DURHAM CITY 137 PONTELAND 10
By Caroline McHale
If ever there was a flamboyant way to win a league title, this was it!
If ever there was a flamboyant way to win a league title, this was it! Needing only a 4 try bonus point to be absolutely certain of finishing in top spot in Durham & Northumberland 1, Durham City ran amok from the first whistle, secured the first objective within 12 minutes and went on to score a total of 21 tries in a blistering performance to register what is thought to be a record score within the club.
Sadly Ponteland, for all their considerable efforts to stem the tide were simply overwhelmed by the power, pace and frequency of City’s attacks and whilst there was sympathy from the crowd, understandably there was no let-up on the pitch and for City’s young wingers Nathan Bushnell (5) and Matthew Ward (7) in his first full game there were personal triumphs as they scored 12 of the tries between them.
City went ahead in the first minute, full-back Josh White racing over for a try and flanker Arnie Stevenson quickly following it up after a burst by lock Paddy Dias. Ward stepped his way down the right from 35 metres for the third and a fine off-load by prop Benny Parkinson to fellow-prop Reece Amir secured the try bonus point. Scrum-half Paul Armstrong converted 3 of them and at 26 – 0, they were on their celebration way.
A 60 metre break by centre Craig Dominick ended with partner Brad Pears scoring for Armstrong to convert before Ponteland hit back with a try by prop Chris Stevens from a 5 metre driven lineout.
But it was barely a hiccup for City as they racked up another 6 tries before the interval through Ward (3), Bushnell (2) and No. 8 Peter Dent, 4 of which Armstrong converted for a 71 – 5 lead.
Unfortunately for the visitors, despite a touch of defiance when replacement Nathan Rebucha dived over in the corner for their second try, City carried on in similar fashion in the second half, Dias, Dominick, Armstrong, Pears, Ward (3) and Bushnell (3) adding another 10 tries and Armstrong converting 8 of them for a total of 16 successful kicks.
For City next season, after a two- year absence, promotion means a return to Level 6 in whatever form it takes once the RFU’s current league re-structuring in the North is finalized.
In the meantime, they travel to Hartlepool Rovers for a Durham County Intermediate Cup semi-final on Wednesday 17 April (KO. 7.30pm).
CITY: Josh White; Matthew Ward, Brad Pears, Craig Dominick, Nathan Bushnell; Charle Scott, Paul Armstrong ©; Benny Parkinson, Kenny Reader, Reece Amir, Kevin Showler, Paddy Dias, Arnie Stevenson, Will Jewitt, Peter Dent
Replacements : David Elliott, Tom Elliott, Tim Mackay.