By Katie Falkingham, Sportsbeat
Durham University were victorious in the battle of the north east as their women’s football team triumphed over Northumbria to lift the Championship title on BUCS Big Wednesday, on a successful day that saw its teams walk away with ten titles across all sports.
Taking place at the University of Bath, BUCS Big Wednesday saw hundreds of students from fourteen different sports descend on the West Country for an action-packed day of sport.
The event saw the culmination of this season’s team sport competitions, with teams from more than 800 leagues having battled it out for a berth in the season finale.
Having taken an early 2-0 advantage in Bath, the tension ramped up for Durham as Northumbria brought the game all-square at 3-3 before a last-minute goal from Rebecca Raber ensured it was the purple colours of Durham that would adorn the silverware.
And for Raber, who hails from New York, the season could not have ended in more dramatic fashion.
“I feel amazing, I couldn’t have asked for anything more, this is exactly what I was hoping for,” said the Masters student.
“We had been building our team from day one, we started off the season a little slow. New girls, brand new team.
“We moulded well together, I would say that we became a family both on and off the field, which was very important leading up to this match.
“Now we are going to do what a family does and celebrate together.”
It was a complete whitewash for Durham’s teams across water polo, lacrosse and tennis, with both the men’s and women’s sides across all three sports leaving with gold medals around their necks.
Victory for the men’s lacrosse squad saw them record their 93rd consecutive win, while it was a third successive title for the women’s side.
“Words don’t really describe it,” said women’s co-captain Emma Adams. “Durham love a BUCS Big Wednesday, and coming here and winning for the third time in an unbeaten season is just the best feeling ever.
BUCS means everything. It’s the one thing we work towards at the beginning of the year. It’s what you train hard for.
“BUCS means everything. It’s the one thing we work towards at the beginning of the year. It’s what you train hard for.
“It’s what you do the early mornings and the fitness for. BUCS is our biggest competition and winning it is an absolute dream.”
There was Durham domination in the pool too, with the men’s and women’s water polo teams recording victories over Manchester Metropolitan and Edinburgh universities respectively.
It marked back-to-back titles for the men’s squad, and for Durham-born captain Matthew Calvert, it was a dream come true to lead his side to the prestigious title.
“It feels amazing, absolutely amazing, I’m over the moon,” he said. “It was a whirlwind of a game, really tight, it had everything in it.
“Winning the Championship last year and the year before, it’s harder to come off a victory and win it again.
“The lads showed great perseverance this season to just go at it, stick to a task, stay focused and get an amazing result – it’s such an amazing feeling that I’ve already forgotten about the game, but the result is brilliant.
“It’s class representing Durham. Growing up in Durham, seeing the team play from a really young age when I was at Durham City WPC, to now be here and playing a part in developing the club and win here, it just caps it all off.”
Elsewhere, on the tennis courts, Durham’s men and women were both victorious over teams from the University of Stirling, winning 8-2 and 8-4 respectively.
And there was further gold heading back north as the women’s volleyball team prevailed over Northumbria 3-2.
British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports. BUCS has over 800 leagues across the country, with BUCS Big Wednesday the culmination for premier divisions each year.
Photograph: Team Durham via Facebook