By Charlie Neal
After last season’s heartbreaking defeat in the National Final to close rivals Stirling, the Durham Saints are looking to go the distance in the 2017/18 BUCS Premiership season.
“We use that feeling of hurt after losing in the National Final to make us work twice as hard on the field and in the gym, to prevent it happening again,” Club President Joe Partington says.
To avoid a repeat of the 2016/17 National Final, the Saints need results from their experienced core of refined returners and American scholars. However, the newly-acquired rookies are, in many ways, as important.
It is solid depth that earns Championships, and the rookies should provide this.
“The rookies’ progression has been exceptional, this year. At least one rookie will be starting in our preseason game against Newcastle.”
Defensively, the Durham Saints have obtained scholars with previous experience in both the NCAA and the NFL. These new acquisitions will be joined by the likes of proven Cornerback Euan Cormack and Defensive End Joe Partington when the revamped team makes its season debut in Loughborough on 5th November.
Offensively, the roster is perhaps the strongest in Saints history. The team boast an elite receiving corps with finalists Harry Robinson and Donovan Swanepoel. After standout rookie and sophomore years respectively, they will be joined by scholars from the University of Chicago, Cornell University, and the University of Miami.
Partington clarifies what we should expect from the 2017/18 Saints: “We want to send out a statement of intent to the rest of the country in our first game.”
Photograph: Camilla Alexander