The Racecourse

For the football stadium in Wrexham, see Racecourse Ground.
Racecourse Ground
Ground information
Location Durham, County Durham
Establishment 1843 or earlier
Capacity 8500
End names
City End
Pavilion End
Team information
Durham CCC (1992 1994)
Durham University (1843 present)
Durham MCC University (formerly Durham University Centre of Cricketing Excellence) (2001 present)
As of March 2015
Source: Cricinfo

The Racecourse is part of Durham University's sports facilities. It contains squash, tennis and fives courts, cricket, rugby, hockey and football pitches and rowing houses. It is located along the River Wear and has been used as a sports ground since at least 1733.

As well as use by Durham University, the Racecourse is known for hosting two annual events, the Durham Regatta and Durham Miners' Gala.[1] Its cricket ground is used for first class cricket and is the home of Durham MCC University (previously Durham University Centre of Cricketing Excellence).


The Racecourse was first recorded as being used for horse racing in 1733; previously the site had been a smithy for the Prior of Durham.[1] At its peak, the course had a stone grandstand and attracted 90,000 spectators for a two-day event in 1873.[1] The Racecourse was also used for other sports in the Nineteenth Century, notably cricket and the Durham Regatta.[2] The land is now owned by the University, which has used it as sports field since the nineteenth century. On 16-17 June 2012 the Racecourse hosted the Olympic torch as part of the London 2012 relay.[3]

Durham Miners' Gala

Main article: Durham Miners' Gala

Durham Miners' Gala was first held at the Racecourse in 1872, which was the gala's second edition. All editions of the gala have since been held at the Racecourse. The event is typically held in mid July, though has on occasions been held in August.[4] The Racecourse is the location of the speeches held at the culmination of the Gala march. At its peak, 250,000 people attended the Gala.

Cricket Ground

The Racecourse's most significant facility is its cricket ground, which has been used by Durham University since 1843.[5] It has a capacity (2015) of 8,500.[6]

The Racecourse had the honour of hosting Durham County Cricket Club's first match as a first-class county in 1992, against Leicestershire.[7] Between 1992 and 1994, Durham CCC played seven games there in the County Championship, seven List A games and a three-day game against Australia, which was notable for being Ian Botham's last match as a professional cricketer.[8][9] Since Durham CCC moved into The Riverside Ground, which was completed in 1995, the ground has continued to host Durham University and Durham MCC University matches, which have included (to March 2015) 20 first-class matches against County sides as well as games in the MCC Universities Championship and BUCS Premier League.[8] It was also used from 2000 - 2008 as the home for Durham CCC's Academy team, which played 50 North East Premier League matches on the ground.[8] In 2007, it also hosted a game between the touring West Indies team and the MCC.[10]

The ground has hosted 29 first-class matches and 8 List A matches as of 26 March 2015.[8]

Game Information:

Game Type No. of Games
County Championship Matches 7
Limited-over county matches 8
MCC University Matches 20
Tour matches 2

Game Statistics: first-class:

Category Information
Highest Team Score West Indies (534/8dec against MCC) in 2007
Lowest Team Score Durham UCCE (46 against Nottinghamshire) in 2006
Best Batting Performance Runako Morton (201 Runs for West Indies against MCC in 2007
Best Bowling Performance Simon Brown (7/70 for Durham against Australia) in 1992

Game Statistics: one-day matches:

Category Information
Highest Team Score Surrey (330/6 in 39 overs against Durham) in 1992
Lowest Team Score Derbyshire (169 in 44 overs against Durham) in 1993
Best Batting Performance Darren Bicknell (125 Runs for Surrey against Durham) in 1992
Best Bowling Performance Neil Lenham (5/28 for Sussex against Durham) in 1993
  1. 1 2 3 Simpson, David (28 November 2008). "Exploring the city racecourse with no horses". Northern Echo. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
  2. Durham City History Durham City Tourism; Accessed 18-04-08
  3. "Olympic Torch given warm welcome on University's Racecourse". Durham University. 18 June 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  4. Durham Miners' Gala Durham Miners' Museum; accessed 18 April 2008
  5. "Durham University Library Special Collections Catalogue - DU Cricket Club". Durham University.
  6. "Durham University Ground". ESPN Cricinfo.
  7. "Durham v Leicestershire in 1992". Cricket Archive. 2007. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  8. 1 2 3 4 "The Racecourse, Durham University Ground, Durham". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  9. Botham, Ian (7 October 2010). Botham's Book of the Ashes. Mainstream Publishing. p. 215-6. ISBN 978-1845964917. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  10. MCC v. West Indies ECB; accessed 18 April 2008

Coordinates: 54°46′30.19″N 1°33′56.80″W / 54.7750528°N 1.5657778°W / 54.7750528; -1.5657778

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