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Durham University

Durham University News

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Charity rugby match attracts the biggest ever crowd

(13 February 2004)

A record crowd of 4,500 made history and raised £7,000 for the English Federation of Disability Sport at Durham City’s Hollow Drift ground. The charity rugby match organised by Team Durham and Durham University’s Charity Kommittee attracted the largest ever crowd for a University event.

With almost one third of the student population in attendance the match was close to breaking the record for the biggest rugby crowd outside the Zurich Premiership.

DURFC Secretary Edward Wood said, “I have never been prouder of Durham University Rugby than I am tonight, it was a very special night for both the players and the crowd, whose behaviour was exemplary.”

The result was a triumph for Durham University over local rivals Northumbria 27 – 6. Durham put on an impressive performance against a strong opposition who included six of their Falcons Academy players in their line up.

Durham scored four unanswered tries from inside centre Stuart Peel, lock Louis Mitchell and two from flanker Tom Maloney. Fly-half Tom Dillon kicked two conversions and a penalty to Northumbria’s two penalties.

Fiona Patterson of the benefiting charity the English Federation of Disability Sport North East was delighted with the event. Fiona said, “What a great success! The whole event from the lead-in through to tonight has hugely increased the profile of Disability Sport in the North East amongst Universities and the wider community. I couldn’t be happier’. The £7,000 will be used to encourage greater pursuit of sport and leisure qualifications, and involvement in university sport by people with disabilities.”

Durham University, Director of Sport, Peter Warburton added, ‘A special thank you must go out to the crowd’s generous support of our charity and the hundreds of volunteers who made the event possible. It was also particularly pleasing to hear the reception afforded to the primary school children from our local Education Action Zone during and after their Tag Rugby Tournament.”

At half time Falcons Director of Rugby and ex-England fly-half Rob Andrew, presented Durham University Athletic Union President Phil Brown with an award to commemorate Durham’s 5th place finish in the British University Sports Association rankings last year.

Entertainment included current Falcons fly-half Dave Walder taking three attempts to award the fridge of beer in the kicking raffle from the half-way line. Amongst the ex-Durham & Northumbria current Falcons presented to the crowd were Michael Stephenson, Jamie Noon, Craig Hamilton, Micky Ward and Nick Makin.

Further Information

Ben Dowding, University of Durham, Sports Marketing Officer 0191 334 2165 / 07803939649

Notes to Editors

1. Team Durham is the University of Durham’s strategy for supporting sporting excellence. The aim of Team Durham is to: Establish the University of Durham as one of the top six sporting universities in Britain by 2005 (placed 5th in BUSA rankings 2002/03);

Ensure that high-level performers are in a position to enter world-class and high-performance club programmes on leaving the University of Durham;

Provide an infrastructure that supports individuals of all abilities whilst studying at the University of Durham;

Further the development of sporting relationships with our partners locally, regionally and nationally.

2. DUCK is Durham University's equivalent of Rag. Rag means "Raise and Give". DUCK raise money for local, national and international charities in as many fun ways as possible, trying to involve as many people as possible throughout the year. Last year DUCK donated over £85,000 to over 100 different charities.

3. English Federation of Disability Sport is the national organisation responsible for the developing sport and physical activity for disabled people. In the North East, EFDS are working with key partners to promote inclusion and equality within regional plans for sport and empower disabled people to take a full and active role within the development and delivery of sport.