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EDC Push Barnard Castle Close In Daily Mail Cup

Mon, 03/12/2001 - 00:00

East Durham College’s rugby team battled hard for the full 80 minutes against Barnard Castle School but just couldn’t recover after conceding two early tries.

The match, being played as part of the 4th round of the Daily Mail Cup, was played at the College’s Houghall Campus and was only EDC’s second competitive game of the season, following a bye for the College in the second round as Gateshead College were unable to field a team.

Despite that, things started off well for the College as they were strong through the first 15 minutes testing and probing, trying to find their way through a well organised Barnard Castle defence.

But then Barnard took control of the ball and slowly edged it closer and closer towards the EDC line.

The College defence was determined but unfortunately just not strong enough as Ian Cameron eventually got the ball over the line for Barnard to claim the first points of the match. Brett Upton then stepping up to safely send over the conversion.

EDC’s confidence seemed to take a real knock after conceding the first try of the game as from the restart their push to get back on level terms didn’t last long.

A couple of quick drives forward were desperately gathered and kicked into touch by East Durham but they struggled to stop the onslaught and Barnard’s Alex Finkill scored a second try for the away team. The conversion was successfully slotted home from the boot of Upton.

But unlike the first try this one seemed to spur on EDC to get themselves back in the game.

The College worked hard on a long drive to carry the ball up field, winning a couple of line outs and battling through a number of scrums before Alex Wharmby broke away and got the ball across the line. Cameron Toole then stepped up to successfully convert the extra points.

But the first half wasn’t over yet, as Barnard won the ball and got it back up field before East Durham gave away a penalty which Upton kicked over for the last points of the half to make it 7-17 at the break.

Head Coach Liam Gumbrill’s wise words at half time gave EDC a push and when they came out for the second half they started the same way that they started the first half, in the ascendancy.

East Durham continued to ask questions of the Barnard back line and pushed hard in an attempt to get themselves back into the match.

But before the College could get some more points on the board, Barnard Castle stepped it up again and drove back at EDC and won themselves another penalty, with Upton stepping up to put away for his fourth successful kick of the match.

Despite now needing two tries and conversions the College didn’t give up. They looked the stronger side for the last 20 minutes, but just couldn’t get the ball over the line.

On three separate occasions EDC had the ball centimetres from the try line but sloppy handing just let them down at the last.

Barnard held strong and when they had the ball seemed happy to run the clock down, finally taking the victory 7 points to 20 and a place in the next round.

The College were very disappointed to be knocked out of the tournament but can be proud of their valiant effort throughout the match. The result also showed good progress and Barnard Castle had beaten the College in the 4th round last year by 45 points to nil.

The side now head back to the training field to prepare themselves for a trip to face Darlington’s QE Sixth Form on Wednesday 14th November.