On Wednesday the 11th of November we arrived at Newcastle for our first cup tie of the year. Despite the small pitch we had been assigned and the less than favourable conditions we knew this would be both a challenging and entertaining encounter.
After receiving the first kick-off the DURFC side were able to build a strong platform for the first five minutes gradually making their way up the pitch. However, after this period a few unforced errors and under-committed rucks gave the Newcastle side the edge. For this period of the game Newcastle made a conscious effort to kick the ball down into the Durham 22 as frequently as possible giving them territorial advantage. Despite this, the DURFC side’s backs responded well, collecting the ball and returning it back down the pitch. As the Newcastle side played in the Durham’s half, two penalties gave them the opportunity to capitalise and take the points giving them a 6-0 lead.
The last quarter of the half saw a vast improvement in the DURFC side where the forwards dominated the rucks to aid the backs in their impressive open field play. After a lineout in the Newcastle 22, a maul was formed; the forwards were then able to drive it over the line for Alexander Murphy to score.
The second half was also consumed by large periods of territorial play from the Newcastle side which was equally matched by Durham. The second try was scored when quick ball from the ruck gave Cal Westaway the opportunity to fix the defence around the ruck, which allowed Toby ‘Dan Lonsdale’ Hackett to hit a hard line like he hits PBs. Toby then popped the ball to Charlie Beachell who broke a tackle before drawing the final defender and spreading the ball like he does his seeds allowing Nick Etherington to sprint down the touchline to score a try in the corner. This put the DURFC side ahead at 15-9.
For the last ten minutes of the game Newcastle made the remainder of their changes and applied abrasive defensive and attacking pressure for the remaining period of play. However, despite this strong contest the Durham side managed to maintain their lead after a strong performance from 1 to 22.
Final score: Durham 15-9 Newcastle