Preview: Durham County Women prepare for opening game of Gill Burns Championship

Durham County Women prepare for opening game of Gill Burns Championship


Durham County Women welcome current Gill Burns Champions, Lancashire Ladies for their first 2017/2018 campaign fixture.

After five weeks of training and trials and a development fixture against Eastern Counties, Durham prepare to host Lancashire at Hartlepool Rugby Club on Sunday.

Last week, the coaches slimmed down a competitive training squad to a 33 – woman squad to pick from for the remainder of the championships.

Training has seen players attend in mass from across the County including Acklam, Bishop Auckland, Darlington Mowden Park, Darlington, Hartlepool Rovers and Sunderland Flames.

David Addison, Lead Coach commented on training saying: “It has been well attended and the attitude of the ladies has been good.

“We have given them a lot to take on board in a short amount of time and they have been working really hard.”

In last year’s campaign the Durham Ladies hosted Lancashire at Darlington RFC where the visitors dominated the first half, despite a strong come back in the second half, Lancashire reigned winners 40-5.

2016/17 Team Photo: Durham County Women following Lancashire game at Darlington RFC 


Christopher Geehan, Durham Ladies Backs Coach said: “As my second year with the backs, I am really impressed with how everyone has improved over the last year as individuals.

“Our game plan and the skills we are asking of players, comes with ease which compliments our ability as a team.

“As a coach, I am optimistic for this year and I think we are a side not to be written off.”

Addison added: “Lancashire are not champions for no good reason.

“Last year showed us that they can score from our mistakes, they are quick and they allow the ball to do the work.”

The ladies set to take on the champions are:

1 Lauren Rigby Darlington Mowden Park
2 Alex Webster Darlington Mowden Park
3 Emily Hunter Darlington Mowden Park
4 Nicole Irving Sunderland Flames
5 Jess Cheesman (VC) Darlington
6 Ellie Pigford Hartlepool Rovers
7 Olivia Davison Sunderland Flames
8 Amber Stonehouse Sunderland Flames
9 Steph Maddison (C) Sunderland Flames
10 Lucy Hewitt Darlington
11 Tammy Theaker Darlington
12 Tara Breslin Sunderland Flames
13 Kirsty Paterson Sunderland Flames
14 Ursula Hardy Darlington
15 Rachelle Cooley (VC) Bishop Auckland
16 Julie Noble Sunderland Flames
17 Michaela Theaker Darlington
18 Becca Walker Sunderland Flames
19 Sarah Hall Darlington
20 Olivia Rowe Darlington Mowden Park
21 Clarissa Murphy Sunderland Flames
22 Treen Hardy Sunderland Flames
23 Rachael Knight Sunderland Flames
24 Chelsea Burger Hartlepool Rovers
25 Dannielle Coulton Hartlepool Rovers


Geehan added: “The game will come down to who wants it more and who has the extra fight to give, upfront.

“We believe we have that.”

The game will take place at Hartlepool Rugby Club, TS24 9BA from 3pm.

By Clarissa Murphy