Northumbria University 1’s 27 – 46 Durham 1’s
DURFC 1’s pushed all the way as they edge one step closer to the league title
Northumbria University produced a strong second half display to push reigning University champions Durham all the way in an entertaining encounter at Maiden Castle.
Northumbria clawed back a 30 point half-time deficit, producing three tries in quick succession, to make the score 22-33, before Durham eventually closed the game out 27-46.
The weather meant that this was the only DURFC fixture to go ahead this Wednesday and the match had previously been scheduled for an afternoon kick-off at Kingston Park, but the icy conditions meant it was eventually held in Durham on the all-weather rubber crumb pitch at Maiden Castle.
Durham were clear favorites heading into the fixture with a 32-game winning streak, and with Durham thrashing Northumbria 72-7 in the home match earlier in the season.
Durham started strongly with a break from full-back Simon Hammersley providing David Haigh with a try underneath the posts. Northumbria struck back with a penalty before a turned over scrum lead to a superb break from Durham Number 8 Harrison Collins who offloaded to Jack Pattinson for the touchdown.
Mike Ward kicked the conversion to tip the score 14-3 in the Palatinates’ favour. Two tries from lock Josh Beaumont and an outside break from centre Danny Holmes meant Durham finished the half winning comfortably with the score at 33-3.
In the second half, however, Northumbria came back fighting, a Durham error leading to a try for Northumbria fly-half Brad Pears.
A driving maul close to the line brought a further try to make the score 15-33 before Northumbria scrum-half George Lewsey picked up a loose ball and ran half the length of the pitch to bring Northumbria within two scores of Durham.
Northumbria were growing in confidence, sensing an upset, but Durham composed themselves and two scores from Durham driving mauls and a penalty from Sam Watkinson meant that Brad Pears’ second try of the match was little more than a consolation.
Ultimately few teams have been able to trouble Durham this season in the way Northumbria did in the third quarter of this match, but the Palatinates will be able to take heart from the composure they showed in swinging the momentum of the game back in their favour.
In particular Harrison Collins and man of the match Matt Steele produced strong displays to help the palatinates to victory.
Furthermore, another victory in the league brings them one step closer to claiming the BUCS Northern Premiership title and extends this teams’ winning streak to 33 games unbeaten.
Durham will next face Cardiff University in the Quarter-Final of the cup which will be held at Durham City Rugby Club at 2pm on Wednesday 15th.
For more information on DURFC's fixtures and results visit http://www.durfc.co.uk/