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Women’s Rugby BUCS Championship Final - Durham vs Exeter

(15 April 2019)

Durham University Women’s Rugby 1st XV came head to head last week with reigning Champions Exeter University in a battle to claim the BUCS National Championship title. Both teams had gone undefeated all year winning their respective North and South Premier Leagues and it was only yesterday’s final, played at Twickenham Stadium, that would separate them.

A close game

The game started with a quick try and conversion from Exeter, however, undeterred our girls immediately responded with some strong carries back into the Exeter half. As 16 minutes hit, a stunning solo run from full back Sophie Shams gave Durham their first try and a conversion from Beth Blacklock saw the score level up 7-7.

At 24 minutes and inside the Durham 22, Exeter won and converted a penalty to take them 3 points clear. As resilient as ever, the girls came back fighting and after another blistering break from Shams, Lydia Crossman went over the try line. Blacklock converted again to give Durham the lead, 14-10 with 9 minutes left of the clock. After several phases back in the Durham half, Exeter won a penalty and after kicking for the corner again took the lead with another try, this time unconverted, so the half time scores read DUR 14 – EXE 15.

Durham came out of the changing rooms fired up for what would be a thrilling second and 2 minutes in Crossman went over the line again for another 5 points, Captain Beth Blacklock secured the extra 2 and Durham soon found themselves with a 6 point lead. The next 10 minutes was nail-biting and Exeter managed to claw back another try but again the kick fell short which still left Durham ahead by 1 point and with 20 minutes to go the board read DUR 21 – EXE 20.

Exeter was next over the line and after consulting the touch judge the try was awarded by the referee and Exeter took a 6 point lead after successfully converting. The game was still far from over as Durham broke again, moving swiftly into the Exeter 22, Shams crossed over for her second try of the game, however, the conversion was just out and Exeter retained a 1 point lead going into the closing stages. A penalty for Exeter in the last minute of the game meant the scoreline finished DUR 26 – EXE 30. A valiant effort from all of our DUWRFC athletes and coaching staff and the girls should hold their heads up high as they put on an excellent display from start to finish. 

Very proud of the team 

Although they did not lift the trophy, what they have done in the BUCS league this year is groundbreaking. ‘Firsts’ can never be broken and the girls have achieved so many this season and have laid the foundations for years to come. What a great season it has been for DUWRFC, we extend a huge congratulations to everyone involved in what has been the most successful one in the clubs 36-year history showing that our rugby programme is only going from strength to strength.