Preview: Durham County Women name their 23 to face Northumberland
Durham County Senior Women have named their final 23 to face rivals Northumberland Women in their first game of the Gill Burns County Championship.
With over 50 females showing an interest in being part of the Durham County side, it has been a tough selection process for the coaching team.
Dave Addison, Head Coach of Durham County Senior Women said: “It is a really exciting time for Women’s Rugby in Durham.
“Having so many women try out has meant that everyone has had to be on their toes, bring their best to each session and perform to win the shirt.
“County rugby should be about developing and growing the game so it is really great seeing so many women showing an interest, in particular having last year’s U18s challenging for full honors alongside experienced players.
In order to produce structure, the experienced coaching team created a main squad of 35 and a development squad.
From the main squad of 35, the final 23 to face Northumberland are: Jess Cheesman – Darlington RFC, Katie Dodgson – Darlington RFC, Alex Webster – DMP Sharks, Sarah Hall – Darlington RFC, Amanda Hilton – Sunderland Flames, Nicole Irving – Sunderland Flames, Sask Munden – Sunderland Fames, Ali Bell – Darlington RFC, Steph Maddison – Sunderland Flames, Lyndsay Burns – Darlington RFC, Tara Breslin – Sunderland Flames, Kirsty Paterson – Sunderland Flames, Ursula Hardy – Darlington RFC, Chloe Allison – Bishop Auckland, Claudia Macdonald- Durham University, Suzanne Falconer – Sunderland Flames, Leah Davies – Sunderland Flames/ Sunderland University, Clarissa Murphy – Sunderland Flames, Katherine Insall – Durham University, Sally Downie – Bishop Auckland, Becca Walker- Sunderland Flames, Tara Slater – Sunderland Flames/ Sunderland University, Kate Byrnes – Billingham RFC
Addison, Sunderland Flames coach commented on the team saying: “Our Squad is made up of a really talented and hard working group of players.
“We have asked the team to take on board a lot of information in a short space of time and they have responded brilliantly.”
Each Wednesday the coaching team have pushed each player to prove themselves in different aspects of the game such as tackling, fitness, game awareness and more.
Addison added: “It has been a great environment for learning and with additional coaching support from Chris Geehan (Sunderland XV), Chris Marsden (Bishop Auckland), Emily Hunter (DMP Sharks and Hartlepool Rovers) and exceptional management from Paul Geehan (Sunderland RFC) it has been really easy to cope with the additional numbers.”
In preparation for Friday, the team had their last run through together on Wednesday night at Hartlepool Rugby Club enabling them to put together the last five weeks of hard work.
For the last meeting with Northumberland in the 2015/2016 campaign the two sides met their match as the game ended in a 24-24 tie.
As this is considered a derby match, both sides will be searching for bragging rights and a head start in the Gill Burns County Championship campaign.
Being a former player and coach of hosts, Northumberland – Dave Addison said: “I know a lot of their players and they will be very strong with most of their squad playing at Championship level.
“But, for this game I am confident that the ladies selected can step up and make a good account of themselves.
“It is great ground for an entertaining game of rugby to come and watch!”
The game will kick off at 7pm at Novocastrians RFC, Sutherland Park, Benton, Newcastle, NE7 7SZ.
Following Friday’s game, Durham will take on Cumbria at Blaydon RFC on Sunday, May 7 and Lancashire on Sunday, May 14 at Darlington RFC, both kicking off at 2pm.
By Clarissa Murphy