This year’s inaugural College Varsity tournament against Durham kicked off with action-packed qualifying rounds this weekend.
Teams who finished in the top four of their College autumn leagues from eight different sports were eligible to take part in the qualifiers.
Awful weather conditions across campus wreaked havoc with fixtures, meaning that all matches on 22 Acres due to waterlogged pitches were affected after heavy rain on Friday night.
The two rugby semi-final fixtures scheduled for the weekend had to be postponed, whilst all three of the football fixtures were moved to the 3G pitch at the York Sport Village on Heslington East.
Nevertheless, almost all other games could take place in preparation for the main tournament, which takes place on Sunday 2nd March.
The qualifiers were played in a friendly and competitive spirit and, from the matches which took place, seven of York’s eight colleges have booked their place at College Varsity in at least one fixture.
Matches were split up into semi-finals and finals, with the winners of each semi-final automatically qualifying for College Varsity.
Each semi-final winner was then pitted against each other to determine the top and second-rated teams for the tournament.
Perhaps surprisingly, given their traditional sporting pedigree, Derwent will not be represented at the tournament as things stand, after experiencing an unusually unsuccessful weekend in a number of sports.
The University’s oldest college is neck-and-neck with James at the top of the overall college sport standings, coming fresh off retaining the title at the annual college rowing event last month.
However, this may change should the college’s rugby team emerge victorious over James when the rugby fixtures are eventually played.
After some close and hard-fought matches, Halifax and James will be flying the flag for York in men’s football, whilst Vanbrugh and Langwith will be competing in the women’s side of the game.
Alcuin’s only representation in the competition will be in volleyball, whilst Goodricke secured a slot to compete against Durham after thrashing James in their badminton tie.
Goodricke will also be present in hockey alongside James, whilst Halifax and James will be fighting York’s corner in netball.
Speaking about the weekend’s action, Tom Merriman, College Sport Officer, told Nouse: “I thought that the standard was fantastic across the weekend and the college spirit was more present than ever, with the hockey final in particular getting a good few spectators on Sunday evening, when James proved too much for Goodricke.”
Meanwhile, fellow College Sport Officer Dave Washington commented: “It’s been a brilliant weekend of sport, with some superb matches, fantastic support and memorable moments.
“I’m delighted with the positive reaction the event has received and this weekend has demonstrated how much potential our college sport system has, and how great it can be.
“I can’t wait for the actual event against Durham on 2nd March, and the opportunity to test ourselves against the model for college sport.
“Whatever happens I’m sure it will be a fabulous event, and I’d urge everyone to come down and support the York teams.”