A SCHOOL with a proud sporting tradition is celebrating a notable achievement.

Durham School underlined its strength on the rugby field by winning the county titles at three age categories last Saturday.

The independent school's under-14, under-15 and under-16 teams completed their hat-trick within a few hours at Durham City RUFC's Hollow Drift ground last Saturday.

Under-14s beat Yarm School in the County Cup final.

The game, played over two 30-minute halves, was scoreless until the closing stages when a single unconverted try was enough to settle a close contest in Durham's favour.

Spurred on by the victory, the under-15s beat Barnard Castle School 20-12 in their final.

The under-16s completed the third leg of the treble by beating Barnard Castle with the most convincing scoreline of the day, 34-20.

Director of sport Paul Gerrard, who heads the school's coaching team, said: "It doesn't get much better than this. We had high hopes for all three teams, although the under-16s were without three key players as they had been selected to play for England squads on the day."

Patrick Dias and Robert Smith were in the Northern England side, while Aarin Yorke was given a call-up to the full England under-16 side.

Under-14 coach Gary Froud said the attitude of his young players was a major factor in their success.

"The lads' commitment is total and their passion for the game goes without saying."

Members of the wining under-15 side hope to add to their county success at national level.

The team is preparing for the semi-finals of the Daily Mail National Cup at Wolverhampton's Castlecroft Stadium on March 15.

Should the team win through it would ensure a trip to the headquarters of rugby, Twickenham, for a much deserved final.

The success continues a fine rugby playing lineage at the school, whose former pupils include several talented players who have gone on to make their mark in the professional game.

These include current players Michael Stephenson, Hall Charlton and James Isaacson, who all play for Newcastle Falcons, and Bristol's Lee Best.