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Durham University

Durham University News

Major sporting achievements

General sporting information and accolades

  • World-class, multi-million pound facilities on two campuses, including a £1m powered rowing tank, one of only three in the UK.
  • The only world-class standard, fencing specific facility in the UK with 8 dedicated fencing pistes (4 practice, 4 competition)
  • Durham's women are currently ranked first in the British University and College Sport (BUCS) Championship and its men are ranked second.
  • Durham University won five national championships last year (women's and men's lacrosse, women's tennis and rowing, and men's rugby).
  • Durham University are eight times defending British University Rowing Champions.
  • 92% of students participate in sport - believed to be the highest participation rate amongst UK universities at all levels.
  • Durham is a hub for community sports at all levels, with an acclaimed outreach programme, the largest of its kind in the UK.
  • Currently ranked top of nine University premier leagues.
  • The University offers a three-year undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in Sport.


  • 21 members of Durham University Boat Club have gone on to represent their country at international level over the last eight years.
  • Durham University rowers are eight times defending British University Rowing Champions.
  • Current student, Lily van den Broecke, won gold in the 2011 World Rowing Championships, and is potentially a Great Britain Paralympic Games Team Member as a cox.
  • Current student Will Fletcher - GB U23 World Lightweight Men's coxless fours 2010 (gold) and 2011, and lightweight men's coxless quad 2009 (bronze) - has been invited to trial for the 2012 GB Olympic Team.
  • Former Durham University apprentice, Kieren Emery, who has won two gold medals at the World Rowing Championships, has been mentored by Durham University rowing coach Wade Hall-Craggs (who himself competed at the Barcelona Olympics and is an alumnus of Durham University Boat Club).
  • Former Durham University students James Clark (Olympic Games 2008 Lightweight Men's 4s) and Emily Taylor, who both learnt to row at Durham, are potentially Great Britain 2012 Olympic Games Team Members.
  • Former Durham University students Louisa Reeve, Sophie Hosking and Stephen Rowbotham are potentially 2012 Olympic Games Team Members.
  • Rob Morgan, former student of Durham University, was one of the coaches for the 2008 Olympics and has been selected to coach the Men's lightweight for Great Britain for the 2012 Olympics.


  • Current student and Olympic hopeful, Kira Roberts, won gold medals in fencing at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and at the British Universities and Colleges Sport Championships. She is potentially a GB Olympic Games Team Member.
  • Fencing coaching is led by Laszlo Jakab, Professor of fencing and Paralympic Great Britain Coach.
  • The fencing facility is part of British Fencing's National Academy - Sports Universities North East England (SUNEE). The venue will be hosting the National Fencing Academy up to two times a year with fencers from Scotland, West Midlands, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
  • We currently have four wheelchair fencers training with Laszlo Jakab. National and international training camps will be hosted at the facility in preparation for London 2012 and Rio 2016.
  • The fencing facility is also used by the Regional Fencing Centre, Durham (RFCD), which offers training to all ages and abilities from beginners to elite, supporting fencing throughout the North East.
  • Durham is one of four national centres that host British Fencing's National Academy and advanced junior training as part of the national 2020 strategy to produce Olympic podium potential.


  • Durham University was the first University in the World to have a Centre of Excellence. The founder of the Centre of Excellence is ex-England batsman, Graeme Fowler.
  • Durham is just one of six universities to have First Class County Cricket status and competes against at least three County sides every season.
  • In the last 25 years, Durham University has produced numerous Test and County cricketers, including ex-England captain, Nasser Hussain, and the current captain, Andrew Strauss.
  • Durham University Cricket Club has a fine record of producing players who go onto professional cricket. Notable alumni include:
    • Paul Allott - Lancashire County Cricket Club (CCC) and England
    • John Stephenson - Essex CCC and Head of Marylebone Cricket Club
    • Simon Hughes - Middlesex CCC, Durham CCC
    • Nasser Hussain - Essex CCC and England
    • Andrew Strauss - Middlesex CCC and England
    • James Foster - Essex CCC and England.
    • Caroline Atkins - the first woman to graduate from the Durham University Centre of Cricketing Excellence. She was a member of the England side which retained the Ashes on tour in Australia in 2008 and also won both the World Cup and Twenty/20 World Championship in 2009.
    • Alex Louden - Durham CCC, Kent CC and Warkshire, England Under-19 Captain
    • Tom Westley - Essex CCC
    • Greg Smith - Leicestershire CCC
    • John Glover- Gloucester CCC
    • Alistair Maiden - England Women's batting coach.
  • Current students include:
    • Seren Waters - has represented Surrey CCC and played for Kenya in the World Cup
    • Holly Colvin - England and 2011 Ashes winner, she is also a World Cup Twenty/20 winner, and last year was ranked the leading spin bowler in the world
    • Luc Durandt - played cricket at county level, including at Lords, and is currently playing for the Marylebone Cricket Club Combined Universities team.


Notable graduates include:

  • Will Greenwood MBE - forged a successful rugby career with Harlequins, Leicester Tigers, and England; won 55 caps for England and was a World Cup winner
  • Will Carling OBE - former Rugby Union player for Harlequins, and a former captain of England from 1988 to 1996, winning 72 caps; was the youngest England captain at 22
  • Head coach is Gavin Featherstone, a former Olympic coach for USA and South Africa. Gavin was the youngest coach ever to take a team to the Olympics.

Other notable alumni:

  • Charlie Hodgson - current international England player
  • Ollie Phillips - current England 7's player
  • Rob Vickers - England Saxons
  • Eddie Kalman - Current Scotland player.

Five Durham University students play rugby for England.


  • Head coach is Gavin Featherstone, a former Olympic coach for USA and South Africa. Gavin was the youngest coach ever to take a team to the Olympics.
  • The club is ranked in the top two for men's and women's hockey.
  • The club has 23 current international hockey players.
  • Of the 23 players, 8 have made the jump to U21 and Full International whilst at Durham.
  • In the last 5 years, DUHC have won National League Titles on 4 occasions with 1 BUCS Gold and 3 Silver.
  • Notable alumni include Loren Sherer (England hockey team) and Jamie Cachia (Scotland Goalkeeper).


  • Durham University's men's and women's Lacrosse teams are the 2010/2011 British University Champions.
  • Most of the current women's team at the University consists of England international players.

Women's Football (DUWAFC)

  • Durham University Women's Athletic Football Club (DUWAFC) are now, in terms of university leagues, top of the league below the premier.
  • DUWAFC runs a successful second team, who also top their league having lost only one game this season, that being in a cup match.
  • At Futsal (indoor soccer) DUWAFC have reached the national finals for the past 3 years and have topped their group to enter the nationals this year.
  • Durham Wildcats are a new club for this year. Last year, they competed as Durham University in County League fixtures, but this is their first year as Durham Wildcats and in association with the Durham Wildcats BBL team. They made the third round in the FA cup.

Other prominent Durham University graduates in sport

  • Jonathan Edwards CBE - triple-jumper and Olympic and Commonwealth Gold medallist and member of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.
  • BBC sports broadcasters - Gabby Logan, Chris Hollins, Mark Pougatch.
  • Ollie Phillips - rugby player and a former IRB International Sevens Player of the Year.
  • Paul Hawkins - former Director of Hawk-Eye, the system used in sports such as cricket and tennis that tracks and predicts in 3-D the trajectory of the ball.
  • James Clark - won a silver medal with the GB men's eight at the 2010 World Rowing Championships in China.
  • Mark Scholey - on the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games as manager in the Commercial Department.

Community usage and outreach

  • All sports facilities at Durham University are open to the local community.
  • Team Durham currently runs 40 outreach and volunteering programmes involving 200 student volunteers. These programmes include sessions for:
    • County Durham schoolchildren
    • gifted and talented young people
    • hard to reach groups - young offenders, people with substance misuse issues and the long-term unemployed.

Examples of outreach projects include:

  • The ISSP programme (part-funded by Sport England and Positive Futures). Aimed at under-18s and young offenders engaged with the criminal justice system, the programme enables young people to gain awards in sports such as canoeing and climbing.
  • The Women's Group, funded by Sport England, which offers a variety of physical activities including badminton, fencing and Nordic walking. Women are also encouraged to take part in the Community Sports Leaders' Day Certificate to help build self-esteem and confidence.
  • The Junior Coaching Programme involves 4,000* children in County Durham. In addition the University also runs a successful schools coaching programme. A variety of sports are covered including:
    • Lacrosse - 2,000 participants
    • Tennis - 2,000 participants
    • Basketball - 3,500 participants
    • Netball - 2,000 participants
    • Hockey - Coaching of Durham City teams (roughly 28 players), plus coaching in five different schools, accessing 30 pupils at each school per week
    • Rowing - as mentioned above, the programme has just started, and they are hoping to target 30 users per session
    • Rugby - stared this year with coaching in schools and the community
    • Fencing - 80 registered users.

Children participating in the programme are coached by Durham University staff and student volunteers.

*Please note the overall participation figure for the Junior Coaching Programme is 4,000 as some children are involved in two or more of the sports listed. Participants are largely of primary school age.

  • Team Durham also runs a community and school disability programme in fencing - i.e. wheelchair fencing.

International outreach

  • Team Durham is involved in outreach programmes in Sri Lanka and Zambia. The Zambia Project was formed in 2005 in a unique union between UK Sport and a selection of universities (Stirling, UWIC, Bath, Durham, Loughborough, St Andrews and Northumbria). Students from all universities spend the summer weeks in Lusaka where they work with local volunteers, organise and deliver school PE lessons, community sports programmes and health awareness workshops within the deprived areas of the city.