The 2s went into their game against Bishop Burton College off the back of 3 wins, the most recent being a 55-31 win against a strong Edinburgh side, and were hoping to continue this good form. Many of the boys who had previously played in the second team were expecting a physical encounter, typical of a Bishop Burton side. As the boys arrived it was clear the conditions would not be conducive to the joué style of play that the 2s are famed for, with a compact pitch and harsh winds.
Durham started well, something which has often not been the case so far this season. After an early turnover penalty, Charlie Spawforth kicked to the corner, however some sloppy play in the resulting lineout allowed Bishop Burton a brief reprieve. Durham remained in the Bishop Burton 22 for several minutes, and some strong scrummaging from Joe Burdis and George Syradd led to a turnover at the scrum, which Matt Beese swiftly capitalised on with a scything line through the opposition defence.
However, for the rest of the first half the team was hampered by its collective ill-discipline, with the referee having to warn players too frequently, resulting in Bishop Burton gaining increasingly attacking field position. Despite this, it is testament to some dogged Durham defence that Bishop Burton just could not score, despite being camped on the Durham line multiple times throughout the half. Special mention must go to Jack Hutchinson for holding up Bishop Burton’s big second row over the line, preventing a certain score. Towards the tail end of the half Durham gained some of their own momentum, with the driving lineout working excellently, propelling Durham inside Bishop Burton’s five metre line. This pressure led to a yellow card for Bishop Burton, but unfortunately did not lead to a score. 5-0 Durham at half time, with a big second half needed from the boys.
The quick start to the first half from Durham could not be repeated, with Burton scoring two quick-fire tries to take the score to 12-5. Durham worked their way back up the field and a well-earned penalty gave Ciaran Armstrong the opportunity to claw some vital points back, which he did comfortably, bringing the score to 12-8. However that would unfortunately prove to be Durham’s last points of the game, with Bishop Burton scoring two tries largely due to uncharacteristic Durham mistakes, and another try from a very unlucky intercept. Although Durham’s accuracy at the set piece and in open play was not as good as they would have wanted, the endeavour from the boys was unwavering, with joue being attempted from anywhere on the field. The boys gave their all until the final whistle but unfortunately could not pull off a comeback. Final score being 33-8 to Bishop Burton.
Overall, a tough day at the office, and credit must go to Bishop Burton for the win. However the boys will be back and raring to go back at home against Leeds 1stXV next week.