Willers Wanderings: Durham at the top of their game with Cup finals and Twickenham finals
Intermediate Cup Final
As the club seasons have drawn to an end, the club visits have come to a close and it is now busy times with Cup finals and representative rugby.
On Wednesday I travelled to the centre of the county to hosts of the Durham County Intermediate Cup final, Durham City.
The tie saw Gateshead take on Barnard Castle for the Cup, two familiar sides to one another following Barnard Castle’s season in Durham and Northumberland One after promotion last season.
Gateshead had the better of the first half scoring three unconverted tries without reply for a 15-0 lead at half time.
After the break, Barnard Castle came back strong pinning Gateshead down in their own half for long periods. The Barnard Castle pressure was rewarded by scoring two converted tries which brought the score to 15 – 14 with ten minutes left to play.
Three minutes from time in one of their rare excursions into the Barnard Castle half, Gateshead were awarded a penalty kick which was converted to give Gateshead a 18-14 upper hand.
Despite Barnard Castle’s last ditch attempt to get a winning score it was Gateshead that I presented the cup to after the final whistle.
Mention must be made of the large crowd for this match; it is good to see the county cups being so well supported.
Friday was travel day with the County U20s down to the home of Rugby for their County Championship Final against Yorkshire, ready to play the next day at Twickenham.
Match day had arrived and the Durham officials and I were hosted by the Peter Baines, RFU President, John Spencer, Senior Vice President and Chris Kelly, Junior Vice president.
On the pitch before the match the RFU President, the Yorkshire President and I were introduced to the players from both sides and the match officials.
Yorkshire had the better of the first half and lead 8-0 at half time from a try and penalty kick.
Strong defence from the Durham boys meant that the only additional scores from Yorkshire was two further penalties to stretch the lead to 14-0.
Durham where developing their way into the match and with fifteen minutes left on the clock they made their first pass of the Twickenham try line with a converted try.
Continuing to persist, Durham came close on a further three occasions and it was only last ditch tackles by Yorkshire that prevented Durham from scoring.
Yorkshire hung on to the final whistle to beat the gallant Durham boys 14 – 7.
The Durham boys can be proud of their achievements playing at the top level of this championship after only gaining promotion last season. To reach the final they had beaten Yorkshire in their only home tie and had to make long trips for both the quarter and semi-final matches.
At the post match meal and speeches I was presented with a framed photo of the Durham players and officials that had been taken to mark the occasion earlier in the day.