Durham travelled to the English Rugby HQ full of hope to face Kent, the winners of the Bill Beaumont Division 2 (South) in the early kick off of the day.
The early exchanges proved difficult as Kent dominated possession and territory. Durham's defence held strong though and on 21 minutes during one of Durham's few visits into the Kent half it was Durham that drew first blood when Kent's backs were penalised for going offside and Hodgson made mistake with the kick from the 22 straight in front of the posts. Durham 3-0 Kent.
Immediately from the restart Durham gathered the ball but were penalised when Referee Davis judged Durham to have enter the breakdown from the side and Kent's Luke Giles brought the scores level. Durham 3-3 Kent.
Again the restart brought an immediate error from Kent and Hodgson restored the lead for Durham. Durham 6 Kent 3
Four minutes later Kent thought that they had eventually broken through the Durham defence and were to score the first try but referee Davis had correctly spotted a previous knock on and pulled them back. With Durham getting back into the game they extended the lead with Hodgson's third penalty after a high tackle. Durham 9-3 Kent.
Almost immediately Kent responded when they gathered a Durham Kick ahead and cutting run unusually left several Durham defenders in its wake and Kent scored in the corner. Durham 9-8 Kent.
With only 5 minute to go to the break it was important that Durham did not relinquish the lead but that is exactly what happened when after another good break Durham were caught offside and Giles kicked the penalty to put Kent in the lead for the first time in the game. Durham 9-11 Kent.
As if that was not enough Durham went further behind in the last minute of the half when Kent Captain Stradwick went through a gap that opened up in the Durham defence and despite a desparate tackle on the line the big number 6 stretch to score under the post. The kick hit the post and the half soon finished. Durham 9-16 Kent.
Despite both sides having opportunities it was half way through the 2nd half before there was an addition to the scoreboard by a James Munton try which Giles converted. Durham 9-23 Kent.
Durham were not going to give up without a fight and it was the Durham captain Wearmouth who forced his way over after a quick penalty caught Kent on the back foot. Hodgson kicked the conversion. Durham 16-23 Kent.
Kent again responded by putting pressue on the Durham line and after a long pass put the Kent 15 Beaumont in space he was able to score in the corner. Durham 16-28 Kent.
It was now Durham's turn to apply the pressure and when the ball came back from the breakdown near the Kent line it was number 7 Callum Mckenzie who sliced through the Kent defence to score. When Hodgson added the extra's it took them to within one score for victory. Durham 23-28 Kent.
With just 3 minutes left it was essential that Durham went on the attack. The Kent restarted took Durham back inside their 22, they tried to run the ball but at the breakdown they were caught no for the first time coming in at the side. Kent naturally elected to kick at goal to ensure the clock ran down and add the extra points.
FT: Durham 23-31 Kent