Durham Tigers recovered from an opening day defeat to demolish Whitley Bay Barbarians 68-10 North East Division of the Conference, newcomer David Kell scoring a hat-trick of tries and ten goals to end with a personal tally of 32 points - but still he didn't win man of the match!

Durham Tigers shrugged off a Round 1 defeat to bounce back impressively against Whitley Bay, a new team in the Conference.

The game was played on Sunday to allow the Barbarians to host their annual junior rugby league festival, the largest rugby league event in the country. However the change of day evidently was of no concern to a Tigers team that had learned much from the first game against Newcastle Knights the week before.

A new-look half-back pairing of David Kell and Dave Cullen tore the visitors to shreds from the very start, with Damien Quinn deputising for the injured McIntosh at hooker and having an excellent game. The experienced Eddie Richie put in a top performance at loose forward, consistently punching holes in a struggling Whitley Bay defence for his half-backs to exploit.

Again the Durham backs looked dangerous throughout, with Chris Metcalfe scoring a brace of tries and full back Will Kirtley scoring the Tigers' second hat-trick. Stand-off Kell scored the other, and kicked 10 goals for a personal tally of 32 points. Winger Paul Wood scored a try, as did Richie, but the performance of the day came from Dave Cullen, whose two tries and commanding orchestration of the game earned him Durham's man of the match award. Hardworking second rower Steven Argument had his customary good game, and there was a welcome return from the bench for Matt Mulholland.

The game was over as a contest by half-time, with the Tigers leading 40-6.

However to their credit the Barbarians battled gamely throughout the second half, scoring a further try and tightening up considerably in defence. All the same Tigers' Head Coach Andy Dixon was delighted with the result. "The rate that the new guys are learning the game is fantastic," he commented.

"We played some fast, inventive rugby today and I'm very pleased."

Tigers now look forward to yet another home game, this time the derby match against Sunderland City tomorrow (2.30pm). Durham Tigers play their home games at Framwellgate School.

There was no game for Billingham-based Teesside Steelers this week, giving them a rest week before travelling to take on the unpredictable Manchester Knights next Saturday.

* Anyone wanting further information about Durham Tigers should contact Mark Wightman on (0191) 384 7779.