WHILE THE three horse race for the Premiership title many predicted at the start of the season may have failed to materialise, those in search of a rather more nail-biting run-in need look no further than the college sports table. With just three points separating the top three, the battle for first place looks set to go right to the wire.
Langwith, out for revenge after having the title snatched away by just half a point last year, head the standings, but their lead has been cut over recent weeks and they are in danger of missing out again. Instead, Halifax, who, results suggest, have the greatest quality over the widest range of sports, have emerged as favourites.
“We are now just one point behind Langwith, whereas we were over 10 points behind at the start of term,” Matt Harris, Halifax Sports Rep, said. “We’re extremely confident about our chances of winning the competition and hope our recent good form will continue.” As Goodricke’s recent dominance of the college sport scene has apparently come to an end, it is surely time for Halifax to press home their numerical advantage. With a far greater crop of students to pick from than any other college, failure to win the league will have to be seen as a massive disappointment.
Derwent, in third, are this year’s surprise package, due largely to the performances of their squash and badminton teams. The college is yet to taste defeat on the squash court, with eleven victories from twelve games, while the badminton side has won eight out of eleven.
Vanbrugh, the defending champions, are one place further back, the superb form of the volleyball team and the football 1sts undermined by poor results in other sports. Meanwhile, Goodricke’s past victories are quickly becoming a distant memory.
If the tussle at the top is intriguing, the battle to avoid the wooden spoon is entirely predictable, with Alcuin and James set to occupy the bottom two positions once again. Alcuin are growing accustomed to propping up the table, having ended last season almost 50 points adrift, while James’ triumph of two years ago is looking increasingly like a one-off.
Alcuin Sports Rep, Tom Stratton, however, is determined to remain upbeat. “Despite our current position in the league table there is considerable optimism surrounding Alcuin college sport,” he insisted. “We have had years of neglect as far as sports are concerned and this can’t be turned around overnight. However, there are definite signs of a real spirit developing amongst Alcuin sports teams, even in defeat, and this is a solid base with which to build a long lasting sporting tradition.” Judging by their performances, the establishment of such a tradition will be a long and arduous process. James Sports Rep, Tom Morgan, is also confident. “We’re very happy with how our college sport is going at the moment,” he said. “The netball and basketball teams are both doing very well and the football 2nds are on course to win their league. We’re looking forward to the summer term.”
Whether challenging at the top of the table or rooted to the bottom, every college sports committee, it seems, is looking forward to the remainder of the season. Some with a great sense of anticipation, others resigned to their fate. But whatever college you belong to it is great news to see that with each passing year the competition becomes even closer.
(Guy Aspin – Sports Correspondent)