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1894 - 1900 - Durham County XVs - A changing world

Images from the upheavals within the Game from 1893 to the end of the decade.  At the 1893 AGM of the RFU, the rules on Amateurism had been defined, locally clubs were demanding Leagues to provide better competition that the Knockout Cups, the Junior Clubs (around 40 of them at the time in the County)) had been agitating for representation on the Union, the County Championship had ceased, and a new system initiated, the Referees Society had been formed. In addition, there were complaints of the domination of the County XV system by Rovers and Sunderland.

Against this background, a major response was made by Durham County Union to the challenges from 1894, which saw the end of the Ashbrooke/Friarage fiefdom with the County matches, Trials and Cup Finals being staged throughout the County and not just at the Big Two.  The County Championship games came to the Victoria Ground, Spennymoor, South Shields, and Low Fell Gateshead, Trials at Tyne Dock and South Shields, the Junior Cup Finals being staged at Sherburn, Boldon and Jarrow, among others. The County Junior clubs were given representation on the County, the Referees Society became part of the Union, and went from strength to strength. Eventually Leagues were introduced in 1902.

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