Cardiff Made to Pay by Haigh Day
Durham 1st XV 10 – 6 Cardiff 1st XV: DURFC 1’s hang on to unbeaten run as they move into semi finals of BUCS Cup.
Durham University 1st XV secured a semi-final spot in the British Universities cup with a bruising 10-6 victory over Cardiff.
David Haigh scored the only try of the match with Mike Ward kicking the conversion and adding a penalty to give Durham their 10 points.
Defending champions Durham went into the match as favourites, sitting top of the Northern Premiership and unbeaten in 33 matches. Cardiff, however, had produced a strong performance to beat Exeter 22-12 in the previous round and so Durham were wary of the threat they posed.
The score was extremely close with Cardiff spending the final 10 minutes of the game in the Durham half, looking for the winning try.
Durham started strongly, stretching the Cardiff defence from the kick off. However, they failed to convert the pressure into points and an infringement at the break down meant that Cardiff fly-half Cameron Pimlo scored the first points of the match to put Cardiff in the ascendancy.
This however was short lived as a half break from Tom Shiel saw Mike Ward offload to winger David Haigh who smashed aside three would-be tacklers to score for the Palatinates. Ward converted and further pressure gave Ward the opportunity to stretch the Durham lead to 10-3 with a penalty kick.
Durham continued to dominate and spent the remainder of the half in the opposition territory. A second chance came when great offloading and support from fresher Ollie McCollum was sadly not rewarded as the ball was fumbled over the line.
Durham again began positively at the start of the second half with a series of pick and drives ending with Josh Beaumont being held up over the line. Simon Hammersley showed great pace in attack from full-back and broke the line several times.
But Durham failed to find that one pass that would put their opponents out of reach.
Cardiff, sensing an upset, grew in confidence and spent the final 15 minutes battling in the Durham half.
An earlier penalty had meant that the score now stood at 10-6 and Cardiff were now desperately looking for a try of their own with Durham's defence sorely tested.
It was at this late stage that the physicality of the match became apparent with big hits, cheap shots and yellow cards coming thick and fast.
Key turnovers from Harrison Collins and Josh Beaumont, a stolen line-out and a penalty from the scrum meant that Cardiff failed to convert any pressure they had and Durham ended the match running the clock down with drives from the forwards before scrum-half Andrew McCulla carried the ball into touch to end to bring the match to an end.
Durham will now face either Aberdeen or Bath on the 7th March in the semi-final which will be held on neutral ground and the team will no doubt be stronger having shown a great deal of determination in their closest match of the season. The final will be held at Twickenham on the 28th March.
For more information on previous results and fixtures visit: http://www.durfc.co.uk/