Durham County Sevens Winners receive silverware and a ticket through to National Final

Durham County Sevens Winners receive silverware and a ticket through to National Final

Billingham Men and Sunderland Ladies represented Durham County in the Regional RFU Sevens competition at West Park Leeds RFC.

After topping their groups and winning their finals at the Durham County 7s tournament at Billingham, the hosts Men and Sunderland Ladies were invited down to the regional competition.


In the Ladies competition there were a number of drop outs leaving the Flames to play Preston Grasshoppers, Harrogate Ladies and West Park Leeds in a round robin event.

Across on the other pitch, the Billingham Men took to the field against Mighty Peth, Northern Assassins, Ilkley and International Gents.

Both the Billingham Men and the Sunderland Ladies came away winners on the day.
The ladies won the Regional Plate final 34-14 against Preston Grasshoppers, while Billingham Men won two out of three pool games to face International Gents in the cup Final. Despite a 29-17 defeat to International Gents, as Cup runners up, Billingham will travel to the England Rugby 24/7 National Final at Bath at the end of the month.

Billingham Men pick up runners up prize in Cup Final


Scorers across the day came from a number of players within the Flames including; Becky Robson, Clarissa Murphy, Jenny Cox, Karen Donkin, Kirsty Paterson, Olivia Davison and Steph Maddison, while all of the Billingham Men players picked up a try too.

Peter Evans, Billingham Men’s Coach, said: “Everyone scored on the day, but a special mention goes out the youngsters, 18 year old Alfie Lawson and 17 year old Joe Ross.

“They both stood up well on the senior stage and performed for the benefit of the team.”

In the Ladies competition, last year’s champions West Park Leeds went on to win the cup final against Harrogate.

Evans added; “It is a fantastic achievement for a young bunch.

“We played against regular 7s squads who are put together from far and wide, with much more experience in the shorter game than us.

In our cup final we were down to nine men, due to injuries and anyone who has played 7s will know it is a squad game and it was hard work out in the heat.

“Fortunately as we all play regularly together and have a tight squad we managed to get up to speed quickly and turn things around.

“The trip will give some of the lads who have not played on a bigger stage the experience and exposure which will benefit them in the long run.”

The National Final will be played via an online stream, with a total of eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams competing to be named the best amateur Sevens side in the Country.

Durham County RFU would like to wish the best of luck to Billingham in the final event.

View the pictures from the Durham County Sevens qualifier by Sally Evans, here. 

By Clarissa Murphy

New England Rugby XRUGBY7S format hailed an exciting success at Durham All Schools Festival

New England Rugby XRUGBY7S format hailed an exciting success at Durham All Schools Festival

Over one hundred boys and girls took part in the Rugby Football Union All Schools XRugby Seven’s Competition in front of England Rugby guests.

The girls and boys team were invited along to Billingham RUFC for an All Schools Festival with England Rugby guests, Steve Brown, Chief Executive Officer and Steve Grainger, Rugby Development Director watching from the side lines.

The day welcomed eight boys teams and four girls teams to the RFU artificial grass pitch to enjoy sunshine and an afternoon of trying a new format of the game, XRugby 7s.

Team Photo: South Durham All Schools at the XRugby7s festival


Organiser Phil Wallis, South Durham RFU Community Rugby Coach explained that the purpose of the day was to celebrate the end of three years as part of the All Schools Programme for the Hartlepool based schools and trial the new format of the game.

He added: “It shows the progress those schools have made and gives the teachers, players and parents an opportunity to celebrate their hard work with a festival and an end result.

“We also invited along schools that will enter their first and second year of the programme in September to show the potential it holds for the schools that are a part of it.”

Manor Academy, Dyke House, St Hild’s and High Tunstall were those among the seven teams celebrating the end of three years, with Ian Ramsey concluding their first year and St Michaels experiencing a taste of what is to come as they look ahead to their entry year in September.

On the day we caught up with Mr Howe, Ian Ramsey’s Rugby Teacher, on what he thought about the new format of the game.

He said: “The XRugby7s version of the game is exciting, it is quite a fluent game and there is obviously a lot of opportunities to move the ball. There is not a lot of set piece and it gets the ball in play a lot which the kids enjoy.

“We are seeing lots of open running and decent tries here today.

“The whole idea of the scoring zones gives the kids more excitement and they are all encouraging each other into the zones.”

You can check out the full interview on our Facebook page.

Across the afternoon parents, teachers, Steve Brown and Steve Grainger enjoyed watching lots of talent, off loads and tries throughout all the games.

Brown and Grainger commented on the female games saying that “they were very impressed with the standard of rugby being played”.

England Rugby guests: CEO Steve Brown, Rugby Development Director, Steve Grainger and Teesside and Yorkshire RDO, Alec Porter


Between the 34 girls and 77 boys, there were over one thousand points scored and 336 minutes played.

Wallis added: “Events like this show the players their success and achievements and it exposes them to a new format of the game that they might not have seen before.

“XRugby7s invites them to try something new, be creative and develop different skills from the traditional XV aside game.

“It was great to see so many boys and girls at the same event enjoying the day and being able to interact with others schools.”

By Clarissa Murphy

Over eighty volunteers recognised by Mitsubishi Motors England Rugby programme in Durham County

Over eighty volunteers recognised by Mitsubishi Motors England Rugby programme in Durham County

Mitsubishi Motors has recognised over eighty Durham rugby volunteers in the 2018 volunteer of the year awards.

Vic Young: Durham Volunteers with their awards and guest Katy Daley-Mclean 


Durham County volunteers were invited to two evenings, one for the South of Durham volunteers at Tees Valley and one for the Mid and North volunteers at South Shields Vic Young dealership.

The Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Awards is a programme created alongside England Rugby to recognise and reward volunteers of the grassroots game all over the country for the time they give back to the game.

During the events, volunteers are recognised with a certificate and a Mitsubishi Motors England Rugby Volunteers fleece presented to them. As well, as part of the Durham County RFU Volunteers scheme attendees were also presented with a 25 pound voucher for the England Rugby Store.

At the Vic Young dealership, volunteers had the company of England International and South Shields born, Katy Daley-Mclean to present awards and pose for pictures with.

At each event across the country, a Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year is named and presented with a glass plaque and a bottle of champagne along with an invitation to the Volunteer of the Year awards at Twickenham.

On behalf of Durham County, Graham Newton of Stockton Rugby Club was named Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year at Tees Valley described as: “The principle person behind a move of the rugby club to a new shared partnership with Stockton Cricket Club and Grangefield Academy, the club now has funds to improve facilities and has turned into a community club.”

Volunteer of the Year Graham Newton


At Vic Young, Graeme Holloway of Horden and Peterlee Rugby Club was presented the Volunteer of the Year award due to his work with the Girl section at the club. His nominator said: “Graeme has made immeasurable contributions towards girls rugby in Horden bringing the team from six to 44 due to his determination, enthusiasm, encouragement and support.

“He has had a massive impact in pulling in new recruits and driving the game forward at the club.”

Volunteer of the Year Graeme Holloway collecting award from Katy Daley-Mclean


Across the county, a massive 23 clubs were represented with volunteers receiving recognition for their hard work.

A huge thank you and congratulations goes out to all of the 2018 nominated volunteers from Durham County, for their continued support, including; Adam Pace, Alison Coldwell, Andrew Bell, Andy Flisher, Andy Wilson, Anita Wilson, Barbara Smith, Bill Coatsworth, Billy Lithgo, Bob Newsome, Brian Abbey, Carmel Hurray, Carol Candlish, Caroline McHale, Ciaran Horgan, Charles Thoburn, Clarissa Murphy, Craig Alderson, Dave Bottoms, Dave King, Dave McLeod, Dan Harrison, David Donaldson, David Hill, Elaine Barrett, Emily Hunter, Francesca Harding, Gary Farman, Gary McKay, Gary Routledge, Glyn Hewitt, Graeme Holloway, Graham Newton, Grant Borrill, Ian Kitching, James Houghton, James Sant, Jan Duncan, Jason Barrett, Jim Huxley, John Davidson, John Howe, Kate McHatton, Keith Higgins, Kenny Braham, Liam Lester, Lisa Ingham, Lucy Summerside, Lynne Murphy, Marc Watchman-Atkinson, Mark Handy, Michael Birch, Michael Geritz, Michael Murphy, Michelle Martin, Michael Wilkinson, Natalie Wintersgill, Neil Rochester, Nigel Aucott, Oliver Clewes, Paul Davis, Paul Evans, Paul Geehan, Paul Vinnicombe, Phil Lax, Phil Robson, Richard Lydiatt, Richie Johnson, Richard Wilkinson, Sally Evans, Sarah Grainger, Sarah Sowerby, Simon Ayre, Stewart Hind, Stewart Webster, Terri Miller, Terry Robinson, Tony Hodgson, Tony Irwin, Tony Mills, Traci Jewitt and William Etchells.


By Clarissa Murphy

Durham Men triumphant at Twickenham to take Bill Beaumont Division Two Championship title

Durham Men triumphant at Twickenham to take Bill Beaumont Division Two Championship title 

Durham County Senior Men claim the Bill Beaumont Division Two Championship title in a 46-12 victory over Warwickshire at Twickenham.

CHAMPIONS: Durham Senior Men lifting the Bill Beaumont Division Two plate at Twickenham


The Durham lads kicked off the game heading into the opponents half with the first of many strong carries from Danny Dixon.

Showing their abilities early, Euan Tremlett and Sean Moloney wormed their way through the Warwickshire defence with speed and agility putting the Warwickshire side on the back foot.

Despite a failed sixth minute attempt for the posts, Josh Bragman boot kick started the scoring with a 3-0 lead in the thirteenth minute.

Warwickshire’s first sight of the Durham’s half came in the 20th minute with a kick for touch seeing Durham steal the first of several defensive line out ball through Dixon and Tom Larder.

The first promising break for the posts came through Durham’s Ralph Appleby, but lost in the offload, Warwickshire were on the attack.

The leaders second appearance on the board followed another break through the defence, coming from Martin Foley, stopped short of the line it was down to Bragman to add a penalty to lead 6-0.

A change from the bench saw Peter Homan making instant impact as he sent Jack McPhillips over, but with the try disallowed the Durham side set up again in the 22 with a carry from Callum Whitehead creating the platform for wide attack. Conner Foley set the back line away with Dixon out wide to make the last carry over the line for a converted try by Bragman to conclude the first half scores at 13-0.

Returning the field, the North East guests were straight back on the board with a driving maul leading the way for Dixon to cross over for a converted try by Bragman.

As momentum continued to build, Durham played their fast paced attacking game with Hopley, McPhillips and Luke Wilson expanding out wide, as play jolted at the 22, it quickly switched wings with Moloney crossing over in the left corner to extend the lead to 27-0 through Bragman’s boot.

Durham’s dominating lead fired the opposition away in the 56th minute as they retaliated with pressure in the 22 resulting in one unconverted try and a converted try to trail 27-12 as Appleby took to the sin bin.

Remaining focused with the prize at stake, Durham’s Rob Stanwix, Larder and Kieran Clark put strong tackles in to end any Warwickshire chances of attack.

The dominating Durham side continued to play the quick, fiery game that had proved dividend throughout to secure a further two converted tries through Moloney and Stanwix before the side were forced into phase ball on the ten metre line setting Taliete Vaioleti up for the final try of the game, converted once more by Bragman to conclude champions with a 46-12 reign over Warwickshire.

2017/2018: Durham Senior Men and staff outside the Spirit of Rugby, Twickenham


Chris Wearmouth, Durham Senior Men Captain said: “We are over the moon as a team, it is a great achievement for us and a fantastic occasion.

“To play at Twickenham is the pinnacle of county rugby, and we thank the RFU for that opportunity.

“We had a great squad out today and they have all brought into the Championship which has made the win possible.

“Personally, I played here three years ago and we lost so to come here today and right the wrong is something we will never forget.”

Pictured: Coach Andrew Bagget with Manager Gus Miller with Championship Plate, and Coach Wearmouth with team photo presented by the RFU

In addition to picking up the Championship title, Max Connon and Conner Foley were both awarded their County caps for five Championship appearance.

A video of the trip to Twickenham will follow in the coming weeks, so keep a look out!

By Clarissa Murphy

Preview: Durham Men prepare for Bill Beaumont Division Two final at Twickenham

Preview: Durham Men prepare for Bill Beaumont Division Two final at Twickenham


Durham County Senior Men announce the squad to face Warwickshire in the Bill Beaumont Division Two final at Twickenham.

Following three graceful and hard fought victories, the Durham Men have earned their spot at the home of rugby, on Sunday.

The side topped the table in pool one with fourteen points after a 64-5 victory over Cumbria, a triumphant 99-7 reign over Staffordshire and a hard fought 32-10 win over Leicestershire.

Throughout the Championship, players have made appearances from across the County including; Barnard Castle, Billingham, Darlington Mowden Park, Hartlepool, Hartlepool Rovers, South Shields Westoe and West Hartlepool.

2017/18 squad: team photo against Cumbria


Gus Miller, Durham County Men’s Coach said: “We have had three tough games, but we have gone out and stuck to our game plan and the results have followed.

“The Leicestershire game was a great end to the pool fixtures, it was hard fought and a great note to end on heading into Twickenham.”

Durham’s finalists opponents for Sunday completed their Championship in pool two with three victories over; Hampshire, Somerset and the North Midlands.

The team to take the field at Twickenham is;
1. Michael Hughes (Barnard Castle)
2. Tom Larder (Harrogate)
3. Ralph Appleby (DMP)
4. Chris Wearmouth – Capt (Barnard Castle)
5. Talite Vaioleti (DMP)
6. Callum Whitehead (Hartlepool Rovers)
7.  Euan Tremlett (Middlesbrough)
8. Danny Dixon (Billingham)
9. Connor Foley (Middlesbrough)
10. Josh Bragman (DMP)
11. Sean Moloney (Middlesbrough)
12. Peter Youll (West Hartlepool)
13. Jack McPhillips (Middlesbrough)
14. Martin Hopley (Billingham)
15. Max Connon (Carlisle)

16. Kieran Clarke (Middlesbrough)
17. Charlie Purkiss McEndoo (Harrogate)
18. Andrew Kirton (South Shields Westoe)
19. Rob Stanwix (Barnard Castle)
20. Callum Burke (DMP)
21. Peter Homan (Middlesbrough)
22. Luke Wilson (Billingham)

Travelling Reserves

23. Tom Johnson (Hartlepool)
24. Ryan Foreman (Hartlepool Rovers)


Durham will begin their trip south on Saturday afternoon for an overnight stay ahead of the fixture.

The North East side will round off the day of events at Head Quarters as they follow the Barbarians match and kick off at 5.15pm. The match will be available through live stream on EnglandRugby.com

By Clarissa Murphy

Durham County players announced in England Counties squad ahead of Romania Tour

Durham County players announced in England Counties squad ahead of Romania Tour


Durham County and Mowden Park triplet announced in the England Counties squad to tour to Romania.

England Counties Team Manager, Matt Long has confirmed a squad of 29 players to travel to Romania for the team’s three match tour.

The first game will see the side kick off with a warm up game on June, 1 against CSM Bucharest, followed by fixtures against Romania U23s and Romania A on June 5 and 8.

The three players that will make their debuts for England are; Ollie Hodgson, Warren Seals and Grant Connon.

(Left to Right: Photo Credit: DMP Pitchero; Grant Connon, Ollie Hodgson and Warren Seals)


The announcement comes ahead of the Bill Beaumont County Championship Division Two final at Twickenham on Sunday.

Throughout Durham’s Championship campaign, the Darlington Mown Park players have all made their impact to the sides success with three appearances from Hodgson, two from Connon and one from Seals with a total of five tries and thirteen conversions between them.

The players selected in the squad, represent a range of clubs and counties from across the country. As well as their fixtures, England Counties will be undertaking outreach work in Bucharest to help grow the game in Romania.

“We’re incredibly excited about the opportunity to tour Romania,” said Long.

“Representing your country is an unforgettable experience and for many of the players involved on the tour it will be the pinnacle of their rugby careers.

‘’Following up on a previous visit by England Counties in 2015, we are expecting a series of physical games which will test the new England Counties squad’’

England Counties will be hoping to continue their success from their last tour in Spain, having finished it unbeaten.

Other players that make up the squad feature from Counties including; Cornwall, East Midlands, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, North Midlands, Surrey and Yorkshire.

Durham County RFU wishes England Counties the Mowden lads the best of luck whilst on tour.


By Clarissa Murphy

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 

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