Durham Tigers

Andy CampbellUncategorized

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Durham Tigers

Established early 1990s


Previously known as: Durham Phoenix

Founders: The team was formed by Steve Rich and was based at the cricket club in Langley Moor in the city of Durham .

Club colours and badge: Yellow & Black

Previous Home Venue(s): Langley Moor in the city of DurhamFramwellgate School, Bishop Aukland RUFC, Shildon


When adult rugby league moved to a summer season, the Tigers, located at a cricket ground, could not play in the summer. Without the backing of adult rugby the junior section failed to flourish. The game in the area was revived when Lisa Jaggar, Rugby League North East regional development officer, asked Gareth Barron and Phil Selby to form a senior side to go into the Rugby League Conference North East division to fill a gap created when Gateshead Panthers merged into Newcastle Knights before the 2001 season.

The newly renamed Durham Phoenix struggled but were eventually rescued when players from Gateshead Storm helped out Durham. After this initial season the club returned to their former name of Durham Tigers.

The club moved to Bishop Auckland RFC’s West Mills ground. With an influx of players from Bishop Auckland RFC and Consett RFC as well as Yorkshire-based players the team flourished. Durham Tigers won the North East division in 2005 and went into the national play-offs only to lose to Wetherby Bulldogs.

Junior development then became the issue, having become one of the top junior sides in the North East, the under-16s joined the Yorkshire Youth league.

In 2007 Durham stepped up and joined the North Premier Division. Coach John Coutts joined Gateshead Storm and a couple of leading players went with him. Yorkshire-based players stopped playing for Durham when a Yorkshire Premier division was formed. Results were poor and the team folded after a big defeat by Jarrow Vikings. Following on from this the club committee decided to concentrate on junior development.

Durham planned to upgrade facilities at Bishop Auckland in partnership with Bishop Auckland RFC having acquired Sports England Club Mark status. However, the club’s lease was revoked and Durham Tigers initially re-located to St. John’s School. However, in March 2010 the club moved into the Sunnydale Leisure Centre in Shildon with the intention of making this their long term home.

In 2015 Durham Tigers is the only Community based Rugby League Club based in South Durham with their home still at Shildon. The club continues to seek new players and develop them, encouraging players to play both codes of rugby at junior level to maximise their development. In 2015 the club was accredited as an England Player development Club by the RFL and several coaches were accredited as England Player Development Coaches after completing the successful Embed the Pathway programme.

The year culminated with Jake Egglestone (developed through the junior teams at Tigers) becoming a regular for the Newcastle Thunder Under 19’s and Nathaniel Kitching being selected as the captain of the Newcastle Thunder Academy under 16’s team.