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Durham Senior Men triumphant over visitors Staffordshire in the Bill Beaumont Championship

Durham Senior Men triumphant over visitors Staffordshire in the Bill Beaumont Championship

Durham County Men performed in front of a home crowd to secure a 99-7 victory over Staffordshire Men at Durham City Rugby Club.

Durham ran in winners in their first home fixture of the Bill Beaumont Championship, on Saturday.

Despite a resilient visiting side, Durham proved dominant in attack to tally a number of tries across the afternoon.

The hosts made an eager start, almost scoring through Chris Wood on the first attack, but a tackle from Staffordshire caught the side short of the try line. The reprieve was not to last for long and with just three minutes on the clock Wood crossed the line for a try converted by Warren Seals.

From that point on, it was a lot of one way traffic and by the 18th minute, Durham had scored 33 unanswered points thanks to a hat trick of tries from full back Grant Connon and one from captain Ollie Hodgson each of which were converted by Seals.

The hosts kept up the tempo and by half time they had tallied a further four tries through Conner Foley (2), Euan Tremlett and a second for the skipper. Seals success from the boot continued with three out of four conversions to lead 50-0 at the break.

The opening score of the second period came after just four minutes in, to total a third for Hodgson with Seals once again on target with the conversion.

Despite the best efforts of the visitors, they were unable to contain the rampant home side. On the 50th minute, Callum Burke joined the score board with an unconverted try. Following in his footsteps, the Durham attack triggered an array of points with two converted tries from Peter Homan and Talite Vaioleti.

Vaioleti added another to the score board as he barged over in the 68th minute with Seals continuing his clinical performance to slot the ball between the posts.

Staffordshire demonstrated their resilience in the 70th minute as they joined the scores sheet as Tom Windibank intercepted a pass before setting off the length of the field and crossing over, converted by Lee Brogan.

The visitors attack remained short lived as Durham proceeded to add points to the board through Homan and Peter Youll with four points from the boot of Seal to close the game 99-7.

Gus Miller, Durham County Men’s Coach commented on the game saying: “Staffordshire never gave up, but with lots of tries it was a great game for spectators to watch.

“For us it was a great opportunity to utilise our whole bench and give everyone a run out.

“It was a great second game for us to gather momentum heading into the last game.”

Following their triumphant win at the weekend, Durham currently sit top of the Division Two Pool One table with 'points for' separating them, and Leicestershire.

Miller added: “New players have come into the squad and fitted in really well.

“We have had around 26 players training and everyone is very enthusiastic about the championship and the feeling in camp is good.

“It is all part of the building process which is going really well.

“We are looking forward to our next challenge against Leicestershire. Last year they beat us at their place and Saturday will be our chance to reciprocate the favour to them.

“As coaching staff we could not be more delighted with the players’ attitude and commitment to the team, this year.”

Off the field, Durham awarded five of their players with County Championship caps including; Liam Checksfield, Peter Youll, Chris Wood, Andrew Kirkton and Charlie Purkiss-Mcendoo with Callum Whitehead and Peter Homan picking up their debutant ties.

The week previous saw ties awarded at the Cumbria game to players; Jack McPhillips, Sean Moloney, Michael Hughes, Rob Stanwix, Euan Tremlett and Luke Wilson.

Durham will host their second host fixture, this Saturday to determine the side to go on to play in the final at the home of rugby, Twickenham Stadium.

The game against Leicestershire will take place at Billingham Rugby Club, on Saturday May 19 from 2.30PM.

By Clarissa Murphy

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