With a heavy loss to Man Met past us, the Durham 4th Team entered Hull University with a “Chip on their shoulder” in the words of Captain Alex Robertson, to avenge the previous week’s defeat and begin the season the way it should have started: WINNING.
And so the group of 22 lads and 2 coaches came to Hull for the 2:00pm fixture. The warm up had gone well, with every member of the team eager and desperate to play their part for the badge, and with a strong pack led by Hooker Alex Robertson and a pacy back line lead by fly half Thomas Huckle, it seemed that we simply could not lose.
This was demonstrated in the opening minutes of the game when, after about 1 minute of frantic rugby, fly half Thomas Huckle sent a beautiful grubber kick through for Irish Centre Charlie Blair to pounce on and score. The conversion was scored and Durham led 7-0 after only 3 minutes.
This was to be a game of exchanged scoring however, and unfortunately Hull were let in with a few easy scores, one coming off a mistake in the scrum. However, the team remained calm and composed; it was clear that we matched our opposition physically and for a few of the boys, the 4 weeks of pre season in the summer only confirmed our superior fitness over them.
With this in mind, Durham 4th XV threw away the complicated long passes and dummies and simply stuck to what we do best. Taking the ball hard, a rushed lined defence and pure aggression in all aspects of the game. Rushed line speed seemed to be crucial to all of this, and following the example led by prop Moses Fakatou, Durham began to put pressure on Hull.
This resulted in another try for Charlie Blair, similar to the first in that the opposition, under pressure from our defence, crumbled with a loose ball and Charlie did well to chip through and dive on the ball. A few moments later further pressure was put on Hull’s Lineout, leading the strong Durham pack to drive over after a few pick and go’s, leading to Matt Frost scoring in the corner from close range.
Coming into half time Durham were confident and happy with the performance. Pressure had been exerted and tries had been scored. Unfortunately in the second half we were not able to replicate the same fire that we had produced in the first. After letting them back in with some tries (purely out of sympathy for them) a forward pack effort led to another close range try for Durham.
Then, when all seemed to be over winger Dan Allchurch ran a superb line from the 40m line and after a few cheeky side steps and hand offs, managed to bundle over for Durham’s 5th try in the bag. With the bonus point achieved we somehow allowed them 2 easy tries to leave the final score at 32-29.
While on paper it seemed to be a close game, in reality Durham had place significant pressure on Hull the entire game, and ignoring the last 20 minutes it truly was a magnificent display of rugby. With confidence back on top, we look forward to our cup fixture next Wednesday, seeking again to leave with “a chip on our shoulder”.