Easter Feast of International Hockey at Durham
(16 March 2005)
The European Girls Invitational Hockey Championships is being hosted at the University of Durham’s Graham Sports Centre in Durham City over the Easter weekend March 25th – 28th.
Eight international sides from England, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain will contest the U16 & U18 championships during the daytime, with each of the four evening fixtures featuring a test match between the England and German U21 ladies. Durham will also play host to the England U16 & U18 sides for three days prior to the tournament for a training camp.
The tournament is being organised by a partnership of the University of Durham, Durham Sporting Club, Durham Sport and Durham City Council in association with England Hockey. It is hoped that the tournament will help to inspire school children from the region to pursue their own sporting endeavours.
As such, the event is being marketed to schools around the region through the partnerships various networks. Schoolchildren from the county’s three Sports Colleges have also been invited to act as ball boys and girls.
Dave Miller, Chairman of Durham Sporting Clubs’ Hockey Action Group believes, “With fair weather we expect to attract crowds upwards of 300 people each day from the local hockey community, in addition to those parents attending from across Europe. With the significance of the event to the county and regions sports strategy we hope to attract sponsorship to allow us to erect some temporary seating pitch side at the venue to make the event that little bit more special for the kids.”
Dr Peter Warburton, Director of Sport at the University of Durham said “The award of the tournament evidences the dramatic change afoot in Durham Hockey, we hosted our first international last Summer between the England and Scotland U21 boys, and in September we appointed the former double Olympic and World Cup coach of the USA and South Africa, and Durham old boy, Gavin Featherstone as our full time hockey coach.”
The former double Olympic and World Cup coach said, “I see hosting the tournament as part of a wider strategy to increase the profile of Hockey at the University both regionally and nationally. This summer also sees the launch of our residential hockey camps bringing the finest youth hockey talent to the north east, with a view to them potentially pursing both their studies and hockey at Durham. The camps have generated interest from around the country; I would encourage those whom we have not reached in the north east to contact us for further information”.
The tournament takes place on the University’s water based Astroturf pitch at the Graham Sports Centre, the only water field between Wakefield and Edinburgh, and was last year voted the North of England’s best surface.
The pitch is one of the English Institute of Sports (E.I.S) world class facilities and was laid in Spring 2002 at a cost of £868,000 thanks to a grant of £625,000 from Sport England/E.I.S, with the remainder being supplied by the University.
Further information on both event sponsorship and the Gavin Featherstone Hockey Camps is available from the University’s full time Sports Marketing Officer, Ben Dowding, on 0191 334 2165.
Ben Dowding, University of Durham, Sports Marketing Officer – 0191 334 2165 Helen McLaughlin, One North East, Marketing & Public Relations – 0191 229 6322