By Charlie Neal
The Durham Saints, directed by Head Coach Jonathan Rooney, kicked off the University varsity against Loughborough on what was an eagerly anticipated day of BUCS Premiership North American Football action.
Durham have been far superior in the competition this season, including, most notably, a first ever away win at Stirling, subjecting the Scottish side to their first home defeat in BUCS history back in December.
“That was the moment when we could really see our hard work paying off,” Club President Matt Bell explained. “If we keep doing what we’re doing, we could go somewhere.”
Such remarkable victories have been the story of the Durham Saints’ success this season, and the team, formed of talented rookies, sharpened returners and veteran scholars, had not even hit its peak yet.
“We say as a team that our aim is to win every play of every series, in practice and in matches. We’re fighting to improve every week,” Bell said.
Heading into the varsity fixture, the Saints had the opportunity to make it five matches unbeaten, having already achieved victories against newly-promoted NTU, Loughborough, Stirling and Derby. Loughborough, on the other hand, sought to avenge their previous defeat against the Saints last November, when Durham edged out a 22-19 victory.
Led by quarterback Dominic Bona, the Durham offense started the game in hungry fashion, tallying the first touchdown during the opening drive of the game. The second came just minutes later. Moreover, the Saints defence held Loughborough to a single touchdown, the other coming from a 70-yard kick return.
The stellar, all-around performance from Durham secured the 50-12 victory in the home side’s favour, and they showed once again why they are serious contenders this year. The Saints look to carry this momentum through to their next game against the Derby Braves on 12th February.
Photograph: Millie Alexander