DURHAM CITY VS LINCOLN: DURHAM CITY 20 – LINCOLN 7
Lincoln started proceedings and a short period of inconclusive midfield play followed until Durham were awarded a penalty on their right wing. Placed almost exactly on Lincoln’s try line, Durham’s kick set up a pressure situation with Durham actually pushing over Lincoln’s back line without being able to touch down. Lincoln managed to recover briefly with a 5 yard scrum awarded in a pretty central position to Durham who capitalised upon this great opportunity in typically ruthless fashion. A quick pass out of the scrum and sharp interchange passing enabled Durham to penetrate Lincoln’s defences and touch down 5 yards to the left of their posts. A mounting cross wind carried the conversion onto one of the uprights and then out again for a 5-0 lead after 8 minutes.
Four minutes later this lead was doubled as Durham broke fast down the right with the attackers edging an exciting kick along the ground and chase before collecting the ball and going over 15 yards to the right of Lincoln’s posts for a 10-0 lead. Durham’s tails were definitely up and they added to their lead 2 minutes later with a great kick, collection, drive forward and a critically judged pass to storm over Lincoln’s line in almost the same position as the previous try. Although the strengthening breeze also accounted for the following conversion, Durham ended the half deservedly in front by 15 points to nil.
As music flowed on the side line, the tour party were well and truly letting their hair down in the warming Lincolnshire morning sunshine. Strains of ‘Making Your Mind Up’ were, perhaps providing a subtle hint to the players to decide on their attacking options - it was the only Bucks Fizz moment on the tour that didn’t actually involve alcohol!
Durham’s full squad was involved as always and lots of changes at half time did not impact on the fluency of their play.
Only four minutes into the second half Durham effectively put the match beyond Lincoln by applying good ball recovery and starting off one of their trademark side to side passing sequences before spotting an opportunity on Lincoln’s left wing. Desperate defending could not halt Durham’s momentum and they pushed over for their fourth and final try and a 20-0 lead. Although this was reduced to 20-7 after 10 minutes with a determined Lincoln break down their right wing being touched down between Durham’s posts, the match ended with Durham deservedly victorious and completing a clean sweep on tour!
What a great tour and what a great way to finish it!
For the record, the squad had achieved complete success…………played three, won three, points for 66, points against 14. They had started slowly (but surely) against Sleaford and had taken Lincoln comfortably in their stride……but the champagne moment???..........undoubtedly the calm, collected and ever so slightly scarily determined way in which they took the game to Market Rasen and secured a victory which felt far more emphatic than the score line suggests. For this reporter, this was one of their best performances as a team and they can take great credit not just for this and other results, but for their overall attitude and approach……bring on next year!!
Sleaford and Lincoln provided friendly and gracious hosting in a lovely part of the world and Market Rasen provided a first rate sporting challenge for our squad. Our thanks go out them and best wishes for next season…….maybe we’ll see them on their own tour next year?
But let’s not forget the poor parents who put the really hard yards in over the weekend! We worried, felt every tackle, ran every try and maintained a decreasingly coherent cacophony throughout the matches – and indeed – whole trip! Truly they deserved their modest sustenance…..cheeses, bacon sandwiches, sausage buns and the odd Perrier Water?
A final word for the tour organisers – you did a great job one and all in what was a special weekend…….nice one and can’t wait for next year!