Twickenham agony for Durham’s Darlington Mowden Park and former West Hartlepool star Gavin Painter

OFF TO TWICKENHAM: The Durham County rugby squad. Picture by IAN FLETCHER
OFF TO TWICKENHAM: The Durham County rugby squad. Picture by IAN FLETCHER
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GAVIN Painter has suffered Twickenham heartache.

The Hartlepool rugby player suffered a bad knee injury in Durham’s Billy Beaumont Cup Division Two victory over the East Midlands at Darlington.

Painter damaged his anterior cruciate ligament, ruling the former West star out of this Sunday’s final against Kent at the home of rugby.

The Darlington Mowden Park centre had played a key part in the opening Division Two North win at Eastern Counties the previous weekend.

It set up the winner-takes-all clash with East Midlands, but Painter missed much of it following twisting awkwardly after getting his studs stuck in the Blackwell Meadows turf.

Durham team secretary John Dove said: “I spoke to Gavin yesterday and he was feeling better.

“He was in a lot of pain on Saturday but he’s hoping it’s not as bad as he feared.

“Gavin is hoping to see the Mowden Park physio this week to try to get an early prognosis.

“It was a devastating blow for him but hopefully it’s not as bad as it looked.”

One other local player faces an anxious wait to see if he wins a place at Twickenham.

Paul Malcolm made a great debut for Durham at Eastern Counties but was a late withdrawal for the tie against East Midlands because of work commiments.

Young Billingham forward Anth Rumis stepped into the side to partner skipper Chris Wearmouth and performed very well.

Malcolm v Rumis will be one of the dilemmas facing the Durham selectors when they meet tomorrow night.

Mercurial attacker Peter Evans, scrum-half Danny Finney and forward Dan Burns all missed Saturday’s win because the trio were on tour in Germany with Billingham.

But each of their stand-ins played their parts at Blackwell Meadows.

Durham meet Kent at the unearthly hour of 10am at the home of rugby.

The contest is part one of a triple header, followed by the main Billy Beaumont Cup final between Lancashire and Yorkshire and then the main attraction, England’s New Zealand tour warm-up against the Barbarians.