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Eyes down for a full house of stars.

Byline: By Adam Jupp

Celebrities play bingo on Tyneside

The stars of reality TV soccer show The Match took time out from training for a spot of bingo.

The celebrity side are set to take on a team of ex-pros at St James' Park on Sunday.

It is the third time the clash has been staged on Tyneside and the celeb squad, managed by ex-England boss Graham Taylor, is determined to beat the veterans this time round.

They have been preparing at Newcastle United's academy at Benton after a training camp in La Manga, Spain.

Viewers have been voting players out of the squad every night on Sky One and the final 16 will go head-to-head with a side led by ex-Sunderland manager Peter Reid.

But last night, the stars had time to switch off from football and enjoy a night at the Gala Bingo Hall, in Clifford Street, Byker.

The players, including Geordie Big Brother winner Anthony Hutton, ex-cricketer Alec Stewart, pop singer Harvey and Coronation Street actor Sam Robertson, met locals and managed to get their hands on some prizes.

They were paired with regular visitors to the bingo hall and manager Taylor even got the chance to call some numbers. Their night out came after an aqua aerobic session at the Tyne Bridge Hilton Hotel.

Last year, a capacity crowd of more than 52,000 watched as the former pros beat the celebrities 2-0. But it could have been a different story if Consett-born Hutton had taken a golden opportunity. The event raised thousands of pounds for children's charities Chicken Shed and the NSPCC.

This year, the celebs are fighting for the chance to play against a side which could feature former Toon stars David Batty and Gazza, England's Des Walker and ex-Liverpool goalie Bruce Grobbelaar.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 6, 2006
Words:299
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