By Simon Carey
As Team Durham President for 2015/16, I help to oversee all 50 University Sport Clubs. As part of Experience Durham, Team Durham encompasses all sport at the University, which includes both the largest participation structure in the UK and Britain’s number 1 Team Sport Performance programme!
For the past four years Durham has been ranked second in the overall BUCS League Table. This year we are entering the season with ten clubs looking to defend their national titles and a similar number believing that they can go one or two steps further than last year and become national champions. We snatched the team sport title away from Loughborough last year and it’s likely that we will find ourselves going head to head with them again this time around.
So fierce is the rivalry between Durham and Loughborough, that two “Varsity” days in which the two teams compete across a range of sports have been arranged by BUCS. These will be hugely significant for both universities with 15 first teams from both due to battle it out on November 25th in Durham and February 3rd in Loughborough. Make sure you stay tuned in to support Durham and prove there is only one shade of purple: Palatinate.
Team Durham is not just about performance; our participation and community outreach programmes are also hugely successful. Staff and student volunteers work with over 6,000 young people on an annual basis providing them with opportunities to experience new sports, develop skills and access many of our outstanding facilities. We also support a large range of local groups and clubs and provide students with the opportunity to become involved in international sport development through the hugely successful Sport in Action Zambia programme.
As you read this, hundreds of students have already returned to Durham as part of our university sport pre-season. For weeks many of our students have been working hard to ensure that they perform to their best throughout the coming year. It is no fluke that we come into 2015 as the University that everyone else wants to beat. It is the professionalism and hard work of Durham students and staff that enables us to compete at such high levels across the board. We are currently the University that combines academic and sporting excellence, and we want that to continue.
One of the showcase events for our programme is the Rugby Charity Challenge, due to take place on Wednesday 7th October at Durham City Rugby Club where DURFC kick off the BUCS season against Loughborough. Our objective is to attract a crowd of over 4,000 and all proceeds will go to Sport in Action Zambia; it’s always a great atmosphere and I really hope that you will find the time to come along and support your fellow students.
If you think you might like to be part of sport at Durham at whatever level, be that playing, officiating, coaching or volunteering, make sure you come down to the Sports Fair at Elvet Riverside on Wednesday 7th at 10:00-16:00.
Photograph: Simon Carey