College Varsity: A Preview

We take a look at the colleges lined up to take on Durham on the 28th

Last weekend’s qualifiers heralded the approach of 2016’s York-based College Varsity on 28 February. The semi-finals on Saturday determined who would be playing and on Sunday, York’s very own First and Second teams distinguished themselves even further. College Rugby suffered a slight setback (p. 27) but these issues put aside, other sports were more than happy to play on at 22 Acres.

James’ Mixed Lacrosse traipsed through the mud to victory and Halifax’s men’s Football scored highly, coming first in the football. Both colleges also found success in badminton, tennis and netball. Langwith remained hot on Halifax’s heels, making it through on the badminton court and football pitch, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top out of the two.

Over in more comfortable indoor settings, Derwent charged ahead in basketball and darts, promising a thrilling end to College Varsity. This standard of sport suggests an exciting year for York and perhaps a step towards success as  hopefully there will be many victories and, even if not, an enjoyable experience for all.

York have a considerable difference to make up since losing last year by 24 points, and by 10 in 2014; we can only hope that this isn’t a downward trend and that York colleges will benefit from a home advantage. Grace Clarke, York Sport President, was more than happy to declare that “All colleges are on board with rainbow laces”. As previously reported this is part of the ongoing focus on the Equal Opportunities Scheme in sport, for which Clarke is asking all participants to wear the laces to symbolise ‘kicking homophobia out of sport’ at the event. Clarke was also keen to mention an upcoming video under the same premise.

Tickets for Varsity are now available, and packs are available from the YUSU website, which include  a college Varsity t-shirt, drawstring bag, entry into Revs’ After Party plus many more goodies. Considering it is only two weeks away, York should be swelling with excitement for Durham’s arrival, donning black and yellow and full of support for all prospective players.

Hockey

Image: Fiona Hill

Image: Fiona Hill

“So, first of all, we are absolutely thrilled to be going to Varsity as the University of York’s number one College Hockey team. We have been to Varsity the past two years but only as the second seed, so I’m incredibly proud of the Goodricke team for our achievement. We have had a huge turnover of players this year and after a nervous start we have started to gel superbly as a team. We train weekly, improving our skill set and encouraging a positive team spirit.

“As a team we simply love to attack, we have a number of hugely talented players and it’s great to see them developing and scoring lots of goals! We will continue to work hard over the coming weeks and look forward to the challenge of playing Durham.” – Marcus Taylor, Goodricke Hockey.

Lacrosse

Image: James Hostford

Image: James Hostford

“We’re feeling very excited to take on Durham in Varsity. We’re a strong team this year full of new freshers with some good skills and oldies with expertise. It’s going to be an aggressive but tense match and we would love as much support as possible!” – Beth Reynolds, Halifax Lacrosse.

Beth can count on that score, with swathes of Halifax supporters likely to be in attendance to support one of the University’s most represented colleges. York’s fearsome Lacrosse output will be in full force to win some points, with Uni and College level players rallying together to take the fight to Durham.

Badminton

Image: Petroc Taylor

Image: Petroc Taylor

“I’m feeling a lot more relieved than I was last week! Although I’m sure the nerves will begin to reappear as Varsity approaches. The rotation policy we use for College Badminton meant that the qualifier was in fact the first time that the team was at completely full strength, and such a good result was certainly encouraging going into Varsity itself. That being said, the change in format between normal college matches and the Varsity fixture does add an element of doubt, but I have confidence in the team to pull through! We won the college league last term so the team is more than capable of getting a result in a fortnight’s time.” – Luke Quigly, Halifax Badminton.

Halifax Badminton expand the roster of talent at the college’s command, and will be looking to get some cruicial points from Durham’s St. Mary’s side. Meanwhile, Langwith will be defending the B match against St. Cuthbert’s in the afternoon of Varsity in the Main Hall.

Basketball

Image: James Hostford

Image: James Hostford

“We’ve been playing very well recently. Our freshers have played a big part in our success. Our team chemistry has allowed us to win the Varsity qualifiers. Derwent has always had a strong basketball team and I don’t think it is going away any time soon. We are confident we will beat Durham.” – Omar Koshin, Derwent Basketball.

College basketball has long been one of campus’ popular sporting activities. 2015’s Roses drew huge crowds, and College Varsity looks set to continue the precedent. With Derwent Basketball boasting some of campus’ highest scoring six-footers, expect lay-ups aplenty between them and Vanbrugh next Sunday.

Netball

Image: James Hostford

Image: James Hostford

“Derwent’s Netball Firsts were on form last Saturday in the semi-finals Varsity match against Alcuin – popping in lots of goals and the flow down court was causing the the crowd to go wild – to quote Fred Weld “it was majestic play”. However the dismal match against James in the final the next day set us back a bit. With Varsity fast approaching we are flattening out those errors and feeling hopeful for a win. The full original team will be back together and the white and blue will be playing their hardest.

It will be a tough game but a cracker and everyone should come and support, Derwent or otherwise! Personally I am very excited and hope we play as we did in the semi-finals and do not have a repeat of the finals of qualifiers.” – Charlotte Beckett, Derwent Netball.

Football

Image: Fiona Hill

Image: Fiona Hill

“We qualified for Varsity very well, coming back from losing positions in both the semi-final and the final against tough opposition, so we’re feeling confident going into the Varsity match. Our league form is also very positive at the moment, only losing once this term and winning the rest of our matches – including beating the favourites for the league title in our first match. We’ve got a talented squad and we’re ready for whatever will be thrown at us in the big game.” – Halifax College Football spokesperson.

Halifax certainly qualified for Varsity in style, with a dramatic shoot-out against Langwith that saw them sink their first three penalties. Their keeper went on to save all three of Langwith’s first spot kicks, seeing them through with flair. It’s all to play for, with Langwith defending the B match on 22 Acres at 10:30am.

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