The Battle of the North: Leeds set to host the Christie Championships
Of all the aspects of life that were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, sporting events feel like the most important of the unimportant. As restrictions were rumoured and then implemented from March 2020, organised sport in Britain came to an abrupt halt. This pause included university sport and the historic rivalries and competitions that come with them.
Today sees the return of one of the most prestigious of these university competitions: The Christie Championships. The triangular championship sees the universities of Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool face each other in over 30 different sports across one day.
Having been held since 1886, The Christie Championships are the second oldest sporting rivalry between British universities, behind Oxford and Cambridge, when the three universities were colleges of Victoria University. It is named after Richard Copley Christie, a professor of History and Political Economy in Manchester from 1854 to 1866.
The competition is returning to home soil this year, with the University of Leeds hosting the event today. Leeds’ last victory came in 2014 by securing 172.5 points to Manchester’s 161 and Liverpool’s 144.5. The triumph saw Leeds dominate across almost all fields, picking up 23 wins in the process. It has been eight years since that last victory, albeit with a two-year break, and Leeds’ competing students will be hoping they can recreate 2014’s impressive performance.
Leeds dominated the cup in the 1990s and early 2000s, winning nine of out ten championships from 1993 to 2002. However, Manchester have since grabbed the headlines, securing 15 cups up to and including 2019. Leeds will be aiming to recreate their last win on home soil in 2011, which ended an eight-year hegemony for Manchester, and will need support from across the university to do so.
The tournament will be held across various sporting venues in Leeds, including The Edge and the Bodington playing fields. Full details of times and locations for each sport can be found here. Whether you’re a fan of football, badminton, equestrian, or ultimate Frisbee, there’s something for everyone.
Here’s hoping 2022 is a year to remember for the University of Leeds, and one in which we claim the Battle of the North.
Image Credit: Christie Cup Twitter