DURHAM University are league champions again after winning the BUCS Premier North for a third consecutive season.
His side unbeaten in league action in more than three years, coach Alex Keay’s Palatinates capped a 12-game winning season with a 41-12 defeat of Newcastle University.
Durham, beaten finalists in last year’s BUCS Cup final after winning the competition the season before, are also through to the quarter-finals of the knock-out tournament again.
That round will be played on February 27 after warm-ups against Newcastle Falcons’ Development Team and England Students, for whom four of their current squad have been capped.
Meanwhile, in tomorrow’s club action, Tynedale welcome back Matthew Charters to their squad for the National One trip to Cinderford.
Called off three weeks ago due to the snow, Charters returns for the rescheduled clash after 12 weeks out with shin-splints.
Ollie Stedman’s recent move to Newcastle Falcons makes the timing of his reintroduction all the better, chairman of rugby John Shotton expecting a “glue-pot pitch” at the picturesque Gloucestershire venue.
Reporting another shortage of bodies, Shotton added: “We are struggling for numbers again.
“We lost Graeme Dunn with concussion last week at Coventry, Andy Murray went off injured so will not be available and we have 11 players who have played five or more games for us this season all out injured.
“Our captain Jack Harrison is still out for another two or three weeks, but we will battle on.”
Blaydon will be looking for a continuation of their return to winning ways as they host Blackheath.
The Londoners travel north following the postponement of the original date due to the wintry weather.
Micky Ward’s men remain second in the table after last weekend’s defeat of Wharfedale.
In National Two North, third-placed Darlington Mowden Park host the team immediately above them, Hull Ionians, in their second game at the town’s new arena.
Relegation-threatened West Hartlepool travel to bottom club Kendal in National Three North, with Northern hosting Morpeth in North One East’s mid-table contest.
In County Championship action Northumberland Under-20s face Lancashire in Morpeth on Sunday with a 2.15pm kick-off, while Durham have a bye in the Shield competition.