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FOR the second year in succession record crowds travelled to Newcastle to witness a two-day festival of Rugby League that saw a full round of First Utility Super League fixtures played at the Dacia Magic Weekend.An all-time record crowd of 68,276 fans packed into St James’ Park across both days for the 10th anniversary of the event.Speaking after the final game of the weekend, Chief Executive, Nigel Wood, said: “The Dacia Magic Weekend has been an incredible success this year and once again Rugby League fans have turned out in force, creating an incredible atmosphere and helping to make this one of the most memorable weekends in the events history.“Magic Weekend is a concept which is unique in British sport and the way in which the fans, clubs, volunteers and staff all embrace the occasion helps to make it a continued success. The stars of the event were, as always, the players, who delivered some unforgettable moments across both days that I am sure will live long in the memory of many fans.“Results across the weekend show that the First Utility Super League is both extremely competitive and wide open this year, with just two points now separating the top four clubs. It promises to be an incredible end to the season.Saturday saw three games played in front of 39,331 fans as Salford Red Devils, Castleford Tigers and Wigan Warriors all emerged victorious as the sun shone down on St James’ Park.And today (Sunday), 28,945 fans were treated to another three great contests as Wakefield Trinity, Huddersfield Giants and Hull FC all secured two points.The total weekend attendance of 68,276 is an all-time Magic Weekend record, surpassing the previous best of 67,788 set last year at the same venue.Wood continued: “I would also like to add my personal thanks to the people of Newcastle and the North East region as well as all the partners, sponsors and agencies whose hard work and commitment ensured that Rugby League fans were given such a warm welcome in and around the city of Newcastle.”Stephen Patterson, Director of Communications at NE1 Ltd and joint city sponsor of Magic Weekend Newcastle, added: “We are delighted with the record attendance figures from this year’s Dacia Magic Weekend. Last year was a huge success with footfall up 37% across the weekend, licensed trade up over 40% and 99% occupancy for the city’s hotels. In addition to this, the Magic Weekend fans are a credit to their sport, creating a friendly festival atmosphere in the city across the weekend.“More detailed analysis on the economic impact of the event will be done in due course, but based on the record-breaking attendance figures across the weekend, initial estimates are that visitor spend for Magic Weekend was worth in excess of £4.23m to Newcastle.”Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, said: “The residents and businesses of Newcastle can yet again be proud of hosting a fabulous sporting occasion that was experienced by record breaking crowds.“Everyone raised their game from the performers putting on the entertainment through to the stall holders, which has been reflected in the heartfelt feedback we’ve already had from fans about their stay in Newcastle. This has a great deal to do with all of the partnership work that has gone on behind the scenes, making this a wonderful event for everyone to enjoy.”A decision on the venue for Magic Weekend 2017 will be made following a routine review of this year’s event. This will take place in the coming months.
Two early tries from James Roby and Luke Thompson put Saints in control, but London responded through tries from on loan Ryan Morgan and James Cunnigham. Mark Percival then put Saints back in front early in the second half before Morgan grabbed his second for London.Pitts gave the hosts the lead before Regan Grace scored a dramatic last minute try in the corner which Richardson converted off the touchline to send the game into golden point. Unfortunately for Saints it was London who won it through a Morgan Smith drop goal.Saints have the perfect opportunity to respond this coming Friday at the Totally Wicked Stadium as we entertain Huddersfield Giants with kick off at 7.45pm. Tickets are now on sale from the Ticket Office, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.