By Simon Carey
As Durham currently sit at the summit of the BUCS league points table, the Palatinates now look ahead to what promises to be another fantastic term of sport. Following on from last year’s success, we remain on course to have a record-breaking 20 teams finishing in the top two of their respective premier leagues in 2016 (on top of the 4 premier titles we already have secured).
February sees the launch of several national championship competitions. The biggest of these events is undoubtedly on the 16th March in Sheffield, as teams will be vying for the title of best in the UK. After last year’s tremendous success of eight finalists and five national champions, the English Institution of Sport will hopefully be a sea of Palatinate again. This level of representation at the peak of university sport is unmatched from any other university and is something we are incredibly proud of.
The success of our team sports is celebrated every Wednesday. However behind the scenes, many more clubs have been tirelessly working for their chance to shine at BUCS Nationals. Athletes will be seeking gold in 10 sports over the weekend of the 20th-21st February. From athletics to karate, this is the one chance to shine that many students have over the course of the year. Huge swathes of Olympians have started their careers in this arena, and can guarantee the future stars of Rio 2016 or Tokyo 2020 will be honing their talents this time around.
Durham is certainly not short on individual talent. Heather Goodman is set to take to the mat in the Judo Championship, fresh from representing Durham in the European University Championships. In fencing, Thomas Curran-Jones, current Junior Commonwealth Champion, will be showing the competition why he represents Great Britain. Meanwhile, Angharad and Megan Phillips, who have represented Wales in table tennis, will show us what they can do for Durham. This is just a small selection of the huge amount of talent we have at Durham and we’re sure all of our athletes will do us proud.
It is not just national championships which offers us the opportunity to be remarkable. The Northern Conference Cup and Trophy competitions give Durham teams lower down the program a chance to shine, usually playing 1st teams from other universities. We caught a glimpse of that magic when our 3rd XV Rugby Team beat Loughborough 2nd (top of the league above them) last term. They go again against Nottingham Trent 1st XV on the 17th of February.
These teams will also be buoyed by the recent England call-up of former DURFC alumnus Josh Beaumont, who Palatinate Sport interviewed in October last year.
Finally, stay tuned on social media as all the cup campaigns kick off this term, especially for round two of the Loughborough Varsity. Last time out, the Palatinates thrashed Loughborough emphatically, particularly in the Women’s Hockey and Rugby. Durham will hope for a similarly outstanding set of results when they travel south to face their fierce rivals again on 3rd February.
Photograph: Team Durham