Meet the captains: inside DU and college sport

College Sport Introduction

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College Sport is a great way to socialise, try new sports and fully immerse yourself in the Durham University experience.

Competing for your college against other colleges, there are twenty different sports available to get involved in, ranging from Rugby, Football, and Netball to Ultimate Frisbee, Pool, and Cheerleading.

With over eight-hundred teams taking part there is something out there for everyone no matter the ability, experience or preferred commitment level.

Fixtures are played on the weekends with floodlit knockout competitions running on mid-week evenings.

The competitiveness between colleges provides a great atmosphere for spectators, especially in the Floodlit Cup which is a great social occasion for both teams and supporters.

But if playing sport isn’t your thing, you can join the two-hundred-and-fifty student officials and coaches who help to deliver the programme.  

Head to the College Sport website to find out more about the programme and get to know your College Sport Officer who oversees the day to day organisation of sport in your college.

Make sure you attend your College Sports Fair where you will be able to meet the team captains of all the sports clubs available at your college. Sign up and get involved!

The most important thing to remember is that college sport is for everyone so do not be afraid to give it a go, and good luck to everyone in their fixtures over the coming term!

Touch Rugby

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Touch Rugby is one of the UK’s fastest growing and most exciting sports. Experience what it’s all about with Durham University Touch Rugby Club (DUTRC), a mixed club offering both competitive and social Touch. 

Touch is a non-contact version of rugby which is a thrilling sport that is great for fitness and is already massively popular in the southern hemisphere. Touch’s emphasis on handling skills and agility make it a fantastic complement to rugby.

However, a rugby background is certainly not necessary to try Touch as the sport’s straightforward rules make it easy for anyone to pick up. DUTRC has already attracted many new players to Touch, all of whom have rapidly excelled at and enjoyed the sport.

DUTRC is an ambitious and holistic club that balances its competitive aspirations with being a genuinely welcoming and bonded community. Despite being a brand-new Team Durham club, DUTRC has already claimed dominant victories in England’s premier university Touch competition: the University National Touch Series.

This year, to further boost the club’s development, DUTRC will launch regular performance workshops run by current and ex-England Touch internationals. The club also organises and enters competitions of varying standards to ensure that all those who wish to compete may do so.

As well as competitive training, the club holds weekly ‘social’ sessions that are open to non-member students and non-student O2 Touch members. These relaxed sessions are a perfect way to have fun and get fit with friends.

Why not swing by for a free taster session? Find us on Facebook, Instagram (‘@durhamuniversitytrc’) or via the O2 Touch app.

Women’s Rugby

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“Diversity is the one thing we all have in common”. I don’t know who said that but I’m betting they played Women’s rugby. With a huge variety of people, positions, shapes and sizes, this is a sport that refuses to be pigeonholed.

Boasting one of largest women’s rugby programmes in the UK, Durham attracts top class players and total beginners; even some of our most famous players picked up a rugby ball for the first time right here.

Whilst you are putting up with that pseudo-expert watching the World Cup in the bar why not try the real thing? Haven’t got a clue where to start? Most of us didn’t. So we joined our college team.

We were a jumble of girls who turned up with borrowed kit and left covered in mud, with great new friends and huge smiles.

College rugby is built on beginners because the teams are small. If you enjoy the Development Days or the University team, who are heavily involved in running the college system, has scouted you then DUWRFC is your next step.

It truly feels like coming home to a huge muddy family because once you’ve shared long coach journeys and felt the thrill of putting on the Palatinate shirt you will realise that your weeks now revolve around Game Day on a Wednesday.

There are so many things we could say about Women’s rugby – ask any of us and we’ll tell you!  We were runners, netball girls, hockey gals and not-so-sporty types who found that picking up the ball and running with it is the best way to play the game.

We were distinctly average and found a sport that made that a good thing. We were looking for something new, and we found a way to get fit, make friends and have fun!

Interested? Check out your college team and DUWRFC on social media. We can’t wait to meet you.

Baseball

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Baseball is one of the fastest-growing university sports in Britain, with well over 1,000 registered members at more than 30 universities.

Founded in 2016, Durham University Baseball has evolved from a small group of friends into one of the UK’s top baseball teams, with multiple national titles alongside regular top-three finishes.

As a club we are a very active team, training three-to-four times per week throughout the year. Our close ties with local teams also allow for regular friendlies during term-time, benefiting both seasoned players and players new to the game.

Thinking of getting involved? You’re not the only one! Our truly international roster contains students from all corners of the globe. In 2018, our team at the National Finals in London consisted of players from seven countries.

With some players joining as complete beginners, Durham University Baseball offers the chance for new and experienced players alike the chance to represent Team Durham.

Durham University Baseball also completes an annual tour where our players can have the chance to play in some of the best baseball facilities abroad and competing against some of the best teams in Europe.

In 2018, we visited and played an international friendly in the 1992 Olympic Park in Barcelona, and in 2019, we played in The Netherlands, the country with arguably the best baseball competitive structure in Europe.

Durham University Baseball is holding taster sessions throughout fresher’s week.  Preseason is already well underway as we prepare for the Autumn National Championship in late October, too, and with two teams competing there are places for new and existing students to get involved and represent the University.

Follow Durham University Baseball on Facebook for updates or if you have any further questions email our president James Reilly at james.reilly@durham.ac.uk

Tennis

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Whether you’re looking to compete for the University at the top level, represent your college or simply pick up a racket for the first time, DULTC can offer you a range of opportunities to get involved in tennis at Durham.

At the highest level, DULTC is consistently ranked the No. 1 university tennis club in the country, with both the men and women’s first teams regularly winning national titles.

The club has six male and five female sides that compete on a weekly basis in leagues and competitions, whilst team players train indoors and have access to fitness suits, and strength and conditioning sessions.

Trials for team spaces will take place during fresher’s week and we would be delighted to see many new faces, whatever your academic year.

For more information about trials or anything else DULTC related make sure to visit our stand at the fresher’s fair on October 1st and 2nd.

If competitive tennis is not for you, however, DULTC has a growing development programme that caters for all players, ranging from beginners right through to those just beneath the University team’s level.

Students can receive coaching from some of our top postgrad tennis scholars. The sessions last for one-and-a-half hours every weekend and now take place across all three terms.

This is a great opportunity for players to build their tennis skills and move from the advanced development squad into the main team.

Follow us on ‘facebook.com/DULTC’ for updates and if you have any further questions please email our tennis coordinator Paul at paul.j.midgley@durham.ac.uk and don’t forget to visit our stand at Fresher’s Fair!

The College Barbarians Hockey Team

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The standard of hockey at Durham University is very high, and thus successfully passing Hockey trials to enter the University teams is very hard and most are unsuccessful.

As a result, the College Hockey League is of a very high standard, mixing competitive hockey with a more relaxed and social approach, even though the disparity in the standard of hockey between University and College level is apparent.

Hild Bede Hockey Club is unique, as we not only compete in the college league but also in the North East Hockey League against other local clubs and universities such as Newcastle and Durham itself.

Previously, we have had a few players from other colleges play for us in the North East league, however this year we aim to push the idea of creating a Durham cross-college hockey team, the College Barbarians.

The College Barbarians team will give college players, especially those who miss out in University trials, the ability to play a higher level of hockey than is provided in the college leagues.

As a team we have been very successful, our proudest achievement would be beating the Durham University 4s twice in the 2017/18 season, and also wining the college Premiership that year.

Such success is testament to the level of hockey played by the team whose increasingly cross-college roster enables us to provide an opportunity to play a unique brand of hockey.

Current players have since played for the University teams, and therefore the Barbarians Team is also a great way to develop further among other high-level players enabling success in trials the following year.

Combining a relaxed college approach to a higher level of hockey, this is a new opportunity for all new and existing college hockey players at Durham University.

We train once a week and play matches on Saturdays. If you are interested in joining, please contact patrick.r.cox@durham.ac.uk

Cycling

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Cycling is a sport of both endurance and recreation; it can both push you to your limits and be a great way of getting away from the Durham bubble and clear your head.

Durham University Cycling Club welcomes riders of all disciplines and abilities, providing a performance program to enable elite riders to train at elite level, as well as events to aid fitness and wellbeing.

Whether you are just starting out as a cyclist, want to get involved in competitive racing, or continue to perform at an elite level DUCC has the programs and opportunities for you. 

DUCC consists of two parts, the road and mountain biking teams, both of which meet two-to-three times per week for group rides, along with social events on a regular basis.

For the first time this year members will also have the opportunity to access a range of coached sessions aided by the new sports facilities at Maiden Castle that will allow a greater set up for indoor training and monitoring.

In addition, we run many annual trips and training camps away which is a great way to enhance performance in a refreshing environment and bond as a team. 

This is a very exciting time for the club and is reflected in our results. Winning the road race and coming fourth in the Durham round of the Men’s Elite Tour Series are but a few highlights.

We look forward to welcoming any prospective riders or established elite racers looking for a good training programme.

You can find out more by exploring the difference sections of our website or by getting in touch via the contacts page. Rides are Wednesday (2pm), Saturday (9pm), and Sunday (9am) outside the Bill Bryson Library.

Rowing

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Rowing at Durham University is renowned across the country. The University boat club has won medals at Henley Royal Regatta and has many nationally acclaimed athletes amongst their current and alumni ranks and the ranks.

However, rowing at Durham is also famous for another reason. It is one of only a handful of universities in the country to offer collegiate rowing as an alternative to the ultra-high pressure and performance focus of the University Boat Club. 

For those new to the university, collegiate sport is where you represent and compete for your college as opposed to the university.

College rowing differs slightly to other college sports, too; as well as competing against each other, Durham college rowing clubs also compete in regional and national events, competing against schools, clubs and universities.

All college boat clubs are furnished with their own boat house and fleets, all of which are looked after by the students.

The beauty of college rowing, over and above the alternative ways it provides for rowing at Durham, is that it offers something for everyone. There is a place just as much a place for people who just fancy going for a little paddle and people who have never picked up an oar ‘blade’ in their life as there is for highly experienced and committed rowers.

To illustrate this, I will draw on the example of Collingwood College Boat club (CCBC), of which I am a member. No matter your standard or commitment level there will be a boat for you at CCBC.

The top boats regularly compete on the highest stages university rowing has to offer such as Head of the River Race, regatta and Henley Royal and Henley Women’s Regatta.

For those who want it there is regular training, with 2-3 water sessions (some of which take place on the River Tyne) and 2-3 ERG sessions a week, as well as weights and mobility. However, this is not to say if you join the club you will have to train like an elite level athlete.

There are many boats for people who are perhaps not so committed and do not want to train so rigorously; people who love rowing but hate getting out of bed at 6am.

Such boats still have the opportunity to compete and have success, entering local regattas here in Durham and the surrounding area. A similar set-up to different degrees can be found at all college boat clubs.

All colleges also offer the chance for people who have never rowed before to get involved in the sport. Novice development programs are focused on getting people on the water and enjoying themselves.

Such programmes also offer novices the opportunity to quickly start competing at regional events, and in some cases national events, with last year’s Collingwood novice 8 doing well at both Head of the River and regatta. These are also available for those who want to try their hand at coxing. 

You do not even have to row to be involved in college rowing. As it has one of the most vibrant social scenes of any sport, social members are welcome at any and all college boat clubs in Durham. College boat club socials are certainly not to be missed. 

I hope this brief description of what college rowing has to offer will encourage as many people as possible to get involved!

Durham University Netball Club

By Anna Hunt

Netball is a vibrant sport that is played by twenty million people across eighty countries, according to the International Netball Federation. These people are of all ages, genders, ethnicities and backgrounds, and like most sports it is a powerful tool for unification.

Even if you have never played netball, you may still have seen Helen Housby score a final second goal in the final of the 2018 Commonwealth Games to win the Gold Medal for England as they beat Australia, the current World Champions and No. 1 team in the world.

It was a magical moment for all England fans out there, and certainly an inspiration to many girls across the country, including the members of Durham University Netball Club.

DUNC is a friendly and welcoming yet highly competitive club with around 50 members. Much like England in the 2018 Commonwealth Games Final, we have been familiar with coming out on top in critical moments over the past few seasons.

Last season, our fourth team won the Northern Conference Plate in a nail-biting final in which they won 36-35 in the final moments of the game!!

We have five squads, which compete in leagues, from Northern 1A to Northern 7B.  Last season we boasted numerous successes, such as the Plate win for the fourth team, promotion for the third and fifth teams and a second-place league finish for the newly promoted first-team.

Training comes in various forms; a variety of sessions allows us to maintain peak fitness during the season and keeps us mentally prepared and ready to face novel challenges on the court!

These sessions include court sessions, strength, conditioning, flexibility and mobility, and positionally specific coaching, as well as one-to-one feedback sessions with our coaches and captains.

We have recently arrived back in Durham for preseason, which is a great chance to get back to fitness and bond as a group and ready to hit the ground running once the season starts and matches begin.

If you would like to trial for us or find out more, come and see us at the freshers’ fair, or message one of our social media pages (Twitter @DUNetballClub, Facebook ‘Durham University Netball Club’ and Instagram ‘durhamuninetball’).

Image by Durham University

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