Trophy Retained: EDC Head Rugby coach Gary Beck (centre) with the Merit Cup along with players Ben Norris (Left) and Ryan Mcleod (Right)

EDC RFU Wins the Merit Cup, AGAIN!

Sat, 2002-03-09 00:00

East Durham College’s rugby team have successfully retained the North East College’s Merit League Grand Final Cup.

The College saw off Stockton Riverside College and Prior Pursglove College to retain their crown as top rugby college in the North East.

The Merit League involves 13 sixth forms and further education colleges from around the North East with the top four placed teams qualifying for the Grand Final showdown, which was held on Friday at Druids Park, Gosforth Rugby Club, in Newcastle.

East Durham College, who topped the Merit League, faced Stockton Riverside College in their semi-final and proved too strong as they ran in comfortable winners in the 20-minutes each way match scoring 36 points to SRC’s five.

The College went over for six tries; Andrew King, Liam Armstrong and Andrew Lawson in the first half with James Camm (x2) and Lee Woods adding to the total in the second. Fly half Ollie Gray added six points with the boot, converting three out of six.

EDC then faced the team they defeated in last year’s Grand Final, Prior Pursglove College from Guisborough in Cleveland. The game was again played over a 20-minutes each way format.

Prior put up some strong resistance in the first half holding the score to 0-0 but then East Durham showed their quality in the second half to win 12 point to nil by the final whistle.

Hooker Adam Keeler went over for the first try of the match following a great period of pressure from EDC which resulted in the forwards driving the ball from the 22 metre line for a real team-effort try.

The game was then sealed when Liam Armstrong, blindside flanker, scored his second try of the finals and Ollie Gray slotted over the conversion.

Head coach Gary Beck was delighted with his young team’s effort and thrilled to retain the cup.

“Once again the team was made up of a lot of first years so this win was all the more impressive.

“We started off a bit sloppy in the first half against Prior with slow ball and some poor handling errors. But we sorted that out at half time and the forwards really took control setting up nice tidy quick ball for the back to then do their thing and show their superior strength and speed.

“I’m really proud of the lads and this should give them some extra confidence going into Wednesday’s BCS national quarter final, which I’m sure is going to be a very stiff test indeed.”

The County Durham-based college are the sole North of England representatives left in the British Colleges Sport (BCS) Under 19’s National Cup competition, making it through to the last eight for the first time in their history.

They will play Coleg Menai from Bangor, Wales, at the Houghall Campus on Wednesday 13th March.

EDC Rugby Squad