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1959 - 1968 - The Mike Weston Era

For almost a decade in the 1960’s Durham County XV revived memories of the Halcyon Era at the beginning of the 20th., Century when firstly under West player, Jim Collard's Captaincy (then with Headingley) later  Mike Weston’s Captaincy,  the County appeared in 4 National County Semi Finals and two Finals, sharing the Championship once.

The County XV finals record for the era reads:

1958/1959 – Semi Finalists lost to Gloucestershire at Gloucester

1959/1960 – Semi Finalists lost to Warwickshire at Coventry

1961/1962 – Semi Finalists lost to Hampshire at Bournemouth

1964/1965 – Finalists lost to Warwickshire at Hartlepool

1966/1967 – Shared Championship with Surrey a draw at Twickenham then a draw at Hartlepool.

1967/1968 - Semi Finalists lost to Middlesex at Richmond

The County XV were also North Division Champions in seasons 1958-59, 59-60, 61-62, 64-65, 66 – 67 and 67 – 68.

Unlike the “Halcyon” era, it was not all plane sailing for Weston’s XV, in season 60/61 they came home in Fourth, whilst in 63/64 and 65/66 they ended up in Fifth spot from the six placings!

In addition, a number of town players achieved higher playing honours with Tony Peart and John Dee from Rovers playing for England, John Dee also toured with the 1962 Lions and Terry Arthur from West also turning out for England.  Terry Arthur also gained a Blue at Cambridge whilst Denny Jesson from Rovers achieved a similar honour with Oxford. 

As with the previous era, games against the Southern Hemisphere sides also saw local players pitting their talents against the tourists for N E Counties with Wilf Woodward playing against the Australians in 1958 at Gosforth,   Denny Jesson against the 1960 South Africans again at Gosforth, Tony Peart met up with the 1964 All Blacks at Harrogate and John Dee also played for N E Counties against the 1966 Australians.  Plus John Dee and Tony Peart also toured with the Barbarians.

Another remarkable feature of the Durham players in this era was the number that played away from the County due to their careers but travelled to play for the side. Among the clubs listed in the various programmes are City of Derry, Bedford,Richmond, Blackheath, Coventry, Metropolitan Police, Rosslyn Park, Moseley, Fylde and Headingley.

 

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