RUGBY REPORT: Durham 24 East Midlands 8. Durham reach county final at Twickenham

TWO TRIES: Cameron Mitchell
TWO TRIES: Cameron Mitchell

DURHAM made it two wins out of two in the North section of the Billy Beaumont Cup to reach the Second Division final at Twickenham.

Martin Pepper and Chris Hyndman’s side got the better of East Midlands in a closely-fought winner-takes-all clash at Darlington.

Durham will now face Kent, who clinched the south league thanks to a 28-9 success over Somerset.

The final takes place on Sunday, June 1, ahead of the main Billy Beaumont Cup showpiece, Lancashire v Cornwall, with England’s traditional end-of-season clash with the Barbarians completing the triple header at rugby’s HQ.

Durham were always the favourites to go through but were given a hard test by East Midlands in wet conditions at Blackwell Meadows.

In fact, Midlands were first to show and established an 8-0 lead at the end of the first quarter through an unconverted try and penalty.

But Durham hit back with a Cameron Mitchell try, converted by Henry Johnson.

After the break, Johnson landed a penalty to edge Durham 10-8 up and then on 51 minutes, flanker Callum Mackenzie touched down for the second home try.

Johnson added the conversion to give Durham an eight-point lead.

East Midlands kept plugging away but as they were attacking desperately at the death, Mowden Park centre Mitchell made an interception and raced clear to score a try which Johnson converted.