Flushed from back-to-back victories over Edinburgh and Bishop Burton, and motivated after a week of intense training, the 2’s welcomed Newcastle 1’s to the hallowed Racecourse, looking to cement their position as top of the League. Sam Adamson, Brownie and Nikita (amongst others) were called in to ballast an already formidable looking Durham outfit and the squad arrived seeking to replicate their defeat over Newcastle in pre-season.
Worryingly Newcastle started the match with greater ferocity than the 2’s, going 7-0 up within the opening ten minutes of the game, taking advantage of some lack lustre defensive work from the boys and being clinical when entering Durham’s 22. Fortunately though, about twenty minutes in Durham seemed to finally wake up and strung together some of the best attacking phases of the game. Tato, Chambre and Statham battered into the Newcastle defensive line repeatedly, enabling the grandpa Floyd to flop over in the corner in acres of space. Soon after Jack Martin scored a similar try, the hard graft of the forward pack visible in the space provided for Paddy to continually find holes for the willing runners of Myles and Josh Wright, with Jack dotting down in the corner after a plethora of phases. Another area in which Durham found joy was the driving maul, the indomitable figure of Stath bulldozing his way over the line from a 5m driving maul, ably assisted by his protégé the young Kermit. Despite the improved attacking performance Newcastle refused to submit, relying on their impressive 9’s box kicking to keep the pressure on the 2’s, while being very clinical when attacking themselves, scoring two tries in quick succession against the run of play. Half time score 26-22.
The second half began in a similar vein to the 1st, with Newcastle scoring an early try against the run of play, exploiting mistakes by Durham to terrible effect. Once more being down galvanised the team, good footwork seeing Myles and Paddy sashay their way through the Newcastle defence, but a lack of composure and individual errors saw Durham waste a few excellent attacking opportunities. This was not aided by a contentious decision from the referee denying Trow a meat pie midway through the half. Luckily this was rectified by La Croissant and Captain Bobby Helme dismantling the following scrum, and gifting Chambre a try at the base. The least said about Paddy’s conversion the better. Five minutes later another resurgent driving maul from a lineout piled their way over the line, and with ten minutes to go and Durham down by only four points a feeling of confidence permeated the ground, only added to by the watchful eye of Alex Keay present on the side-line’s sadly for Statham. No fairy tale ending for the 2’s though unhappily, an intercept try stifling any hopes of the 2’s remaining unbeaten at Fortress Racecourse. Despite the result, nobody played badly and it was only through a lack of composure and initial physicality that the game was lost.
We go again. FT score 40-22.