Despite the win against Hull the previous week, the 4s were hoping to make improvements as they made the long journey up to Dundee in the first match of the cup. Despite the 5 hour coach journey, the boys were ready to lay down a marker for the rest of the season. As the team began to warm up, it was evident the weather was going to have a big impact on the game and the team that played the conditions the best would be victorious.
Despite playing into the Gale-force wind during the first half, Durham started the brightest with dominant carries from Moses Fakatou and Dan Richards, often getting over the gain line. However, despite constant pressure, the Dundee defence line remained strong, making it very difficult for Durham to convert the constant pressure into points. However, a loose pass led to an interception with Dundee running 60m to score under the post. 7-0. Conceding a try only spurred the boys on more and thanks to good game management by scrum half Pete Francis, Durham quickly responded with Dan Allchurch being released down the touchline to touch down. 7-7. After the score Durham maintained the pressure on a very physical Dundee side, being led by the strong carries of Jamie Smith and Will Depel. Despite this pressure, Durham were unable to cross the line and ill-discipline down the other end allowed Dundee to take the lead once more through the boot.10-7. Dundee’s direct running was well dealt with midfield duo Charlie Blair and Charles Bolton making the important tackles to quash any threat to Durham’s try line.
Durham’s fitness proved to be the better towards the end of the half, with the backs applying pressure out wide on leading to a penalty that Paddy Dolaghan calmly slotted. 10-10. Durham hoped to continue in the same vain in the 2nd half, hoping to capitalise on playing with the wind and downhill. Durham started once more the brightest with good kicking from Tom Huckle pinning the Dundee side in their own 22 for a large majority of the half. However, despite the early pressure, the half was hampered by mistakes and inaccuracy, not allowing Durham to take advantage of being the fitter and more skilled side. Dundee’s physicality would prove difficult to deal with and despite man of the match Charles Bolton leading the defence with his physicality, missed tackles led to Dundee being able to break the line on too many occasions, eventually leading to Dundee scoring once more. 17-10. Despite having opportunities to level the game and potentially take the lead, the finishing touches needed weren’t there, leading to Dundee being able to run out 17-10 winners. Despite being a tough L to take, the boys will be back in training on Monday to try and improve before a big game against Newcastle 2s on Wednesday.