Houghton miss out on County Cup joy to Barnard Castle

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HOUGHTON Rugby Club lost out to Barnard Castle in the County Cup final, losing 35-13.

The final was played at Durham RFC and was the first County Cup final for Houghton in 12 years, against opposition from the league above.

It was a frantic match, but despite the loss, Houghton can take credit for the way that they played and reflect on a remarkable season, reaching the County Cup final and gaining promotion.

Houghton’s Dan Bearn scored the first points of the game with a penalty.

Houghton’s pressure paid off minutes later when there was a scrum not too far from the try line.

A penalty resulted from the set piece to which Paul McBurnie quickly tapped the ball and darted for the line. The conversion was missed.

A penalty was awarded to Barnard soon after in which they converted to close the gap.

Minutes later, a Barnard kicker again made sure more points were gained and Houghton’s lead looked in doubt.

Barnard were now looking dangerous with every attack and they took an 11-8 lead into half-time.

Castle increased their lead minutes into the second half with a converted try.

Barnard made good ground and allowed the ball to be taken from the back of the maul and straight down an empty wing to score a try. The conversion was missed.

The ball was picked out of the back of another maul and was easily touched down as Houghton began to tire.

A messy but effective try was scored by Houghton’s McBurnie with bodies everywhere, but the conversion was missed.

Late on, Barnard made a strong counter attack down field and after some poor defending, they crossed the line.

The conversion was scored in the last action of the game and Barnard toasted the victory and the Cup.