EDC Wins Merit League Grand Final

Thu, 12/07/2001 - 01:00

East Durham College’s rugby team have won this year’s Merit League Grand Final.

The Durham-based College won the season ending finale 17 points to 14 in a hard fought encounter with Prior Pursglove College, who are based in Guisborough, Cleveland.

Tries from East Durham College’s Terry Haley, Nathan Horsfall and Sam Laidler - with one conversion by Cameron Toole – secured the impressive win.

This year the Merit League involved 13 Sixth Form and Further Education Colleges from around the North East and the Grand Final acted as a curtain-raiser to Newcastle Falcon’s home match with Sale Sharks, which the Falcons won 22 -19.

The team were presented with the trophy as part of the half time entertainment at the Kingston Park stadium.

Head of Rugby at East Durham College Liam Gumbrill said: “I’m very proud of the boys. They’ve worked extremely hard all year and have achieved beyond expectations as the majority of the team are first years.”

Despite East Durham College’s comfortable win over Prior Pursglove at the start of the season, Prior, who were defending champions, made the Grand Final a much harder game.

East Durham College began nervously and allowed Prior to get an early upper hand with possession. But despite the early pressure, East Durham College scored first through some flowing rugby, attacking quickly down the blindside, putting Terry Haley in for the opening try. Prior replied with a penalty towards the end of the first half.

The second half saw East Durham College continuing to run the ball and attack at every opportunity. After strong early pressure, from the East Durham College forwards, Sam Laidler went crashing over for a try with five Prior players hanging off him.

East Durham College continued the rest of the half in the same manner with Man of the Match Colin Coulson making valuable yards throughout the game - running through, round and over the opposition.

The final winning try came from Nathan Horsfall dancing through a tired Prior defence.