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Competitive Newton Abbot memorial game gives the Duncan Christophers Charitable Trust boost

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 31, 2012

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The Duncan Christophers Charitable Trust has been given a £1,500 boost thanks to a memorial game played between a Newton Abbot XV and the Devon Sharks.

Two tries from Ben Passenger – the second ten minutes from time – helped the Sharks register a 21-14 win over a Newton side based around the team that won the Devon Cup in 2004.

Christophers, who died suddenly in May this year, was Newton Abbot's captain when they won the cup in a thrilling final at Brixham.

In a long senior career that which started with the now-defunct Ashburton club, Christophers played for Paignton, Exeter, Brixham and Devon before joining Newton Abbot in the late 1990s.

Sharks were skippered by Christophers' brother-in-law Tom Meek and included former Exeter flank forward Roger Hutchinson, who was part of Newton's coaching team when they won the Devon Cup.

Duncan's brother John Christophers skippered the Newton Abbot side, which featured 12 members of the Devon Cup-winning side. Phil Burford, the cup-winning coach and current vice-chairman of Newton Abbot, was team manager for the day.

Burford said the cash raised was the icing on the cake of what proved to be a great day despite appalling conditions for rugby.

"It was no easy going friendly game but a strongly competitive affair between two sides who wanted to win," said Burford. "Duncan was always a fierce competitor and he would have approved of the way the game was played – and the good spirits in the bar afterwards. That was all part of rugby to Duncan."

Christophers was an all-round sportsman – cricket in the summer, rugby in the winter – and the charity bearing his name will aim to help sporting causes in the Newton Abbot area.

"The match was a huge success and there was talk afterwards of other events, such as bike ride during the summer," said Burford.

Passenger was first on the scoreboard after 12 minutes, sliding over from full-back for Stuart Kingsley to convert.

Newton levelled on 25 minutes through Neil Johns. James Longhurst converted.

Lee Squire was shunted over from a line-out for a try which Kingsley converted but Newton responded through Jason Keenan with Longhurst again squaring it up. Passenger's second try, again goaled by Kingsley, kept Sharks ahead until the final whistle.

Meanwhile, Brixham's Boxing Day game on behalf of Help for Heroes earned around £400 for the Armed Forces charity.

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