DURFC 2nd XV vs Nottingham 1st XV
The 2nd XV travelled south to take on Nottingham 1st XV at a blustery Highfields Park. The mercurial weather and boggy pitched dictated the game and ensured it would be a tight and physical affair, with both teams trying to use the strong wind to their advantage. Durham started brightly and frequently found themselves in Nottingham’s 22 thanks to the pinpoint tactical kicking of Akira Takenaka and Paddy McDuell, and whilst a crucial first half try remained elusive, Myles Rawstron-Rudd slotted a simple penalty thanks to a careless offside infringement by the Nottingham centres. The centre, however, soon made up for it- in support as the winger broke through Durham’s midfield, to stroll over the line following a simple 2-on-1. Incensed by conceding a relatively soft try, Durham came storming back and spent the majority of the first half in the Nottingham half, but a series of turnovers from mauls and some stubborn Nottingham defence meant the closest we came to a try was Chambré being held up after a powerful run. The half ended at 7-3 to Nottingham; not a bad outcome when playing into the wind for Durham, but we deserved more and came out firing in the 2nd half, eager to convert our pressure into points. The relatively one-sided affair continued and the strong Durham pack did what it had threatened to do in the first half as Jack Statham dotted down following a dominant driving maul. Myles added a further 3 points from the tee as Nottingham, possibly out of frustration at not getting near the Durham 22 for most of the 2nd half, infringed often. A slippery Paddy McDuell scythed through Notts’ line and chipped over the full-back in an excellent brake, but ended in anguish as Akira was tackled into touch in the corner. Anguish turned to joy however, as we stole the line out and Akira fed a cutting Fitz Harding who crashed over, making it 18-7 and effectively ending Nottingham’s hopes of a home upset.