Durham 3rd XV vs St Andrew’s 1st XV 29/11/17
The 3rd XV travelled up to Scotland to take on St Andrew’s 1st XV on a very chilly evening in the depths of the Scottish countryside, under the lights in a 5pm kick off. Despite the late kick off we left Durham at 8am and had plenty of time to prepare well, but got off to a slow start as St Andrew’s kicked an early penalty and after 15 minutes, a sequence of powerful scrums built up pressure, which eventually told as they crossed to make it 10-0. A knock on from the kick off however, allowed us to win a penalty in their 22 area and Ciaran Armstrong kicked out first points of the game. The last 5 minutes of the first half saw a lift in pace and intensity from the mighty 3s as scrum half Jack Aldous-Fountain took a quick tap on half way and released Fergus Haig who charged down the pitch. Two phases later fellow back row Hugo Tasker showed impressive footwork for a lumbering forward as he danced over from 20m out. This was soon followed by a great break from Mike Woollatt and a last-ditch tackle could not prevent the inevitable and from the following phase, Fergus Haig charged over under the posts for his first try in Palatinate, making it 15-10 to Durham at half time. It proved to be a welcome break for St Andrew’s as they scored two tries in the first two minutes of the 2nd half to give them a 7 point lead, which was cut 15 minutes later thanks to a lovely line from Johnathon Edes, who showed impressive speed and agility for a prop to storm over from 22m out. Replacement 10 Ben Scher added the extras and another penalty from 40m to give us a 3 point lead, 25-22. It looked like it may finally be our day as the Andrew’s kicker missed a penalty from in front of the posts and Scher showed he had ice in his veins with a kick from the corner of the 5m and 40m line, but a harsh yellow card for Stephen Hall orchestrated by a linesman looking to get involved in the game allowed St Andrew’s to knock over a penalty and set up a tense finish. Brave defence from the 3rds proved to be in vain as, with only 30 seconds to go, the Andrew’s captain took a quick tap in our 22 and slid over, giving them a 30-28 win in a game that we felt very hard done by to lose.