Durham reclaim College Varsity on home soil

YORK WERE defeated by Durham in the 2017 edition of College Varsity at Maiden Castle Sports Centre. The Black and Gold have failed to retain the Varsity title after winning the tournament on home soil last year. The result was confirmed with St Aidan’s 60-44 win over Constantine in the basketball B fixture, taking Durham over the 64 point threshold for victory “Despite the loss it’s been a great day”, York Sport President Isaac Beevor commented. “Taking over 400 play
ers is a testament to the strength of our College Sport and our colleges. We will be back next year, fighting hard on home soil.” Durham College Sport Manager Jack Coates said of the win, “It’s brilliant to reclaim the trophy after a tough loss to York last year. It’s even nicer to do so on our own turf. We very much look forward to the return event back at York next year.”

York mustered 36 points in their last trip to Maiden Castle in 2015 and failed in their goal to improve on this, despite an extra 29 points being on offer. The visitors made a slow start in the early morning, losing six of the first seven fixtures, despite a win in the volleyball A game for James College. Defeat was sealed by the six straight losses that came in at around 2pm, including heavy ones in both lacrosse games, squash and tennis. There was success in the volleyball, however. York’s A representatives from James College continued thie impressive run of form in the Varsity competition by defeating St Chad’s 3-1, providing York with their first points of the day. Captain James Durcan said that he was, “proud to qualify as the A team for volleyball” and to “bring back another win after beating Durham last year” Despite the volleyball
win, it went swiftly downhill for the York team in the afternoon, as defeat after defeat began to take its toll, with the next 22 points going to Durham.

The hosts started to pick up points around lunchtime, with four badminton victories. Langwith College provided a ray of sunshine for the visitors with a 2-1 win in the hockey A and a defeat of Stephenson in the basketball. In many events, it was a close call between York and Durham. In the volleyball B match, the result nearly went to York with the game coming down to a decider on the fifth set, although the game eventually went to Durham. York’s laudable efforts were further puntuated by events such as the football men’s A match, where Van Mildert of Durham scraped a 4-3 win against a gutsy Langwith team. Durham’s victory was discovered just after the basketball game, but there were several matches yet to take place.

The York Select pool team were eager to prove their worth against Hild Bede, but ultimately fell 5-3. Routine wins in the darts matches capped off a succesful day for the Durham Colleges. They celebrated their most succesful Varsity since the tournament began in 2014. Though Durham may have won the title, the tournament itself was not without its problems. The badminton matches experienced scoring issues whereby the umpires themselves were sometimes dumbfounded as to who was leading. Changing rooms were also high in demand but short in supply, possibly due to Durham’s University squads continuing to train at Maiden Castle while the Varsity event was ongoing.

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