After last week’s result against Loughborough, the men of Durham Rugby were determined to make their mark on the BUCS league. The long journey down to Nottingham did nothing to hinder the mindset of the team. Pre-match plans spoke of maintaining the correct structure in phase play, securing the ball in the breakdown as well as looking to play with flair and vision.
Flying out of the blocks, Durham put early pressure on the Nottingham attack to win an early penalty. A kick to corner gave the forwards their first chance to attack the try line. A strong 8-man drive eased over the whitewash from outside the 22 leaving behind last week’s issues against Loughborough. It was great to see the hard work on the training ground pay off for the pack and it looks set to be a formidable weapon for the rest of the season. Although some teams may have sat back and enjoyed the early lead, this was not the case for Durham who continued to dominate in the enemy half. A mixture of flair and individual skill saw Scrum Half Tim Turner go over in the corner only 2 minutes after the opening score giving Durham a 10-point advantage. After fourteen minutes, the Nottingham defence simply had no answers as Flanker Brodie Wilson strolled through unchallenged to go under the posts. Structurally it was a mark of brilliance as the truck formation took its form and a hard line from Joe Duffy enticed the confused Nottingham defense causing a hole to open up.
A slip up in the Durham defence gave Nottingham a penalty to contribute to the score line with 3 points and it saw Hooker Nicky Rawlinson come off with an ankle injury. Led by Captain, Buchan Richardson, the team agreed it would not allow Nottingham back into this game. This resolve was shown by a follow up 3 points for Charlie Norman with some great phase play following which saw a superb line break from Centre Sam Moncur. Durham continued to camp out in the Nottingham half reaching numbers of 80% plus territory but could not convert a driving lineout just before the close of play.
At half time, the score line read 20 – 3 to the away team and although pleased with the performance, Coach Alex Keay was determined that the fellas still had plenty more to show. The half time team talk appeared to have a strong effect on the performance of Durham. The backs continued in their exciting, attacking style of play which led to Sam Moncur securing the bonus point, going over in the corner 3 minutes after the break. This intensity was matched in the scrum as Props Diogo Ferreira and Adam Brocklebank led from the front resulting in a walkover try, yet again another big shift from the pack.
Despite conceding a loose try on an overlap and an Adam Brocklebank sin binning, Durham were not finished. Darting runs from Gabriel Ames and Charlie Norman saw the game open up with Tom McClean touching down in the corner to finish the scoring at 38 – 8.
It was a positive finish to an exciting game of rugby, which the boys felt built a good foundation for the rest of the season. On Friday, the team’s minds will begin to turn to the fixture midweek against Northumbria midweek.. The team wish the best to Joe Duffy and Nicky and hope that their recovery sees them return quickly.