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