East Durham College's North of England rugby representatives (L-R) Back row - Colin Coulson, Lee Little, Bradley Freeman, Liam Armstrong Front row - Cameron Toole, Nathan Horsfall, Joe Arrowsmith

East Durham College's Magnificent Seven

Sat, 2001-12-08 00:00

Seven members of East Durham College’s Elite Rugby team have been selected to represent the North of England squad in two upcoming games.

EDC captain Colin Coulson, vice captain Cameron Toole, flanker Liam Armstrong, prop Bradley Freeman, second row Lee Little, scrum half Nathan Horsfall and last year’s England Colleges captain Joe Arrowsmith have all made it through the first round of trials and will now go on to represent the North of England Colleges’ side.

Initially they will join up with other members of the squad for a training camp at Myerscough College in Lancashire.

The side then make the journey south to face a side representing the East of England on Sunday 25th November and then go up against a side representing the Midlands on Sunday 9th December, both games will be played at Solihull Bees Portway Ground in Birmingham.

These two games will also act as England trials, with players aiming to impress to gain a place in the coveted England Colleges BCS squad.

EDC Head Rugby Coach Liam Gumbrill is immensely proud of the players’ achievements and believes they have the ability and talent to advance through this next round of trials to represent the BCS national side.

Liam said: “This is an excellent achievement for all the boys and shows that the Elite Athlete Scholarship programme at EDC is working.

“Nathan and Joe made it through to this stage last year, with Joe going on to actually captain the England team. So I’m sure Joe will want to achieve this honour again and Nathan will want to go one stage further too.

“This season the College side has really stepped up a level as we are now competing in the BCS Elite League, playing against teams that have players on the Advance Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence programmes, linked to professional clubs such as the Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks. So this level of competition has helped to up their standard of play altogether.

“At the North of England trials, our players put on a great show and were some of the most talented players out on the pitch. This bodes well for their chances in the next round of trials.”

And Ian McCombes, British Colleges Sports Regional Coordinator and England Colleges’ rugby team manager has praised the coaching at East Durham for producing the great talent that’s coming through to represent the North of England squad.

Ian added: “The standard of rugby from the North East team was very high and a number of players from East Durham College excelled, particularly Joe Arrowsmith who was outstanding.

“The fact that seven of the East Durham players have made the North squad is a testament to the hard work being done by their head coach, Liam Gumbrill.”

And last year’s England Colleges captain Joe Arrowsmith believes being part of the last squad helped to raise his level of performance and is looking forward to being involved with the Northern side again and hopefully making it through again to the national side.

Joe said: “I was really proud to captain the national side last year and I feel the whole experience really helped me take my game to another level being around a whole host of quality players.

“I’m looking forward to being part of the North of England side once again and hope that I will be able to perform to the best of my ability and make it through to represent the England side again.”

For more details on the Elite Athlete Sports Scholarship Programme at East Durham College please contact 0191 518 8319.