The season of 2011/2012 has the potential to be the University’s best season ever, says Head of Student Experience, Quentin Sloper.
After the wide-ranged successes of the 2010/2011 season, inculing seven premierships and four championships, preparations began at the start of the summer break for Team Durham, with recruitment being top of their agenda. No fewer than 69 scholars were specifically brought in to the University for their sporting prowess.
Of the 69, fifteen are undertaking undergraduate study whilst the remaining 54 are post graduates, suggesting a wealth of experience has been brought in to guide the university towards its targets. Scholars have come from as far as the US, Portugal and Slovenia and this year even sees British females returning to these shores after completing Football scholarships in the US.
The new crop of Durham athletes are looking ‘stronger than ever’ according to Quentin Sloper, who has overseen the recruitment process and manages Student Experience in Durham. “I expect us to be in contention for nine or even ten premierships this season and ultimately we are looking to obtain second place in the BUCS points table”.
Last season saw Durham narrowly lose out to Leeds Met and Birmingham and finish fourth, equalling the university’s previous best table finish but Durham could have claimed second place had a few games gone ever so slightly differently.
Summer preparations also saw changes to the Team Durham coaching staff. Player/coach Rich Wire finished his post graduate studies in the summer and has been replaced as Men’s Tennis coach by Croatian Slavko Radman who is responsible for keeping the teams newly earned Premiership status.
Possibly the most notable departure was Jess Adam, last season’s Women’s Lacrosse Coach that respectively led the 1sts and 2nds to Championship and Trophy wins. She has been replaced by Rebecca Greenslade who comes with great pedigree having previously coached at the renowned Syracuse University, New York.
With the best coaches and players being drawn to the university, the construction at Maiden Castle has been somewhat disappointing in its continuing state of development.
Sloper was frank when asked about the delays in construction, “It’s a major frustration, especially for the staff and coaches up here” he said before going on to explain what they will bring, “The new buildings and facilities will help improve all the clubs, as they will now have more time and space to train in. There’s no doubt this will be a spectacular sports facility once it is complete”.