Following a tough, physical encounter with Exeter down at Rosslyn park and with only a quick 4 day turnaround our 1’s side travelled away to Leeds Beckett for another test. As a result of a few Injuries the squad had seen a shuffle, with positions being changed and fringe players from the 2’s being called into the squad. However motivation was high following an intense few days of reflection from both the coaching staff and our boys.
The game started off in the expected manner, both packs were big sets of lads and an arm wrestle of who could carry hardest ensued. It was tit for tat for 15 minutes of play, with both sides showing their physicality and want to compete. However following a series of pressure in the leeds half, a penalty was given. We were quick to opt for the kick at goal and 3 points were secured by Tom Catterick.
However following this Beckett came out of the blocks fighting, dominant carries from both backs and forwards over the gainline were prevalent and in roads were made into the Durham 22. From here Leeds Beckett decided to stick it up the jumper and pick and go for multiple phases. They laid the pressure on thick and drove themselves over the line.
The game was restarted and only a few phases were completed before our loosehead prop George Hogan was on the floor with a neck/head injury. The game was stopped and a long break appeared while George was treated with utmost care by medical staff on the day. George was taken to hospital and thankfully in a good state without any serious injuries. The game was restarted and any momentum Leeds had gained from the score was lost. Durham were now the ones making inroads into the leeds 22 with notable carries from all the forwards showing great strength and footballing skills. Once in the opposition 22, Durham opted for the same tactic as Leeds picking and going for multiple phases. The forwards showed great technique and determination to push themselves over the line, with Joe Duffy coming away with the try. Tom Catterick securing the conversion.
With the score at 10-7 Durham continued to apply attacking pressure and the beckett team couldn’t help but give away penalties. One being in kickable position, Tom Catterick stepped up to the tee and slotted another penalty.
Durham went into half time 13-7 up and in a good position. Although following the kick off Leeds were resurgent with new found attacking energy. Surmounting pressure especially at scrum time meant leeds won a handful of penalties. 3 of these penalties were in kickable positions which the Beckett kicker took advantage of taking the score to 13-16.
Although at this point Leeds had the momentum, our Durham boys showed a great deal of character and honesty in turning the tide. The last quarter of the match much like the first was a heavily physical affair, with our fitness showing through. A penalty was given away by leeds in a kickable position and Tom Catterick showed up again to equal the scores.
The last 5 were nailbiting with all our players making a difference, the energy levels were boosted by players coming off the bench but Becketts defence held firm. Until it finally faltered and a penalty was given 45 meters out from posts. Tom Catterick once again stepped up to the plate and with great poise slotted the goal with ease. Durham was able to hold on for the remaining few minutes and ended up coming out on top 19-16. All in all the performance wasn’t well polished but the team showed huge amounts of determination and togetherness, which bodes well for the rest of the season.