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Earl beats Duke in celebrity challenge

Date 17 Oct 2007
Author The Editor

Sunday's star-studded celebrity football match at St James' Park in aid of The Prince's Trust saw the Duke of Northumberland's team triumph over celebrity rivals playing under the Earl of Durham's colours in the football, but the Earl's team clinched the overall trophy in a penalty shoot out.

20,000 spectators turned out to watch a dream team of international sportsmen fly in from around the world to play in the match, which starred big names such as Alan Shearer, Gazza, Les Ferdinand, Pavel Srnieck, Kevin Ball, Niall Quinn and Craig Hignett. The football match was the fourth and final in a series of fixtures that has seen the two teams battle it out in golf, cricket and clay pigeon shooting matches, and the running score for the series of events stood at 2-1 in favour of the Earl's team on the eve of the game.

Yesterday's football match saw Shearer score a hat-trick on his return to St James', and the Duke's team finished with a 5-3 win which brought the Challenge Trophy series to an overall draw. But it was the Earl's team which took overall victory in the Challenge Trophy after a penalty shoot out which went into sudden death with the Earl's team taking the final winning shot.

Shearer said: "I have never been on a football pitch since I retired, I've played a couple of five-a-side games with friends but this is certainly the first game I have played in a while. The response from the players has been fantastic; the majority of the 96 era when I was here were here today which is great.

"The Prince's Trust is a fantastic charity, its certainly new what they have done this year but it has been a huge success, the charity helps a lot of people and a lot of causes and you can see by the result of the turnout of ex players that it means something special to them."

In a match programme foreword written by the HRH the Prince of Wales, he thanked everyone for the generosity of their support, saying the proceeds from the series of Challenge Trophy events would go towards helping more young people in the North East.

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