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Durham County Cup competition hailed an enjoyable day for Women's Rugby

Durham County Cup competition hailed an enjoyable day for Women's Rugby

Durham County Rugby Football Union crown the 2018 Cup and Plate Winners at an entertaining festival of rugby, hosted by Billingham RUFC.

Yesterday saw around 100 people gather at the Rugby 365 pitch to watch, play and support the Women’s County Cup competition, which saw Sunderland Flames crowned County Cup champions and Hartlepool Rovers take the Plate.

The round robin event, originally set out for five teams saw Darlington, Hartlepool Rovers and Sunderland Flames battle it out for the 2018 titles.

In the opening game, Sunderland Flames set the stage with a 28-0 victory over Hartlepool Rovers, with tries from Clarissa Murphy, Ellie Pigford, Tara Breslin and Steph Maddison, including four from four conversions from Breslin’s boot.

Straight back into action, Darlington prepared for their opening fixture against Sunderland Flames, despite two early unconverted tries from Flames Captain Amber Stonehouse and Nicole Irving, the match remained physical and a battle of the best in the centre of the field.

Darlington used their forward strength to continue through the phases in the 22, before seeing Jess Cheesman over in the corner for the sides first five points of the game.

However, Sunderland remained confident in their ability as they played the ball wide for the last play of the game for Jenny Cox to cross out wide, converted by Breslin to concluded a tough game with a 17-5 win.

But, it was in the final round robin fixture that we saw the try of the game, as Hartlepool Rovers full back, Caitlin Dunn took the ball from the defending 22 to run in under the posts to secure a 7-0 victory for the underdogs.

And with a win and loss under their belt, it was Hartlepool Rovers that took to the pitch once more to play first placed Sunderland Flames in the final.

It was obvious that Sunderland had a much tougher fight on their hands heading in to the second meeting, as the side joined the field with an unmatchable sense of achievement and pride.

Sunderland kicked off the game, with the Hartlepool Ladies carrying the ball strong into contact. Just a few minutes in, the Wearside ladies took the lead as Breslin broke the line to score under the posts.

Rovers continued to show their intent throughout with strong defensive pressure, but despite the physicality thrown at the side, Sunderland used the wider channels to pick up the gaps and score another two tries through Jill Riley and Pigford to win the competition 19-0.

The presentation of prizes was carried out by Durham 2018 President, David Sawyer in Billingham’s club house. And, it is questionable if third placed Darlington Ladies were the afternoon’s real winners with a crate of cider awarded to them from Women and Girls Chair, Jan Duncan.

A huge well done to all players that took part in the afternoon’s competition, it was noted as an excellent afternoon of talented rugby!

View the full album of photos from the afternoon, by Sally Evans, here.

By Clarissa Murphy

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