DURHAM CITY U-14’s vs PERCY PARK – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1ST 2017: DURHAM CITY 61 – PERCY PARK 14
Why wait until the end of this match report to say ‘well done?’ Let’s get to this straight away! Many congratulations to Durham who put in a great performance and recorded a huge win against a tough-tackling Percy Park side on Sunday. It may be early days, but Durham really appear to have come on leaps and bounds this season. Their form in this match was tremendous and they fully deserved both the victory and the margin of it.
Percy Park brought a strong squad which contained a number of ex-Northern players, Northern’s U-14’s having folded shortly after Durham’s thumping victory there in the last match of last season.
Playing conditions were generally good if slightly chilly and occasionally raining and a strong cross wind blew throughout the match, making conversion kicks doubly tricky. Durham had their usual strong squad which allowed for important tactical substitutions throughout the game and ensured that, once again, everyone in the team contributed towards what was to become a satisfying and emphatic victory.
The match was played over three 20 minute periods with Percy Park pressing forward and spending much of the first five minutes of the game entrenched in Durham’s final third. Durham made a series of vitally important defensive tackles to keep the score level and started to push Percy Park back into their own half and final third. This tough midfield battle raged for over 15 minutes until Durham broke free from a strong central drive to score under the posts, the try being converted calmly for a 7-0 lead. Despite pretty much deserving this lead, Durham were soon back to level pegging as Percy Park broke from the half way line to score an equaliser. The first period ended 7-7 with Percy Park undoubtedly the happier of the two teams with this score line.
Squad rotation strengthened Durham’s attacking options for the start of the second period and this paid off almost immediately with a great break, good footwork and an exciting chase and touch down from Durham after only 2 minutes. Another successful conversion was followed five minutes later by another try for Durham, this time forward pressure leading to a touch down right under the posts. This was followed once again by a successful conversion for a 21-7 lead.
Just as Durham looked to be pulling away, an unlucky loss of possession in midfield gave Percy Park a breakaway scoring opportunity which they took. However the conversion which followed was to be their last score in the match as Durham, unfazed, simply steamrollered through for two more tries in the second period to establish a commanding 33-14 lead – but they weren’t finished there by any means!
Durham were exerting constant pressure in attack and at the same time – and no doubt fired up by one or two dangerous tackles made by Percy Park – were merciless in defence. Percy Park had no answer as the strength and breadth of Durham’s attacking options were brought to bear and the third period became a succession of good tries scored by the home team with good forward play and fast, purposeful wing play penetrating Percy Park’s defence after 3,5, 9 and 19 minutes, all tries being converted despite the strong breezy conditions for a final score of 61-14.
There is a great spirit about this Durham team and their calmness and determination under pressure is as admirable as their hard work in rucks, mauls and scrums and their flair in attack. Percy Park provided a very useful test of how far Durham U-14’s have come and they passed the test with flying colours!
So, well done – again and keep it up at Stockton on Sunday!