University of Leeds Break Varsity Duck with Maiden Victory

Image Credit: [Robbie Cairns]

Uni Find the Magic Combination to End Thirteen Years of Hurt against Beckett.

After 14 years in the wilderness, and thirteen straight Beckett victories, Leeds University were finally pronounced annual Varsity champions, winning by a single point. Despite defeat in the rugby finale, the Gryphons managed to get one over their inter-city rivals, thanks to strong performances across a number of different sports.

Varsity actually began in January, with the cross country where Leeds and Beckett won a point each. It would be a long nine-month wait before Varsity would culminate in Wednesday’s Rugby Finale. Despite the 51-5 loss, the University, going into the annual match at Headingley, knew they had already sealed the points for an unprecedented victory.

Varsity covers a plethora of sporting competitions, ranging from the more traditional such as football, cricket, tennis and netball to more unorthodox sports such as korfball, lacrosse and American football. Each sports team was playing for a precious point, which in this case was critical, as Uni of would end up winning the tournament by 30 points to 29. Special mention must go to the Badminton, Volleyball and Waterpolo sides, who managed to win all their matches, giving the Gryphons seven points to Beckett’s zero in those events. However, Varsity is not about winning all of the matches in every sport, it is about picking up points across each and every competition.

Futsal won their match 8-5, Basketball won two out of their three matches, with the Men’s 2nd winning 54-39 and the Women’s 1st 54-50. Leeds Handball won their only match 33-30, as did both the Men’s Cricket and the Indoor Cricket. The Inter Mural Varsity as well as Korfball teams also gained a point each for the University. Elsewhere, the Men’s Swimming won 70-60, whilst the Women were beaten by just three measly points, losing 129-132.

Two points were also accumulated from the Men’s and Women’s 1sts in the football, with two thrilling contests at Weetwood playing fields and at Leeds Beckett University. The men won a nerve-shredding penalty shootout whilst the Women’s 1st won 3-2. Two crucial points in the race for the Varsity Title 2018.

There were also three wins for the Hockey sides, with two of the other sides losing by only a single goal, and the other losing by only two. Such are the close margins in Varsity that every single point matters, and whilst Leeds had never won before, we’ve usually been within a few points of our local rivals.

The other feature of this Varsity installment were the two draws. One was because the Rowing result ended up as a controversial score draw. The other, however, was due to the fact that the women’s Rugby Union match was abandoned because one of the Leeds Beckett players injured their neck in the first half of the match.

The end of Varsity does not mean the end of Leeds’ sporting fixtures but merely the beginning. The BUCS fixtures are now on the agenda, which sees Leeds face other Universities in their respective league divisions with the first lot of fixtures taking place this Wednesday, the 10th of October. We will be covering our sporting teams throughout the year, so make sure to pick up a copy of the Gryphon for the latest results, fixtures, match reports and interviews.

By James Felton