DMP Durham Sharks have rescued their Allianz Premier 15s season just one week after their players launched an emergency crowd-funding campaign.

The Darlington-based side, who learned about their potential league exit last week, needed to meet an estimated £50,000 shortfall, but by Tuesday the team had raised £32,679 and were granted an additional 24 hours by club officials to make up the difference.

The campaign reached its conclusion on Friday with both the club and players confirming the required funding had been met.

A club statement read: “Following a combination of crowdfunding, sponsorship and public support, the Sharks have managed to raise the required funds to meet the necessary standards and will therefore participate in the 2022/23 season as planned.

“On behalf of everyone at the club we’d like to thank everyone who has supported the Sharks in any way in recent weeks. The backing of members, supporters, sponsors and the general public has been incredible and has truly shown the power of sport.

“We would also like to thank the RFU for their support over what has been a very testing time for the club.”

The fixtures for the 2022-23 Allianz Premier 15s and Allianz Cup will be announced on Wednesday, August 17.

A letter from the players added: “As a result of securing the minimum required financial support, DMP Sharks WILL be competing in the Allianz Premier 15s 2022-23 season!

“Just seven days ago, our position in the league did not seem viable, but a week of lessons in resilience, togetherness and determination and here we are.

“We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude for all your donations, messages of support and help in sharing our predicament to the wider public.

“It would not have been possible to secure this outcome without you. We truly are a team of the people.

“We look forward to seeing you pitch-side this season and hope you will continue to join us in fighting for elite women’s rugby in the North East.

“Now the really hard work starts again as we shift our focus back onto pre-season. It is our honour to represent the region and we aim to make you all proud.

“One of our goals is to help inspire the next generation of rugby players to take up our fantastic sport, to dream big and aim high, but perhaps most importantly to never give up.”

Sharks are the only top-flight women’s rugby side in the north east, and one of the few sides in the Allianz Premier 15s not affiliated with a Premiership Rugby club nor boasting professional players.

They have finished bottom of the table for the past two seasons, with the upcoming 2022-23 campaign set to be their last before the RFU reopens its tendering process for clubs who wish to be part of the league’s next cycle.

The RFU has recently announced a 10-year plan, fuelled by a £220 million investment, to turn the league fully professional.