Durham has been named Sports University of the Year

The Times and The Sunday Times’ Good University Guide 2023 has just published its league tables

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023 has awarded Durham Sports University of the Year after an excellent 2021-2022 sporting season for Durham University.

The University also ranked sixth out in the overall Good University Guide league table, holding its place from last year and beating Exeter, Edinburgh, UCL, and Bath, which was award University of the Year.

The Sports University of the Year award is based off success in the British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) league, where Durham placed third in the overall league table for 2021-2022, and first for producing professional sports people. With seven clubs having teams end the year as National Champions, there is no doubt why Team Durham are so proud to ‘bleed Palatinate’. 

Women’s Cricket, Men’s Rugby, Men’s Fencing, Women’s Futsal, Men’s Lacrosse, Women’s Rowing, and Women’s Volleyball all claimed their places at the top of their respective leagues, and The Tab Durham spoke to two of these teams to investigate the key to Durham’s sporting successes.

DUWCC being crowned Champions

Emily Naylor, out-going Captain of Durham University Women’s Cricket Club (DUWCC), gives credit to the University’s facilities at Maiden Castle for motivating her team. Throughout the year, the team trained in “excellent” state-of-the-art indoor nets during the winter months, emigrating to grass wickets during the summer.

“It was good we got to play on the racecourse for every home game this year, it showed we’re equal, and winning showed we’ve got the skills and talent and should be taken as seriously as bigger BUCS teams.”

Though the team did not have the funds to afford regular coaching staff, Naylor praises the support they were given by coach Mel, whose confidence-boosting, cricket expertise and rallying presence at their final game was greatly appreciated. As one of Durham’s smaller clubs with only two full playing teams, DUWCC mostly self-coaches, and clearly does so with brilliant results.

Naylor says she’s “incredibly proud of how hard we worked and how well we came together at the end to show what we could do”.


DURFC after their BUCS Super League win

The Tab Durham also spoke to one of Durham’s biggest clubs, Durham University Rugby Football Club (DURFC), who praise the “fantastic work of coaches” for their two BUCS Super Rugby League wins on the trot.
Whilst the “tireless work [of the coaches] behind the scenes pushed the players onto new levels” on the pitch, “the work off the field by the committee to raise over £40,000 for charity was something bigger than the rugby itself, and was huge testament to the hard work of the wider Club and support from the Durham community”.
With loyal support from their peers and showing “real resilience and overcoming any adversity”, DURFC went on to break the BUCS point scoring record at 79 total points, comfortably ahead of second-place Exeter’s 73 at the end of the season.
DURFC say they “look forward to the coming season as we look to build on what was achieved last year.”
Other Team Durham clubs placing in the national top ten include: Women’s Hockey, Women’s Lacrosse, Men’s Tennis, Women’s Tennis, Women’s Water Polo, and Wheelchair Basketball.

From the largest to the smallest clubs, Durham clearly promotes sporting excellence all-round.