Durham freshers XV were back in action Wednesday night in a primetime showdown against local North-East rivals, Newcastle Agriculture. Heavy rain and a substantial wind meant conditions were much more suited to farming than rugby.
Wednesday also saw the debut of ‘Mr college rugby' William Vardon at his new position flanker. The first half was a cagey affair with little sides making much gainline success, both 10s weere under heavy pressure from surging defensive lines. A much larger side tested Durham defensively, but great work at the breakdown by Peter Lane gave the Freshers XV a turnover to capitalise on. Durham failed to make best use of the ball in Newcastles 22, with several knock ons and uncharacteristic line out miscues. Some strong carrying from the overseas centre Matt Reaney and support lines from 13 Max Hart left the Agrics on the back foot and with Harry Thompson adding some much needed class with quick hands and excellent vision.This enabled Durham to come close to taking the lead.
Towards the end of the first half Newcastle started to break tackles and some tidy offloads set up two tries in quick concession to take the score to 0-14. The second half started on a much different note as the forwards enjoyed steady progress lead by 3rd teamer Charlie Longford and Lachlan Peterson. Eventually Durham crossed the paint twice with muscle form the aforementioned Peterson and Joshua Beuvink. Thanks largely to solid distribution from 9 Zach Uddoh. However a lapse in concentration due to Durham spotting the selected front row Harry Gasby attending college football training on the crumb next door allowed Newcastle to score again in the corner taking their lead to an unattainable 14-19. Overall a strong performance against a physical Newcastle Agriculture side whose style of play matched the weather to a greater degree. A huge thanks to all 4 Devs coaches who stuck it out with us in the rain with us.