By Erin Collins
They say the pen is mightier than the sword… But on Friday 3rd May, all of Durham was invited to put down their pens, pause their jobs and revision, and support the college rugby teams as they battled it out in Durham’s largest, and arguably most exciting, charity rugby event. No swords were drawn but the best that college rugby has to offer were either defending the Hill’s impressive
Durham isn’t huge, so the chances are, you will have known at least someone on either the men’s or the women’s team. Both promised to be a spectacle and neither match disappointed. In short, the Hill upheld their reputation for winning, although the Bailey came out all guns blazing it wasn’t to be. The Hill Men’s XV have been undefeated for nearly a decade, every year that the stakes get higher, the Bailey grow hungrier to unseat them.
And this year they came much closer. Indeed, for the first half, the Bailey maintained a good lead. Before the match, Hill manager Connor Rutherford admitted that the Hill hadn’t been taking training very seriously, focussing instead on some ‘flair’ moves.
After all, for a charity match, entertainment is key. Apart from a huge overthrow on a lineout deftly received by a centre, few moves appeared and the Bailey capitalised. However, strong words must have been had by captain Chris Waring as the Hill returned to the pitch with determined ferocity and quickly capitalised. The match finished with a score of 21-19.
The Hill vs Bailey game was created as a fundraiser for Sport in Action, a charity working in Zambia
As for the women, historically the competition has always been closer, but the balance has tended to tip in favour of the Hill. However, as college rugby draws in a huge number of beginners, both teams faced the challenge of training up a team of women who have never played a game of full XVs rugby.
With that in mind, on this pitch, talents are discovered, and teams are tested for the first time. It’s really all to play for. The Bailey women put in a great effort, holding off relentless attacks and forcing the Hill to confine their tries to the corners. However, the Hill finished with a very impressive clean sheet, leaving the pitch with a score of 29-0.
The Hill vs Bailey game was created as a fundraiser for Sport in Action, a charity working in Zambia. The game historically raises an incredible amount of money as the players must raise a target as well as the usual ticket sales and donations. This year, the match supported Sport in Action’s sister charity Perfect Day Foundation. They aim to create safe, sustainable educational environments and to inspire young leaders across Zambia. It’s rather poetic really, asking people to give up an afternoon of work to support the work of other young people across the world.
This year ticket sales alone raised nearly £1,500 and money from donations and player’s contributions are still being counted. The weather conspired against us, offering up all four seasons over the course of the afternoon, but to everyone who came and supported, we would like to offer a huge thank you for supporting the cause.
Image by Edgar Pimenta via Unsplash