1st XV - Report
DURHAM CITY 20 CLECKHEATON 20
After two heavy defeats, City restored a degree of order in this hard-fought mid-table North 1 East League clash with Cleckheaton, a try at the death securing the draw.
But a penalty by stand-off Arnie Stevenson 5 minutes later, following a good attack which saw flanker Jeff Roberts stopped just short of the line, got City off the mark and they quickly moved 10 – 7 ahead when winger Rob Smith intercepted on halfway as Cleckheaton attacked to race home for a try which Stevenson converted
Good driving play might have produced more, although the visitors’ defence was solid and they always posed a threat on breakaways, but City got their reward in the 40th minute from a 5 metre scrum, having been held up over the line, when they ran and a long Stevenson pass allowed Smith to score in the corner from 10 metres out.
But a penalty 3 minutes later by Gordon when City were offside as Cleckheaton kicked into their 22 left the half-time score at 15 – 10 in City’s favour having marginally shaded the balance of play.
Renewed resolve from the visitors was evident from the re-start however and, after early pressure, they recovered the advantage when flanker Richard Piper took a short pass to burst over under the posts after 3 phases of a concerted attack near the City line. Gordon converted and in the 56th minute added a penalty to extend their lead to 15 – 20.
But they were unable to capitalise further as the game became a bit fractious and back came City in the last 10 minutes. A break by full-back Peter van Loo should have produced a try, the forwards battered away near the visitors’ line and, from the last play of the match, both Roberts and fellow-flanker Shaun Dickinson were almost over from a quickly-taken 5 metre penalty before winger Chris Metcalfe finally dived over in the corner when they attacked the short side from the resulting ruck to level the score.
Stevenson’s conversion attempt from the touchline to win the game was narrowly wide and, overall, a draw was probably a fair reflection of the game as a whole.
Tomorrow City travel to Old Brodleians (Halifax) for another league match (KO 3.00pm)
CITY: Peter Van Loo; Chris Metcalfe, Adam Morton, Will Kirtley, Rob Smith; Arnie Stevenson, Paul Armstrong; Colin Hogg, Mike Hay, Graeme Herbert, Aaron Burns, Darren McKinnon, Shaun Dickinson, Jeff Roberts (c), Richard Ellis.
Replacements: Jonny Harding, Richard Knowles, Benny Parkinson.