
Tom JOHNSON Hartlepool
Kieran CLARK Middlesbrough
Max CONNON Carlisle
Peter HOMAN Middlesbrough

Miller added: “This week’s game is the next hurdle in our bigger challenge of reaching the final at Twickenham.”

Durham’s final fixture will see them host Leicestershire at Billingham RUFC on Saturday May, 19 from 2.30pm.

The hosts will kick off at 2.30pm at Durham City RFC, Hollow Drift, DH1 3JU.

Preview: Durham Ladies announce squad in preparation for last fixture of pool stages away to North Midlands

Preview: Durham Ladies announce squad in preparation for last fixture of pool stages away to North Midlands

 

Durham County take on North Midlands away in the last fixture of the Gill Burns Championship pool stages, this Sunday.

The Durham Ladies will travel to Birmingham on Saturday afternoon in preparation for the game on Sunday.

Last week saw the ladies pick up a 29-7 victory away to East Midlands in the sunshine at Peterborough RUFC.

Chris Geehan, Durham County Backs Coach said: “I think last week’s performance really spurred us on as a team and the performance was exceptional.

“We need to take that same intensity and tenacity in to this week’s game.

“It shall be our intention to take each moment as it comes and embrace them and the result will follow.”

Durham had their last training session of the season, last night at Hartlepool Rugby Club where they worked on defensive structure with coaches Chris Jones and Dave Addison.

Steph Maddison, Durham County Ladies Captain, said: “We have been working on our defence and line speed, as it was not fantastic, but now looks really strong after training.

“The team are feeling really positive going into this weeks game after our win and performance last week.

“Personally, I am really looking forward to stepping onto the pitch with everyone for the final of the pool games.

“It has been a fantastic campaign, and we have really come together as a team.”

North Midlands are in a similar position to Durham, as both sides have defeated East Midlands and lost to current champions, Lancashire.

Captain Maddison added: “We are hoping to finish with a win and another rendition of Proud Mary!”

This game will determine the second place finisher in the Gill Burns Championship Pool one, with Lancashire set to finish top and progress from the group, providing they beat East Midlands this weekend.

Geehan added: “For us, we want the team to go out and enjoy their final game of the season and have some fun.”

Throughout the 2017/2018 campaign, Durham have welcomed debutants to the squad, as well as capping three players so far for five championship appearances, with more set to receive their caps this weekend.

It has been a progressive and talented year for the side, with players making appearances from each Women’s club in the County, including; Acklam, Bishop Auckland, Darlington, DMP, Hartlepool Rovers and Sunderland Flames.

Geehan added: “Selection has been tough this year and the standards the ladies have set themselves and the improvements they have made, have given us a headache in a good way.

“At the start of the season we aimed to better our achievements from last season, and I believe we have.

“We are a better team, although we still have areas to work.

“But in the short space of time we have had and disruptions we have faced, we have become a really strong unit.”

“So as far as for our goals, as Proud Mary said ‘we keep on rolling’.”

The players to make the final trip, are as follows: Emily Hunter (DMP), Alex Webster (DMP), Lauren Rigby (DMP), Jess Cheesman (VC – Darlington), Nicole Irving (Sunderland Flames), Ellie Pigford (Hartlepool Rovers), Olivia Davison (Sunderland Flames), Amber Stonehouse (Sunderland Flames), Claudia Macdonald (DMP), Steph Maddison (C- Sunderland Flames), Rachelle Colley (Bishop Auckland), Tara Breslin (Sunderland Flames), Kirsty Paterson (Sunderland Flames), Ursula Hardy (Darlington), Mackenzie Thomas (DMP), Chelsea Burger (Hartlepool Rovers), Julie Noble (Sunderland Flames), Rachael Knight (Sunderland Flames), Sarah Hall (Darlington), Clarissa Murphy (Sunderland Flames), Tammy Theaker (Darlington), Treen Hardy (Sunderland Flames).

Durham will take on North Midlands Ladies at the University of Birmingham on Sunday May, 13 kicking off at 2pm.

By Clarissa Murphy

Durham Ladies secure first victory of Championship campaign over East Midlands RFU

Durham Ladies secure first victory of Championship campaign over East Midlands RFU

 

Durham Ladies secure a 29-7 victory away to East Midlands RFU in the second round of the Gill Burns Championship fixtures.

2017/18: Team Photo against East Midlands at Peterborough RFC

Durham travelled to Peterborough Rugby Club on Saturday to take on East Midlands Ladies.

The game kicked off to an early scoring start for the visitors as a dummy off the back of a ruck by Claudia Macdonald set her away from the half line with pace behind her to cross under the posts, converted by Kirsty Paterson to lead 7-0.

Durham spent the majority of their visiting eighty minutes set up inside the East Midlands half.

Despite a number of penalties in the hosts favour, the Durham Ladies remained reactive and physical to limit the oppositions chances at attack.

Macdonald proved an asset to the side as she dominated the forwards from scrum half to control play and cross the line a twice more throughout the game.

Chris Jones, Durham Ladies Coach, said: “Today was a win for players as individuals and as a team.

“There is still plenty of room for improvement, and we are by no means a finished article but today we showed that we are capable of good things.”

Although the visitors missed out on a handful of scoring opportunities the victory was a comfortable and positive result.

Dave Addison, Durham Ladies Coach commented on the game from footage, saying: “We demonstrated a very physical game, showing how powerful we are as a team.

“Our tackling was very good and the hosts could not handle that.

“We scored five very good tries, moved the ball into space, set up good running lines off scrum half and fly half and executed our set piece.”

Other scores during the game came from forward of the match, Lauren Rigby, a try out wide from back of the match, Ursula Hardy and two more points from Paterson’s boot.

This week’s game saw another four debutants take to the field and receive their Durham County pin badge, including; Rachael Knight, MacKenzie Thomas, Danielle Coulton, Chelsea Burger and a further two County Caps handed out to Alex Webster and Clarissa Murphy for five Championship appearances.

Pictured: Clarissa Murphy (Sunderland) and Alex Webster (DMP) with Manager Paul Geehan. 

The Ladies go on to their final game of the pool stages with an away trip to North Midlands RFU on Sunday at the University of Birmingham, kicking off at 2pm.

Durham Senior Men open campaign with heavy victory over Cumbria at Wigton Rugby Club

Durham Senior Men open campaign with heavy victory over Cumbria at Wigton Rugby Club


Durham Senior Men kick started their Bill Beaumont campaign with a comfortable 64-5 victory over Cumbria at Wigton Rugby Clu
b.

 

2017/18: Durham Senior Men Team Photo against Cumbria

 

Durham Men were in action on Saturday against Cumbria in their opening fixture of their 2017/18 campaign.

Despite an absence of some familiar and experienced players in the squad, the side made a comfortable and strong start.

Gus Miller, Durham Senior Men Coach said: “It was a good team performance from Durham.

“We had a few new and first time players in the squad but the team gelled well in training on Thursday and that was demonstrated in the game.

“Cumbria had strength in experience with a number of players from previous seasons, but we were too strong for them on the day.”

On the day, tries came from; Conner Foley, Jack McPhilips, Liam Checksfield, Martin Hopley, Max Connon (2), Ollie Hodgson, Sean Moloney (2) and Tom Larder with conversions from Dan Finney (4), Max Connon (2) and Peter Evans.

Miller added: “It was a comfortable win for Durham because of the way we played, we played a wide and expansive game and it created results.

“Staffordshire is our next challenge, and they are strong up front so we will be preparing for that in training this week.

“We have a few more experienced players available this week from DMP and Billingham, so we are confident in a producing another strong side.

“This weeks game is the next hurdle in our bigger challenge of reaching the final at Twickenham.”

Durham played Staffordshire last season away, winning 41-14. The side will host them on Saturday at Durham City RFC from 2.30pm.

 

By Clarissa Murphy 

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