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Darlington Mowden Park hosts first match at The Northern Echo Arena
SIGNS showing the change in ownership of a North-East sports stadium have been installed, the day before competitive sport returns to the venue.
Darlington Mowden Park rugby club hosts its first game at The Northern Echo Arena, against Bromsgrove, tomorrow (Saturday, February 2).
The club bought the 25,000-seater stadium after Darlington FC moved out following a fans' takeover last year.
A hydraulic platform lift was hired to remove the old signs on the front of the main stand and replace them with new ones bearing Mowden's crest.
The work had been delayed earlier in the week when high winds meant contractors were unable to carry out the work.
Danny Brown, first-team coach, said: “Now the first game is almost here, the mood is one of absolute excitement. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, but it’ll all be worth it when the players run out for the first game.
“All the work that’s been done has been done by volunteers, and it’s testament to their efforts that we’re going to be able to accommodate such a big crowd for the first game.
“We’re hoping for an attendance of between 1,000 and 1,500, which will be fantastic. We’re pretty confident we’ll get there. We’ve already sold around 450 corporate packages, so that just shows the level of interest that exists ahead of this game.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that The Northern Echo was to continue sponsoring the stadium, which it had previously done when the football club was based there.
The new signage was designed by Eclipse7, based on the Newton Aycliffe Business Park, and installed by staff members Jonny and Dan Evans.
Managing director Dave Evans said: "We are delighted to be associated with Darlington Mowden Park rugby club and the stadium. Our signage will ensure that their new home is visible for all to see.
"We wish them both the very best for 2013 and the start of a very successful venue within our region."
Meanwhile, details are expected to be announced shortly of agreements the club has been working on over the letting of parts of the stadium for business use.
Kick-off for the game against Bromsgrove is 2.15pm.
There are no advance ticket sales - admission costs £6 for adults and is free for under 16s.